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When a luxury brand hits the refresh button after 20 years

In an interview, AMPM’s Priyanka Modi talks about decluttering and building the everyday luxury brand

The newly designed AMPM store in Delhi's Emporio mall.

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AMPM’s newly furnished store in Delhi’s DLF Emporio mall doesn’t have a door. The corridor is built like a maze, separating you from the din of the world outside. Inside, you see a well-lit retail store that has more empty space than clothes and accessories from the everyday luxury brand.

“We are decluttering,” says Priyanka Modi, founder and creative director of AMPM. “That’s how we are celebrating 20 years of our existence.”

AMPM is one of the few homegrown brands that has quietly built a name for itself. Sitting inside a small, yet eye-catching corner shop in Delhi’s Khan Market, Ankur and Priyanka Modi launched the label two decades ago in a category that was very new to the Indian consumer, everyday luxury. Over the next decade, without much pomp of big billboards and advertisement, the label managed to catch the eye of the shopper who wanted to live inside garments that were made with luxurious fabrics and narrated the story of India through intricate embroideries and embellishments. The clothes looked modern yet traditional.

Also read: ‘Luxury shopping should be experiential’

Priyanka Modi, founder and creative director of AMPM
Priyanka Modi, founder and creative director of AMPM

In the hope of reaching more consumers, the designers slowly began moving away from their core belief of everyday luxury, creating lines that were semi-formal, even couture. “A lot of it was for commercial interests,” admits Priyanka. But about three years ago, the label started considering returning to its roots and rebranding, starting from a new logo, to closing down shops (they have shut nine of their 12 stores across India; the remaining three are in Delhi), and revamping existing stores and collections. It’s a big risk, especially if you are an already established name with a clientele spread across the world.

In an interview with Mint, Priyanka Modi talks about hitting refresh after 20 years, decluttering and future plans. Edited excerpts:

It’s been 20 years…how does it feel?

Like we’re just getting started.

After two decades of creating a brand, you are completing overhauling it. Isn’t it risky?

Every once in a while, to take a leap forward, you need to take a few steps back. About three years ago, we started contemplating what lies ahead for the brand. What were our challenges and what were our advantages? Where did we see ourselves? It’s taken a lot of courage to analyse our past. We understood that if we were to truly evolve for the future, then we had to be honest with ourselves and lay bare our losses and mistakes along. with our wins. We started the brand by providing the audience something relaxed and stylish, a luxury they could experience every day. We realized we wanted to return to that premise... to operate from our absolute core, unfiltered and unwavering.

Your store has more than usual free space with limited products on display...

Even though we were designing a retail store, one of the first things we decided to do was to do away with the idea of it being one. It could not feel transactional. It could not be typical. So we took inspiration from a real home, my home… minimal, with a focus on materiality. It speaks of how little you need to do to make something luxurious. Conventional retail science suggests that we must display more, to sell more. Most of us have blindly followed this rule of thumb without questioning it. This time, we did question it. We decided that we are not only a luxury offering and hence must exemplify it, but also that the product is painstakingly designed and detailed and each one should be given its space to shine.

So even though we had doubled our space from its original size, we reduced the merchandise on display by half, giving the customer a chance to properly view each product.

Has your approach to design also changed with this revamp?

We are working on bringing it back to its original promise. The promise of “relaxed and stylish, everyday luxury” that we started with and we are ensuring every product and collection is thoroughly filtered through that lens. It is about less clutter, and more curation.

What does it take to create a new brand identity after building a legacy of 20 years?

Madness, and whole lot of courage.

And how have you seen the luxury shopper change in these 20 years?

Oh, the consumers has evolved remarkably. With the advent of social media, global travel and online shopping, the luxury shoppers now have great access to the entire world. While earlier style meant “to fit in”, now it is a means of expression and makes you stand out. Your personal style is about individualism and uniqueness.

And there is more than enough choice, enough noise and exposure, making the customer equally discerning. They travel the world and live multi-faceted lives and hence it is responsibility of designers, in general, to enable their transitional lifestyles, products that can seamlessly take them from day to evening, work to vacation or even season to season.

Future plans?

More product lines without limiting it to apparel. Accessories are already a part of the current launch. Jewellery will come in next, followed by home. And yes, hopefully an international store soon.

Also read: Why H&M is invested in movewear

 

 

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