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    Top Indian designers are finally ready for e-commerce, but they have individual rulebooks

    The year has seen big designers launching their online stores, with Tarun Tahiliani being the latest entrant in the e-space. Pernia’s Pop-Up Shop—which became popular within six months of its launch in April 2012, and now has over 80 top fashion designers on board—could have been an instigator. Brisk sales on the site led to many designers looking for their own space.

    Dongre

    Dongre

    Magic web
    The trend kicked off with Neeta Lulla launching neetalulla.com last year, with Manish Malhotra, Anita Dongre and Tahiliani following suit. Siddharth Lulla, the director of the company, says, “Online was our obvious next step. We have a lot of international clientele and it’s easy for them.” Meanwhile, Dongre says, “Today’s internet savvy generation look at convenience in shopping, and online stores are open 24/7.” However, for Malhotra, it was the success of an affordable range that pushed him to this new avenue. “Last year I launched my diffusion collection, with lighter outfits at lower price. It pulled in good response and encouraged us to move to e-commerce,” he says.

    Made to order
    Couture has demand online, too. Ritu Kumar, whose e-store has been functioning since the mid-90s, says, “The majority who buy couture are international customers as we don’t have any stores abroad.” However, Lulla adds, “Selling couture needs great customer service at the back end, to field calls about fitting, customisation, etc.” Like Lulla, Tahiliani also has a couture team for direct dialogue with customers.

    On target
    The designers’ target audience is between the ages of 20 and 50—those who are diverse, fashion forward, digitally savvy and upwardly

    Malhotra

    Malhotra

    mobile. And they are not looking at overseas buyers alone; they also have their eyes set on smaller cities in India. “Our aim is to reach patrons overseas as well as in tier two and tier three cities, who don’t have access to our brick-and-mortar stores,” signs off Tahiliani.

    Dongre’s AND and Global Desi starts at Rs. 1,299 and Rs. 1,099 respectively, while the price range of her prêt line is Rs. 4,000 to Rs. 20,000. Kumar’s Label line is priced between Rs. 2,500 and Rs. 15,000. Price range for Malhotra, Lulla  and Tahiliani starts at Rs. 18,000 and can go up to several lakhs.
    Details: manishmalhotra.in, shop.anitadongre.com, store.neetalulla.com, ritukumar.com and taruntahiliani.com

    —Sharmistha Maji

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