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Tailor-made, cut-to-fit suits and watches with one’s name engraved on the dial are the new benchmarks of luxury for a growing club of rich Indians who happily spend up to 50 per cent more money and wait up to two months to get their apparel and accessories customised.
The demand for customisation covers niche products and services such as signature perfumes, personalised dials in watches, and name initials on handbags and T-shirts, helping luxury brands such as Brioni, Louis Vuitton, Paul & Shark, Rolex and Tag Heuer grow more than 20 per cent in this segment during 2011.
“personalised service is all about showing that you have arrived in life,” says Berry Singh, business head, Paul & Shark, an Italian luxury sportswear brand that operates in the country through Reliance Brands.
“We have many first time discerning customers who are ready to pay premium to get the right fit product,” he says. The brand allows customers to put their initials on their t-shirts and choose colour and design. It plans to introduce tailor-made jackets and pullovers in the 2012 fall-winter season.
How the customisation Works“The customisation is done in Italy and takes 60 days. It cost over 15 per cent more than off the shelf products,” says Singh. customised services account for 15 per cent of the $250-million, or about Rs. 1,300 crore, luxury apparel and accessories market in the country, according to Technopak Advisors. Analysts expect customisation as a trend in luxury goods and services to catch on in the country.
“The indulgence in these fancies is here to stay for the uber rich Indian, and will continue to rise in the times to come,” says Technopak Advisors Vice-President-Apparel Operations Amit Gugnani. “There exists a huge opportunity for brands to encash upon the budding market,” he adds. Italian luxury label Brioni, renowned for its suits stitched by hand by one of the 1,200 commissioned tailors in the little Southern Italian town of Penne, has 40 per cent of its sales coming from bespoke service, says Brioni India Brand Manager Joseph Jacob.
“Made-to-wear clothing is growing faster than our ready-to-wear segment,” he says. A customised Brioni suit costs between Rs. 3-12.5 lakh and takes more than six weeks to get stitched.
Luxury Brands That personalise Products in India
It customers in India include Leela Hotels Chairman Captain C P Nair, Mahindra & Mahindra Vice-Chairman and Managing Director Anand Mahindra and Hiranandani Group MD Niranjan Hiranandani. Louis Vuitton offers its client to select personalised initials, stripe patterns and colours to ensure that very few bags will ever be alike.
LVMH had rolled out 200 pieces of limited edition Tag Heuer watches for the Airtel India Grand Prix Formula 1 race, priced Rs. 2 lakh each, and it was sold out in 10 days, according to LVMH Watch & Jewelry General Manager Manishi Sanwal.
Swiss watch brand Rolex has seen growing demand for personalised dial made of mother of pearl and gold, which cost anywhere between Rs. 70,000 and Rs. 2.5 lakh. The company also offers engraving name or occasions on bracelet and case.
A typical of the shelf Rolex watches starts at Rs. 2.5 lakh and can go up to Rs. 6 lakh, while a watch with personalised dial or engraving will cost 5-20 per cent more. According to industry experts, bespoke apparel costs 25-50 per cent more than off-the-shelf apparel in the luxury segment.
The range starts from around $300, or about Rs. 16,000, for a shirt from a luxury brand such as Ermenegildo Zegna, and about $4,000, or Rs. 2, 00,000, for a suit.