Disney Consumer Products launches high-fashion apparel for grown-ups
Last year, leading high-fashion retail chains Mango and Zara were in for a surprise in India. Among their top sellers were premium T-shirts featuring popular cartoon character Mickey Mouse meant for grown-ups.
Encouraged by the response the one-off experiment met with, Disney Consumer Products the retail and merchandise arm of Disney UTV, is rolling out high-fashion branded apparel meant for adults featuring Mickey, Minnie and other famous cartoons. Disney hopes the move will help it broad base its consumer base, which is now heavily child-centric, boosting sales and profit margins with the introduction of higher margin products.
In India, the company hopes that adult-targeted products will contribute to 40% of sales within two years, said Roshni Bakshi, managing director, licensing and retail, at Disney UTV.
Earlier this year, Disney tied up with real estate firm Supertech to cash in on demand for branded interiors to launch Disney-themed decor in Delhi-NCR. Mickey and other characters feature on furniture, rugs, tableware, kitchenware, fans, paints, swimming pool and play zones in these homes. Disney has similar tie-ups with two other real estate players in Mumbai and Kolkata.
“We are creating a new environment for brand licensing,” Bakshi said. “We have compelling characters that sit under Disney and Marvel brands. We are constantly looking at opportunities that will connect our brand with consumers,” she added.
The company said in markets such as the US, China and Europe, categories across apparel, footwear, sleepwear and accessories featuring Disney characters contribute close to half of its sales on average, while in Japan up to 60% consumers of Disney products are adults. Most products are launched through collaboration with designers, licensees, manufacturers and retailers.
In India, the firm has inked tie-ups to retail its Disney and Marvel T-shirts, scarves and watches for adults with leading stores including Lifestyle, Planet M, Globus and Cotton World. To cash in on the growth of online shopping, the firm has tied up with Zovi.com and Myntra.com. The products feature characters such as Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Marvel super heroes including Iron Man, Spider-Man, The Avengers and Hulk.
The firm said, overall, Mickey & Friends products including apparel, footwear, sunglasses, watches, tableware, wall decor, fans, bed linen, books, toys and stationery sell in close to 5,000-plus stores in the country. Company officials said the Mickey & Friends franchise rakes in $9.2 billion in global retail sales, and is the leading character of The Walt Disney Company. The kids market in the country is growing at a rate of around 30%.
Faced with a fall in exports to the US and EU, Thailand’s textile and garment industry has set its sights on becoming a fashion hub for the ASEAN region. Slowing demand from the US and EU has been offset by a rise in Thailand’s exports to Asia – including China, Hong Kong, Korea and Japan – which now accounts for half the country’s total exports, according to Srirat Rastapana, Director General of Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP) at the Ministry of Commerce of Thailand. She said, “Some 23-24% of exports are within ASEAN and China takes up 12% and both are growing. Asia is a huge market with plenty of room for expansion; we will focus our attention and efforts on Asia.”
Rastapana points to Thailand’s advantages, including “its strategic location to become a distribution centre of ASEAN,” product quality, and an array of educati0l1al institutes producing potential personnel in textiles and design. However, the industry faces challenges too, explains Somsak Srisuponvanit, Chairman of the National Federation of Thai Textile Industries. “In order to maintain its position in the global apparel industry, Thailand must cooperate with ASEAN countries for sustainability,” he notes. He adds:
“Thailand’s younger generation is reluctant to enter labour intensive industries; they wish to work in the hospitality, entertainment and tourism, industries, which the Government is supporting and promoting.”
Yuttana Silpsarnvitch, Executive Director of the Thai Garment Manufacturers Association (TGMA), agrees that the “minimum wage is not the key problem; the shortage of workers is.” Workers who are now 40 years old will soon retire, but the younger generation is not keen to enter this industry. “As a consequence, some 20 of Thailand’s biggest garment manufacturers have moved part of their operations to Myanmar (Burma) and Cambodia and, to a lesser extent Laos, Indonesia, and Vietnam.
To help the textile and garment industry cope with the changing times, an Overseas Trade & Investment Centre (OTIC) was established last September to support manufacturers in setting up off-shore operations, and to help OEM (original equipment manufacturer) companies move to ODM (original design manufacturer) and OBM (original brand manufacturer). “Starting this year, more projects will be introduced to achieve this goal”, Silpsarnvitch elaborated.
Thailand’s textile and garment exports fell 12.2% yearon-year in 2012 to $7.22bn, with textiles down 13.7% to $4.27bn, and garment shipments dropping 10% to $2.9bn. Among its major markets, declines were seen in exports to the US at $1.2bn (-14.08%) and the EU at $1.09bn (-24.27%). But records for January 2013 show a strong 12.8% rebound in textile exports, while garment exports grew by 9.1 %.
Looking ahead to 2020, new opportunities for the country are also seen under the theme ‘Redefine Globalization: balanced life, sustainable living’. THB 2bn (US$69m) worth of infrastructure development projects have been identified and funds allocated for such spending. To support the implementation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in
2015 – a projected ‘single window’ common market system – Thailand will do away with import duties for AEC member countries and look to become the gateway to ASEAN.
Retail market growth
The country also boasts the second largest retail market in South East Asia – growing by 7% in 2012 to reach US$44.66bn – around 16% of GDP. According to the Kasikorn Research Center, the Bank of Thailand and Collier International Thailand Research, Thailand’s retail market growth is targeted to increase by 15-20% in 2013 to reach US$52bn due to investment in more new retail brands, both local and international.
Business opportunities for the textile and apparel industry were highlighted at the recent Bangkok International Fashion Fair & Bangkok International Leather Fair (BIFF & BIL), which adopted the theme ‘Rhythm of ASEAN’. Collaborating for the first time with Elle Fashion Week Bangkok, the event was heavily fashion-forward, with fashion shows highlighting top Thai designers and a Designers’ Room, housing creations from designers in Thailand and across ASEAN. The decade-old Designers’ Room project supports and nurtures new Thai designers, as well as helping the fashion industry to increase product value by teaming up with designers and consultants from all over the world. Many of the collections that sashayed down the runway at the opening ceremony were testimony to its success.
You don’t have to be rich to look good or fashionable. Globalization has impacted street fashion as well and there are more ways than one to get on the fashion bandwagon.
Everybody knows that peplum is here to stay. Blair Waldorf wouldn’t have been caught dead in something that didn’t set a trend immediately. But little did the main character of Gossip Girl know that her wardrobe would influence Sonam Kapoor’s wardrobe in Aisha in 2010. In New Delhi, the red peplum dress Kapoor wore in the film caught Tinky Ningombam’s fancy – the 27-year-old public relations manager marched to her local tailor and had the outfit stitched. Frugal finances don’t always need to come in the way of fashion.
Apart from the price of the dress at a high-street brand, it is important to get the right fit,” says Ningombam who prefers to shop on the street, instead of hitting the malls. A walk through Delhi’s Janpath or Sarojini Nagar market or Colaba Causeway in Mumbai is all one needs in order to get a pulse on an eclectic, fresh, not-so-original but seamlessly international phenomenon called street fashion.
Apart from popular cinema, magazines and blogs are emerging as an important medium that seek to guide fashion lovers of all backgrounds and budgets. “People are sharing ideas on social networking portals and blogs,” says Aaditya Walia, senior fashion stylist, Vogue India. But the numbers are small. Less than 30% people in India follow latest trends, points out Mumbai-based fashion blogger Gia Kashyap. She feels that Indians are far behind the global benchmark of international street fashion compared to the Americans, European and Japanese counterparts. “In India, fashion is very subjective. You may find a girl wearing only western clothing in Mumbai, another girl in Jaipur may wear block print cotton kurtas. Both stylish, but different,” says Kashyap.
Coloured denims, quirky prints, palazzo pants, crepe dresses with butterflies, polka and little hearts, boat shoes or wedge heels are in vogue this summer. Street fashion in India is evolving fast and is a reflection of Indian sensibilities, colours, designs, embroideries and textures from different states of the country, mixed with western fashion. “Indians mix East and West fashion instead of donning one look,” says Gauri Verma, fashion assistant at Elle magazine. An embroidered kurti paired with denims often leaves more impact that a plain western shirt, she adds.
A few unique items such as the Nehru Jacket have become popular. “The jacket is not restricted to the wardrobes of politicians, even a young executive at an MNC or the guy hosting the IPL shows on TV is sporting the same jacket,” points out Sunil Sethi, president, Fashion Design Council of India. So while you have top designers in the country selling a Nehru jacket for Rs 20,000, there are also those on the street that sell for Rs 500 per piece.
Naresh, a salesman at Janpath market in Delhi, spends around 12 hours a day wooing young girls to buy the latest stock from his shop. “Though negotiating with women on price is very stressful, I do not mind if it’s a pretty face,” quips Naresh, who is busy selling leopard print shirts in multiple colours, balloon trousers, lace shirts priced between Rs 150 to Rs 400.
Since street fashion is generally associated with youth, affordability is the key. Street markets in India sell items like a shirt for as low as Rs 50 to a pair of funky pink cotton trousers for just Rs 200. “Instead of buying from brands like Zara or Mango, I go to my favorite shop in Lajpat Nagar where one can pick four different pieces, in four different colours, for the same amount of money,” says Natasha Sharma, a B Com student at Delhi University.
These clothes come from a host of export houses in India, which supply garments to international fashion brands in India. Their rejects are dumped into markets like Janpath and Sarojini in Delhi, and Crawford market and Fashion Street in Mumbai. This allows shoppers in India access to the garments that were originally made for brands like Gap or H&M, which do not retail in India.”Exports surplus makes premium fashion affordable. I do not mind buying a Gap shirt for Rs 200 with a missing button or two. It’s easy to fix anyway,” says Neha Khedekar, a CA based in Mumbai.
THAT FOREIGN HAND
Another important source for western casuals selling on Indian streets are cheap imports from the US and Europe. “These clothes are brought into India, cleaned properly and then is sold across the country,” says Ravi Shankar Rao, managing director of Magenta Fashions, a Noida-based export house.
There are also retail companies such as Shopper’s Stop, Pantaloon Retail and online firms like Yepme and Myntra that ink distribution deals with Bollywood production companies to roll out fashion clothing inspired by films.
Once those designs reach the organized retail market, it does not only make fashion clothing accessible to consumers at an affordable rates, but also helps the unorganized or fake marketers to produce copies at even cheaper price.
What is Fashion? Embracing style, trend, and comfort is nothing but the fashion. Fashion in today’s world is compared to air in our planet. It’s the most recent developments of our modern society. Fashion is an excepted manner of dressing, living, entertaining or traveling adopted by a group of people at a particular time. Fashion has been changing so fast that it is difficult even to recognize what the current fashion style is? There is undisputedly a wide choice of colors & designs in costumes.
Fashion is a style that is accepted and used by the majority of group at any one time, no matter how small that group is. Fashion is a vital, challenging, ever-changing force.
In recent years significant “anti fashion” phenomenon has taken over the fashion industry e.g. wearing unconventional colors and fabric combination. Clothing style different social groups and communities differ from one another. Sequined dresses, chic ensembles and trendy shirts and skirts represented the true repertoire of the fashion. Fabrics like shiny fabrics, sating, polyester, blends and knits are the dominant features of fashion. It has been proven scientifically that colors play an important role in the psychological behavior of human being. Keeping these in mind designers are preferring naturally dyed fabrics and natural color.
Fashion is a playground of paradox: creative and technical; art and profit; local and global. It throws a diverse set of people together to transform a creative vision into something tangible and profitable.
Unfortunately the people involved in apparel development often operate as islands. Cut off from the rest of the process, they throw their messages out to sea, hoping they make it to the right people intact. Inefficient systems and tools litter their workday and force them into tedious routines. Disconnected and overburdened, they work to do their best, but without being able to see beyond their own isolated shore, they aren’t given a chance to contribute to their full potential. What if companies could build bridges between those islands?
And not just a bridge from one island to the next, but a system of bridges to form a strong, reinforced network and create community across development? Well they can. That’s what it means to build collaboration into the heart of fashion development.
But What Is Collaboration Anyway?
Collaboration isn’t something you do; it’s something you achieve. If collaboration were a thread, it would be a three-ply formed with the strands people, tools, and process-the basic elements of product development.