While e-commerce has been big for over a decade now, the world is being forced into a new digital era, with offline business being forced to go online thanks to the pandemic.
Nowhere is this ore evident than with Indian fashion designers, who till now focused on the luxury market with retail experiences and unparalleled services in their flagship stores. As some of the biggest names in the business take their platforms online, Mumbai based designers Monica and Karishma join them in the new wave of Indian couture shopping with the launch of their e-commerce platform and services.
Their couture label JADE now offers a seamless and intimate shopping experience for brides-to-be, her entourage, as well as connoisseurs of couture. The platform also offers one on one virtual consultation and e-meetings with the designers themselves that tie in with shopping directly from the brand's very platform for bespoke made to order solutions for special occasions.
Monica Shah shares, "We're entering a new era of digital living. The beauty of e-commerce is that it breaks geographical barriers and brings you closer to your audience across the country and globe. We are very excited to bring JADE to couture lovers, wherever in the world they may be."
Karishma adds, "The New Age women see couture for more than just the novelty. They want to invest in a bespoke creation that is timeless, versatile and experimental ï¿½ so that there's sustained use over time. This applies even for bridal couture, where they want pieces they can make the most of, while still being able to pass it down. We're so happy to open up our world to brides like these all over the globe!"
IANSlife caught up with designer duo to get all the details. Read Excerpts:
The fashion industry is one of the worst hit in the world due to the pandemic, according to you what are the most pressing issues which have resulted from it?
Monica Shah: Ensuring everyone in our supply chain ï¿½ right from our in-office teams to our kaarigars ï¿½ is safe and healthy is our greatest concern and priority.
Despite Unlock Phase 1, numbers are rising exponentially and psychologically people fear stepping out, what do you predict for the year ahead
Monica Shah: Every brides story must continue and as soon as the government norms are eased out brides will plan their wedding, albeit in a smaller way. We're prioritising custom ensembles and focusing on creating pieces that aren't confined to a particular season or time.
You recently launched your ecommerce site, do you think now online is the future of retail?
Monica Shah: India is on the cusp of a new digital era. Given the current times, people are online now more than ever. An online presence is essential for brands to engage with a wider base of audience.
You've been in the business so long, ecommerce has been popular for decades, why didn't you have a site up and running till today?
Monica Shah: Luxury and couture are more about a one on one experience, long conversations and a personal touch. We wanted to focus on offering our consumers a whole experience rather than just a transaction. Despite not having our native e-commerce platform, we have had an active presence online as well as strong relationships with our clientele across the globe.
Heavy rentals, overheads and running costs with no waivers for months of lockdown have added a burden on brands like yours?
Monica Shah: It has been an unprecedented and challenging time for all of us. We have been lucky to be able to survive. But we know it's been difficult for the industry by and large.
JADE launched its bridal e-consultancy tell why its essential to have such a service in these times.
Monica Shah: We have been offering virtual consultations to our international clientele since the beginning. But are now focussing on amplifying it. India has entered a new digital era, and consumers are more attuned to online shopping than ever. We have the technology and means to tap into and reach a whole new set of customers. It's about time we launched an ecommerce platform of our own, and found better ways to stay in touch with our clientele and offer them a seamless and intimate luxury couture experience virtually.
Bridal trends in the COVID-19 era for the slim but luxurious Indian wedding?
Monica Shah: This time of pause has reinforced a whole new appreciation for local arts and crafts, and mindfully made pieces. So, I see brides taking a keener and deeper interest in their wedding ensembles. I think brides are going to incline more towards pieces that are versatile and functional ï¿½ something they can wear even after the wedding, like breezy skirts with shirts rather than traditional blouses.
The JADE Bride has always been one who's mindful and discerning about her ensembles. Our brides know that when they choose a JADE outfit, they choose a legacy of artisanal excellence, they choose to support quintessential Indian crafts and techniques that still maintain a global appeal. And I only see this becoming more and more prominent in the coming times.
You have worked on many social initiatives, share one closest to your heart during the current times
Monica Shah: We have founded the Chanakya School of Craft, to educate, empower and support girls and women from underprivileged backgrounds as well as preserve India's arts and crafts. Nurturing this talent and doing our bit in sustaining India's artisanal legacy is something very close to our hearts.
Many designers are being forced to shut down retail spaces or close brands entirely. Do you think it's a combination of the crisis or a result of bad management?
Monica Shah: It's really an unexpected and unprecedented time. No one ever imagined a time like this would come. So, the struggle is inevitable. Every brand has its own set of challenges and its own journey. We only hope we can all come together to support the community through this challenging time.
The label's limited-edition bridal couture collection, along with its first ever luxury pret collection makes it debut on www.jadebymk.com.