While the average volume per person in Indian apparel is 23.80 pieces today, by 2027, it is expected to reach 38.94 pieces, an increase of 65 per cent. The Indian market may amount to US $ 96.47 billion in 2023 and the market is expected to grow annually by 3.34 percent between 2023 and 2027. The figure clearly depicts a huge potential to invest or launch in the clothing sector. Notably, this market is not only being tapped by a large conglomerate, but also by Bollywood celebrities who are not far behind.
The question that arises is ‘Why’?
With Bollywood stars driving trends and influencing people on what to wear, it’s certain that the sales are estimated to have positive growth. A few reasons influencing the investment or launching of start-ups by celebrities are particularly because they understand trends, they know the pulse of the people and they know that the investment is going to pay the returns. Not only do Bollywood celebrities have the ability to generate buzz and awareness about a new brand or product, but they also have access to networks that can help a start-up grow and succeed. By investing in fashion start-ups, Bollywood celebrities are helping to create an ecosystem that supports innovation and entrepreneurship in the fashion industry.
More importantly, these investments offer celebrities a way to build long-term relationships with their fans and it seems like a win-win situation for them when it comes to earning the bucks back and increasing visibility and popularity.
Bollywood celebrities tapping funds and popularity as never before
Athleisurewear remains their favourite segment. One of the first movers was Salman Khan who launched Being Human clothing in 2007 which at present has more than 500+ touchpoints across the country. Casualwear for both men and women now have their footprints in the international market as well. Salman Khan’s move initiated an idea in the Bollywood circle.
Many celebs also decided to enter the athleisurewear market after hearing about the fortunes of Hrithik Roshan’s HRX, one of the first domestic fitness brands in India, which is now worth Rs. 375 crore.
Anushka Sharma’s brand Nush was launched in 2017 and stood at US $ 878K in revenue in 2022. Nush sells a wide variety of women’s apparel, from athleisure to slogan tees, on the e-commerce platforms Myntra, Ajio, Flipkart, Amazon Fashion, Tata Cliq and Central with a vision to provide comfort to women. Shahid Kapoor’s Skult, which is often referred to as India’s coolest athleisure brand, debuted in 2016 and has managed to cross Rs.255 crore in 2022. The key principle of the brand is ‘Fashion meets Functionality’ and ‘Design meets Innovation’. Skult is available on Ajio, Myntra, Pantaloons, Amazon, Flipkart and more, and in-store at a variety of locations across India. Cotton viscose, slub jersey, grindles, melanges, snow heather, terry, lycra denim, cotton satin and popcorn knit are just a few of the high-performance, ultra-lightweight fabrics that have been used by Skult (an acronym for Shahid + Cult). With the slogan ‘engineered with emotions’, Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar debuted his first clothing line, Force IX, in November 2022. The collection is advertised as being ‘versatile, comfortable, affordable and fashionable for all’ and will initially be sold exclusively online and seems to be gaining traction.
Kidswear and ethnicwear segments are also luring the celebs for higher bets
In 2018, Saif Ali Khan joined hands with Myntra to launch his own collection of Indian ethnic brand named House of Pataudi and has now forayed into the offline retail as well. Saif is very fond of ethnic fashion and in a statement, he mentioned his love for apparel had encouraged him to launch House of Pataudi in collaboration with Myntra. By foraying into offline expansion, it has opened various stores across the country and gives good competition to brands like Manyavar and Fabindia. Therefore, allowing it to tap a wider audience.
“House of Pataudi has been one of the most consistent and sought-after ethnic brands on Myntra, with the brand observing a solid double-digit growth momentum, prompting a venture into the offline channel as well. The collection has now grown by more than 10X since its launch, while the establishment of bricks-and-mortar stores across Bengaluru, Goa, Lucknow, Chennai, and the fifth and most recent one in Mumbai, will enable us to reach a wider audience that has a high affinity towards the brand,” said Manohar Kamath, CXO and Chief, Myntra Fashion Brands.
Superstar Alia Bhatt launched Ed-a-Mamma, her own sustainable clothing apparel company for children in 2019. Ed-a-Mamma has outlets in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai and Mangalore in Southern India. It also operates outlets in Kolkata and Indore – approximately 16 offline retail stores. The firm only produces clothing for youngsters aged 2 to 14 years old. Ed-a-Mamma touched Rs. 1 crore top line in the first month of its launch despite being exclusively available on FirstCry. The brand recently rolled out its maternitywear range and has announced a clothing line for teens.
Bollywood celebs are joining hands for social cause and sustainability
Popular actors like Akshay Kumar, Sonam Kapoor and Amitabh Bachchan have been spotted campaigning for various social organisations. They are urging the public to contribute in any way possible towards the development of society and environment.
One such way is via brands like Alia’s Ed-a-Mamma focusing on establishing an ecological-friendly clothing line by using natural textiles and plastic-free buttons and trimmings; similarly Anshuka’s clothing line Nush has collaborated with Naz Foundation, a non-profit organisation that aims to protect the rights of the community. Deepika Padukone’s brand All about you debuted in 2015 (bought later by Myntra in 2020), along with the launch of her website www.deepikapadukone.com to promote and sell her skincare brand. Her online website runs ‘The Deepika Padukone closet’’s ‘Fresh off the Rack’ segment, where she sells some pieces from her personal wardrobe, the proceeds of which go to The Live Love Laugh Foundation. The pre-love fashion initiative also sends a message to the crowd about sustainability and about charity, therefore, increasing the visibility among the masses.
Celebrities’ investments also driving brands for better growth
Some celebrities apart from launching, are also investing in start-ups to actually keep the ball of money rolling. Filmstars’ investment in apparel-based start-ups is increasing as they believe that apparel and fashion industry is growing exponentially, and it’s the right time to join the bandwagon. The number of such celebrities is continuously growing.
There are connections between start-ups and start-ups that go beyond the world of fashion. For example, Dia Mirza invested an undisclosed sum of money in Greendigo, an organic, low-carbon kids’ clothing start-up, developing a ‘strategic relationship’ with the company in addition to becoming its ambassador. Dia Mirza proudly supported this brand as the brand also shares her mission to protect Mother Earth with its internationally certified products, plastic-free packaging, zero-carbon emission operations and alignment with UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
StyleCracker is another business financed and supported by Alia Bhatt. It is a fashion tech firm created in 2013 by Dhimaan Shah and Archana Walavalkar. The organisation is well-known for its technological breakthroughs, such as the StyleCracker Box, which assists individuals in being styled and looking fantastic and it has tapped revenue of US $ 9.2 million.
Athiya Shetty has invested in the social commerce platform Stage 3 whose net worth reached Rs.57 crore previous year. Stage 3 is developing an AI-powered social platform where India’s five million plus creators (influencers and content creators) can interact, build out social video-led storefronts, and sell to India’s 300 million digitally native Gen Z and millennials. Additionally, Stage3 had raised Rs. 20 crore in a Pre-Series A led by Inflection Point Ventures and LC Nueva Investment Partners.
Another superstar Sara Ali Khan has invested in The Souled Store. The Souled Store is an online fashion retailer that offers a variety of apparel and accessories to its customers and has raised a total funding of US $ 13.1 million over four rounds. Its latest funding round was a Series B round on 7th May 2022 for US $ 45.6K and stood at more than Rs.800 crore net worth in 2022. T-shirts, mobile covers, badges, boxers, pyjamas, notebooks, mugs, posters, coasters, backpacks, socks, umbrellas, tote bags, painted shoes and wristbands are among the platform’s product offerings. Additionally, it allows users to create custom T-shirts. The Souled Store was founded in 2013 in Mumbai by Rohin Samtaney, Aditya Sharma, Vedang Patel and Harsh Vardhan Lal.
The focus is on ‘Made in India’ Concept
The manufacturing partners of the brands ensure that these homegrown brands are able to offer a wide variety of styles, fabrics and colours at competitive prices. This helps them reach out to a broader audience and build loyalty among their customers. From small-scale artisans to large production units, the vendors contribute significantly and help these brands scale quickly. Brands like HRX are increasingly relying on a small number of consolidated suppliers, such as Global Source Fashion Wear in Tirupur and Sar Apparels in Kolkata. House of Pataudi is led by Silk India Creators in Mumbai and MK Tailoring House in Jaipur, while Saa Suditi Retail in Mumbai is responsible for producing Nush’s products. Most Ed-a-Mamma products are manufactured by Eternalia Creative & Merchandising, a Mumbai-based company.
The stars are not just strategically investing but are actively involved in promoting and growing their business. These business investments raise awareness about the importance of sustainable materials and local artisan collaborations and also support social causes through their brands. These actors often participate in campaigns and events aimed at encouraging people to shop responsibly and reduce their environmental impact. It will be interesting to see how these collaborations evolve over time.
“Working with celebrity brands has been a great source of growth for us and we thoroughly enjoy doing so. However, this area is particularly demanding, as the celebrities’ teams are constantly making requests for tweaks to the product’s design, value addition technique, etc., which sometimes is quite challenging. But this is for sure, there is a growing demand for these brands in the market,” Mahaveer, Director, MK Tailoring House, Jaipur