Navigating “real” Fashion Sites in India

Style does exist amongst the people who understand fashion ie: people who work in fashion, and the elite class that is well traveled and yearns for items you can’t get in India. How big is it? Well, considering that 80 to 90% of people only make about 200 dollars USD a month, that would leave only 10%. Yet, those people do spend 90% of the money, so perhaps it is a bigger market than I think.. Its for sure, bigger than cute lil Toronto.

So far India has surpassed the straight out e-commerce model, although an actual revenue model has not been proven as of yet, due to inflated customer bases by deep pocketed investors, COD, returns, and cut throat competiton. So, I’m still waiting on that.

But let’s move on from that yawn fest – I am not interested in deals, sales, ostentatious (couldn’t be sold in the real store) brand names, petite sizing, and an overall utter lack of style. Please don’t use the phrase “curated style” if you don’t know what that entails #kthanksbai.

There is a another crop of e-retail fronts that have caught my eye because they are starting to see e-commerce in ways that worked fairly well in the western world. Take, private sales, yes there are Indian guiltgroupe’s: Rooja.com and Qvendo.com, both have a bit of a “waiting” list, which perhaps was strict when they first started but even I got in after a few days. Rooja, the more exclusive of the two (I had to wait longer), appears to also include US designers along with a Danish one and Indian ones on its repertoire. However, I was slightly disappointed by the selection, it was overall, kind of ugly. There is not one thing that appealed to me in the over 20 designers they had. Sameness isn’t fun. 😐 Moving on to Qvendo, it was a straight up brand name private sales site, mostly Gucci. Both sites were trying to be the high end version of a fashionandyou.com, which publicly sells heavily discounted brand name items.

Apparently, there were other sites that existed in the private sales space, but became public for reasons I can only conclude as being demand. But I can’t be sure. Perhaps it was the Indian designer flash sales site, Styletag.com which is members only (this means you need to sign up with an email address, while private/exclusive is through referral or waiting list). Again, for me, I personally don’t really like fusion fashion or things that are too ethnic. I know I wouldn’t wear it. So this site didn’t appeal to me either.

Of course, the US would feel the need to jump on the e-commerce bandwagon of India: enter SquareKey.com. A flashy and very slick site dedicated to bringing international designers to India. Overall, the concept works because the niche that this site is targeting yearns for all things foreign and from “abroad”. However, I can’t speak to how successful this site is doing..

The net-a-porter equivalent, atleast in name is preta-moda.com, specializing in high end Indian designers. This is the sites I liked the most, very slick, easy to use, and it had a trend section. It was small yet considering most other sites completely lack any trend items, I must give some respect here.

Finally, the cream of the crop lady who apparently styled or styles Sonam Kapoor, (but not sure where that ended and the trainwreck started…) Pernia’s Popup Shop. This lady gets it. She uses her fame and actual knowledge of styling to curate style that is aspirational and pure celebrity. But, not all of us are famous AND understand fashion. There is a difference. Again, her style is fairly ethnic with some fusion, not something that appeals to me very much.

As I mentioned for all the sites, most sell fusion type outfits. However, I do believe there is a market for fusion items for Indian women who want to wear both sides of their lives. I personally feel the bread and butter is in the accessories (one size fits all type items) – atleast on the business side. Trend for accessories is super important since “extras” can make any foundation outfit look different so you need a new set of accessories for every season now don’t you? 🙂

Next up: The future of Fashion sites in India

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