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Social media has democratised fashion, says Mac Duggal

Mac Duggal on entering the Indian market, the evolving Indian consumer and key retail learnings

A Mac Duggal gown
A Mac Duggal gown

Mac Duggal, the Indian-American fashion designer known for opulent hand-beaded designs, has finally entered the India market after building his eponymous brand over a span of four decades.  

The brand, which has showcased at the New York Fashion Week in the past and been a favourite among A-listers like Gwyneth Paltrow, Vanessa Hudgens, Kylie Jenner, Eva Longoria, Shakira, Tina Turner and Aretha Franklin, has joined hands with retail partners, including The White Crow (Chandigarh, Mumbai and Ahmedabad), Ogaan (Delhi and Hyderabad) and Aza (Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad), to make a big mark in the market. 

“We observed a burgeoning appetite for high-quality designer wear among Indian consumers who seek exclusivity and sophistication in their attire,” says brand founder Mac Duggal, explaining the reason behind the entry. “This growing demographic of discerning fashion enthusiasts has provided a compelling opportunity for us at Mac Duggal to showcase our expertise in crafting impeccable evening wear.”

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At present, the brand is available in 52 countries, with retail locations across the world, besides presence in leading stores like Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue and Galeries Lafayette.

In an interview with Lounge, Duggal talks about the decision to enter India, the Indian consumer and key retail learnings. Edited excerpts:

Mac Duggal
Mac Duggal

What made you pick The White Crow, Ogaan and Aza as retail partners?

The White Crow, Ogaan, and Aza are renowned for their commitment to curating collections that resonate with discerning clientele mainly looking for ready-to-wear occasion wear. Their geographical spread and their presence in most of the Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities will help us reach out to our targeted clientele of discerning Indian women looking for occasion wear and ready to wear formal wear.

How have you tweaked the offerings to cater to the taste of Indian customers? 

I would say that we have carefully tailored our offerings to cater to the distinct tastes of Indian customers. This includes incorporating intricate embellishments like sequins, crystals and pearls, vibrant colours, which complement and look most flattering on most Indian skin tones, and playing around with a lot of drapes and pleats that reflect the rich cultural tapestry of India. 

While ensuring uncompromising quality, we have also devised pricing strategies that are accessible yet reflective of the craftsmanship and exclusivity of our pieces. Our offerings could be classified as affordable luxury women's wear and ready-to-wear fashion, with a starting price of 12,999 and the ready-to-wear collection ranging from 50,000-55,000 on an average. 

With the foray of several International brands in India, I believe that the Indian market is leaning more towards owning luxury items and timeless pieces, placing it on the global stage of fashion. 

You've dressed the who's who of Hollywood and Bollywood. How imperative is showbiz for your brand?

Showbiz has played a pivotal role in elevating the visibility and appeal of the Mac Duggal brand. Dressing celebrities from Hollywood to Bollywood not only amplifies our brand presence but also reinforces our reputation for delivering red carpet-worthy attire. 

What have been your key retail learnings?

We have learned the importance of adapting our offerings to local tastes while maintaining the core essence of the Mac Duggal brand. Additionally, our experiences have underscored the significance of building strong relationships with retail partners and providing exceptional customer service.

Since the brand's inception to present, how do you see the evolution of evening dressing especially with the popularity of social media? 

Since our inception in 1984, we have witnessed significant transformations in evening dressing, largely influenced by the advent of social media. Initially, eveningwear was primarily characterised by traditional silhouettes and embellishments, catering to formal events and gatherings. However, with the advent of social media, the landscape of evening dressing has undergone a profound transformation. 

Social media platforms have democratised fashion, allowing individuals to showcase their personal style and influence trends globally. This shift has led to a greater emphasis on individuality and experimentation in evening attire. 

Today, women seek garments that not only exude elegance and sophistication but also reflect their unique personalities and fashion sensibilities. While traditional elegance remains timeless, there has been a shift towards more daring and experimental styles, more focus on cuts, pleats and drapes to achieve a free-flowing silhouette, driven by the digital age's constant exposure to fashion trends. However, amid these changes, certain elements of eveningwear have remained timeless. The allure of classic silhouettes, luxurious fabrics, and impeccable craftsmanship continues to captivate women seeking timeless elegance for special occasions.

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