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What will be our post-covid look? Fabindia seems to know

The legacy brand's head talks about pandemic-inspired collections that combine customer-centric designs, purpose-led innovation and indigenous craft-based elements

The Sea and Sky Crafty Blues collection offers garments in different shades of blue. (Fabindia)

Fabindia believes what its consumers want today. It is launching five capsule collections as part of The Fab Summer of 2021, each capturing the essence of the season while paying close attention to the changing consumption patterns.

To be launched over phases from April to June, the collections—Endless Summer (breezy fabrics, floral showers), Smitten By The Sea ("ethnic romanticism conveyed through apparel"), Glamping (glamorous new take on camping), Sea And Sky Crafty Blues (celebrating different tones of blue), and Grasslands Wildflower (bohemian meets chic)—are all about comfort and versatility while utilising intricate techniques, ranging from handblock printing to ikat. They are available online and across the 330 retail outlets across the country.

Dipali Patwa, Fabindia's group head of brand and community, says the 61-year-old brand is aiming to tap into the millennial market and cater to what the customer of today needs. "For instance, lounge wear makes for one of the main focus points of the line.

In an interview with Mint, Patwa talks about the new collections, impact of the pandemic on the brand and the road ahead. Edited excerpts:

Fabindia's group head of brand and community Dipali Patwa.
Fabindia's group head of brand and community Dipali Patwa. (Fabindia)

Why the decision to bring out five different collections?

Limited-edition capsule collections are our way of delivering new collections with different themes that transcend the typical fashion seasons and trends by being functional and stylish without the theatrics of a large seasonal show. As our consumers' needs are changing, we are addressing them in real time with the way we design and develop products.

What binds each collection together?

Customer-centric designs, purpose-led innovation, indigenous craft-based elements—this will always remain at the core of all our collections. It is the DNA of Fabindia.

What was the impact of covid-19 on Fabindia?

Fabindia was always led by purpose and value, but covid-19 brought these principles once again to the core of our strategy. While it has been a challenging year for retail, Fabindia’s resilience for over 60 years is a true testament of its success. It has been made possible not only because of the teams and artisans who built this brand but also the community that continues to support it.

The pandemic has also accelerated our digital transformation and strategies to reduce the pain points of our community.

Also read: Why can’t the fashion industry go beyond clothes?

In the past few years, the price range of Fabindia products has increased manifold.

If a brand is using its people and the planet to ensure low prices and a quick turnaround, is the clothing really cheaper? Have we questioned what it takes to make cheap clothing and cut corners? If you invest in a garment that you can wear for years to come, the cost per wear becomes lower. Change has to happen in consumption patterns too. Better craft, longer life span, fair wages, sustainable practices only mean it (a product) is better for the planet and if it is better for the planet, it is better for you, it is better for us. It's just better business.

What have been your learnings from the pandemic life?

Change is inevitable. Stay relevant and make it about the human experience.

Future plans?

60 years old and 60 more to go.

Also read: 25 years of Good Earth: An Indian design story

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