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Women’s denim, sustainability will help Spykar scale new heights: Sanjay Vakharia, CEO & Co-Founder

Denim came into being in the early 1800s and all but revolutionized the fashion industry. A fashion staple for generations, transcending time and trends to establish itself as a timeless and iconic fabric, denim is no longer relegated to just being a fabric but is instead, a symbol of style, self-expression, and innovation.

From its humble origins to its innovative designs and sustainable practices, denim has woven itself into the very fabric of fashion. An all purpose garment, denim’s enduring appeal knowing no bounds. It can be worn at work, for play and even on the high-fashion streets of Paris. While brands like Levi’s, Wrangler and Lee set the runways on fire in the western world, back home in India, a few homegrown brands were making inroads into this fashion category.

One such remarkable brand which has redefined the way we perceive and wear denim garments is Spykar.

Established in 1992, Spykar is a leading youth fashion denim brand, with a penchant for design innovation, new product launches and creating fashion for young India. The brand, which is known for its superlative product quality and great fits, aims to deliver emerging trends that resonate with the growing Indian consuming class.

The brand’s range of denim consists of styles which include Purist for the classics lovers to YnR for more contemporary souls. A part of the Bagri family-promoted Metdist Group, a diversified portfolio of companies, Spykar is available across the length and breadth of the country.

In an exclusive conversation with IMAGES Business of Fashion, CEO & Co-Founder of Spykar, Sanjay Vakharia, said that the brand – which is available across the length and breadth of the country – is now present across 1400 points of sale, which includes Spykar exclusive stores, large format retail stores, and all major e-commerce platforms. “This makes the brand geographically poised for growth,” he explained.

Spykar, which is now celebrating its 31st year of being in India, is probably the only brand which has focused itself on delivering high fashion to younger audiences of the country. “Essentially, we are a very young brand. We have always been very aligned to the youth of the country. Our primary audience is between the ages of 15 and 25 and our secondary audience is upwards of 25 to 35,” said Vakharia.

With an Eye on Trends

Spykar, as a brand, is all about, incorporating and inculcating emerging trends, keeping abreast of everything that the youth of the country considers happening.

“We pride ourselves for being at the forefront of delivering contemporary fashion to our audiences. And although we are a denim brand, we are not a regimented, 5-pocket, classic work kind of jeans. We use denim in very different ways where a lot of work has gone into making the denim look a lot more interesting than what it actually is,” Vakharia said.

To create different designs, Spykar has a manufacturing process which is completely outsourced. “Despite outsourcing, we are a brand which has been made in India, by Indians and for Indians – so we go absolutely local for everything in that sense,” he added.

A Sustainable Foundation

Spykar has shown an increasing commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility, focusing on eco-friendly and ethical practices in its manufacturing processes. While the brand is completely made in India, it ensures that all the factories and vendors that it is linked to are accredited and comply with all international standards of sustainability.

“At Spykar we ensure that we follow all international standards and incorporate best international practices of sustainability – right from yarns to chemicals to the actual stitching process, all these technologies are helping create a sustainable business as well as a greener environment,” says Vakharia.

“We also only work with certified vendors, those who work with brands of international repute and who follow the same standards of sustainability as we do,” he adds.

Aside from this, the brand has a very strong and a very dedicated team of educators who manage these outlets. From a standardization perspective, every state has a couple of tiers of people working who take care of all essentials and hygiene at the store level.

Expansion Plan

Spykar – which operates on a ‘franchise owned franchise operated’ model – has a widespread retail presence in India, with numerous standalone stores and a hefty presence in multi-brand retail outlets. It also sells its products online, allowing customers to shop conveniently through its e-commerce platform.

“We are available through MBOs and trade channels in over 1400+ doors. These doors are spread in 400+ towns. We also have our own exclusive outlets in over 100+ cities and towns,” says Vakharia. “And despite the impressive length and breadth of India that Spykar is already available in, there is still a lot of legroom. Our plan is to expand to smaller geographies,” he adds.

“We have been early starters and have had first mover advantage in many Tier 2 and beyond cities and towns. Since the brand is very Indian, close to our roots, we have managed to develop a very indigenous kind of a business. And so from that perspective, meritoriously, we have moved much ahead of our competition in these areas and we only intend to dig further,” he states.

What’s New

Vakharia said that apart from focusing on Tier 2 and beyond, Spykar’s focus would strongly be on the womenswear category, with a spotlight on replicating the kind of revolution that the brand brought about in the menswear category.

“We have essentially been more a menswear brand than womenswear as far as jeans are concerned. However, we also understand that the situation, the market and the environment has changed considerably today. This change facilitates and encourages brands like us to offer a lot more options and more categories to women in jeans,” he explained.

“Jeans have become a very significant part of a woman’s wardrobe. They do not go out of style as easily as other garments do and hence it becomes one of those first products which a woman would probably want to spend on, provided she gets the right fit, good quality – even if it’s at a higher price point – and provided that the styling is contemporary. This is what we are offering the Indian woman who is looking to revamp her wardrobe,” he stated.

He explained that the brand is not being very greedy and while the men’s section at Spykar is straddling all channels of sales, in case of Spykar women, the journey is only through the large format retail.

“We see that the play in large format retail is much more open because there is less competition in the womenswear space and there are more local brands here for womenswear versus menswear. Currently we are selling out of 250 contact sales in large format retail stores and we are doing well enough and the numbers are encouraging enough for us to look at doubling the store count for womenswear in the next two years,” he said, adding that the response from large format teams has also been very encouraging, convincing Spykar that they are on the right track.

“From here on, the challenge is to help the audience understand that Spykar is not just a menswear brand anymore. But we are confident that we will slowly and suddenly build up and also build a dedicated consumer space for womenswear through our own retail channels. After large format stores, we will add womenswear to our e-commerce bucket and then eventually move to multi-brand outlets,” he said.

The brand, whose ARR is close Rs 1200 – 1300 crore and which hopes to grow at least 20% for the next 2-3 years is also deploying technology in its store to up its game.

“CRM is one area which we are trying to work hard on. Aside from that, we are increasing work on RFID, which gives us a lot more visibility and transparency on inventory and the movement of goods since speed in the supply chain will be critical in the times to come,” Vakharia concluded.

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