Friday, August 28, 2015



This blog is all about a critical analysis of Sabyasachi Mukherjee’s success story, how he becomes so popular? How he earned so much of name & fame? and how he is about to become a billionaire? This article is also about his working style, his unique quality, his thinking, and most important thing how he advertise and makes the product saleable?

1974 born Sabyasachi Mukherjee is a noted Indian fashion designer from Kolkata (India). Since 1999, he is selling designer wear under label ‘Sabyasachi’. Sabyasachi Mukherjee is the youngest board member of the National Museum of Indian Cinema. He has designed costumes for Bollywood films such as Guzaarish, Babul, Laaga Chunari Mein Daag, Raavan,English Vinglish etc
His pet name is Pepsi. During his 1st year in NIFT seniors have given this name, as he looked like a Pepsi advertisement boy (during that time on TV Pepsi advertisement was popular because of funky and colourful dress, Sabya use to dressed-up in same manner) He used to feel irritated when anybody called him Pepsi but after certain period of time he started loving the name.

His mother, Sandhya Mukherjee worked at Government Art College. Sabyasachi's sister Shingini Mukherjee (Payal), who is 7 years younger to him, manages the business of the label.                  Mukherjee studied at NIFT-Kolkata. After his graduation, he opened a workshop in Kolkata with initial capital 25000 only,  Over the years, he has built a clothing brand which has a strong social perspective Mukherjee, whose pet name is Pepsi (given by his seniors during ragging in NIFT),
1999, Sabyasachi Mukherjee graduated from the National Institute of Fashion Technology – Kolkata  with three major awards..
2001, Sabyasachi won the Famine British Council’s most outstanding young Designer of India award, and went to London for an internship with an eclectic designer based in Salisbury. Returning home, Sabyasachi started retailing at all major stores in India.
2002, Sabyasachi participated at the India Fashion Week where his debut collection earned him positive reviews from the national and international press. On a cover by Women's Wear Daily, he was reckoned as the future of Indian fashion. 
2003, Sabyasachi made his debut on the international runway, with the “grand winner award” at the Mercedes Benz New Asia Fashion week in Singapore, which paved his way to a workshop in Paris by Jean Paul Gaultier. His collection "Kora" at the Lakme Fashion Week2003 in which he used unbleached and hand woven fabrics with Kantha( a traditional hand embroidery  which is famous in India). He was declared the best Designer of India at the MTV Lycra style awards and won the “Society” Achievers award for the best new Indian designer.
2004, Sabyasachi took a step ahead with Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week and The Miami Fashion Week with a bohemian take on Indian textiles and his collection was called "The Frog Princess". His tiny London store awarded by Vogue as “the best shopping destination in the world”
He earned the distinction of being the only Indian designer to be invited to showcase at the Milan Fashion Week2004
2005, his spring-summer collection, "The Nair Sisters" was inspired by hand block printing, embroideries, bagru prints and the extensive use of Indian traditional hand woven fabrics. The collection was sold at Browns & Selfridges in London. He was requested to showcase his collections at the prestigious Oxford University annual black tie charity dinner fashion show.
2006, Sabyasachi’s After debut Spring Summer collection’07 at New York Fashion Week  his label started selling world-wide. He is the only Indian designer to be a part of all three leading fashion weeks: New York, Milan and London. Sabyasachi believes that the unique positioning of Indian designers is due to the exclusivity of his homeland with its rich history and culture. He believes that Indian designers bring a flavor to the west that is no longer perceived as only exotic but also a rich blend of individuality and sensitivity.
2007, Sabyasachi participated at the New York and at the London Fashion Weeks plus Bridal Asia 2007, Lakme India Fashion Week and the Vogue Launch event in India. His “Sanctuary” collection showcased at Lakme Fashion Week Fall Winter 08 received positive reviews from the fashion editor of the New York Times, Suzy Menkes.
The designer made his debut to the Cannes Film Festival in the year 2011.

Sabyasachi's design philosophy is 'Personalized imperfection of the human hand'. Deserts, gypsies, prostitutes, antique textiles and cultural traditions of his home town, Kolkata, are the inspiration he always keep in mind.
Once in an interview he said “I don’t consider myself a designer, I just make pretty clothes. Sabyasachi Mukharjee uses unusual fabrics, texturing and detailing, 'fusion' of Indo-western style, 'patch-work' with embellishments and vibrant colors. He describes his own collections as 'an International styling with an Indian soul. Sabyasachi Mukharjee collection is always gives rich look.
His signature style is originality, as he moves between stunningly crafted bridal wear and perfectly structured western statement. The designer draws his inspiration from art such as the cloudscapes of French impressionists like Monet and Henry Matisse in his clothes.
He pioneered the use of Indian textiles in a modern context. His unique contribution was the use of indigenous methods like bandhani, gota patti  work,  hand dye etc. in construction of modern silhouette.
Sabyasachi as Presentation Guru

He thinks different, he lives different and he presents his work differently. Since his college days his presentation always drew the attention of all. He speaks less but his work speaks more than him. He comes-up with unexpected themes, sometime he had differences with his faculties (at the same time some of the faculties were blindly supporting him). He utilised all the opportunities to work well, he is a master of in-cashing the opportunities. Juniors & seniors and also faculties members used to wait eagerly for the presentation of Sabyasachi. (Please note when I say presentation it means not only verbal presentation but also a display which NIFTians usually do.) Whatever themes he used to select, according to that theme he used to change the entire area/environment (macro environment) by using appropriate props. No matter how much time required to accomplish but he used to do the work exactly as he planned of, he was never satisfied unless things were done as per his imagination and planning ( he never said kam chal jayega)
While his classmates were busy on the kam chalau presentation (completed work, made PPT or chart/slide presentation). He was busy in decorating the ambiance. For example If he would have taken a theme like Heritage of Rajasthan, first he would follow design process, then designed garments and give them an impression of Rajasthani origin (in terms of silhouette -Jodhpuri harem, Rajwada style, Technique- some where he will use Bandhani, bagru, sanganeri...etc Fabric- hand woven, Embellishment- heavy jardoji..etc) Then he would have selected the area to be displayed, afterward he would think of the props to be used to compliment the theme like- Gold plate, lota, hukka, matka, Rajasthani Laheria Pagdi,then he would paint the wall(if necessary ),.
He always followed design process. Same thing is still continuing, wherever he does any exhibition you can easily see that he is following design process same kind of display as I mentioned above. He never forgot to make mood board, colour palate and write-up; sometimes he plays AV (audio visual) for his show. He is a good make-up artist, during his show /exhibition or photo-shoot he decides make-up and sometimes he ends-up doing make-up by himself.
If you will see his working style in his workshop you will be amazed that how he gives brief to his junior designers/merchandisers/production assistants. Recently he briefed about a theme and went out of  Kolkata 7 Days before the final show he came and showed the designs, according to him it was not up to the satisfactory level, at that moment he took the decision to change the entire theme, dropped all the styles and started working on new theme and finally within 7 days he did it. He is the only designer who can work 14 hours in a day continuously without taking a break.
He knows what things can attract the people most? He knows at what extent it will affect the thinking process of the others?  He knows how to mark an impression in the eyes of the viewer.
Recently he took an initiative called SAVE THE SAREE he was aware of the sentiments of the people in India, he got acclaimed and many other celebrities came forward to support him( Including Aiswariya Bachhanm, Rani Mukharjee, Madhuri Dixit.)  
At initial stage he has taken themes like Prostitute – before taking this type of theme he was aware that If I will design on theme like “Prostitute” people will talk about my designs, It may fetch popularity,  I can win the sentiments of the so called thinkers of the society (It was too risky as well because that time society was not so liberal and it was an experiment.)
-        His collection
Sabyasachi’s collection is unique in all aspects, he always use  to take inspiration from the ancient architecture, art and craft, he uses colours from the nature like forest green, tomato red, pale pink, baby pink, sky blue, rust, grey...etc. Before writing this blog I have interviewed few industrialists and asked “what are the unique things you see in Sabyasachi?  , an industrialist who deals in designer wear said “other Indian designers have a specific target customers in India but Sabyasachi got a taste of cosmopolitan, few of his collections can be worn by a Muslim a Jain, a Sikh, a Christian or by  anybody but designers like Ritu Kumar, Anamika Khanna, JJ walaya, Tarun Tahiliani  have a specific target customers. Sabya’s collection is very much in vogue across the globe because of this uniqueness”
He is the only designer who dares to use shades of black in his bridal collection; he is mostly using quality materials in his Lehanga and Saree and  doing many unique process before using metal tikki, bullions and cord like oxidising, dyeing in tea & coffee, and spread materials at the roof for few days so that it look faded (antique look)  Initially he was using Indian traditional textiles (hand woven fabric) like chanderi silk, dupian silk, silk georgette, matka silk, thin khadhi, Jamnagar bandhej so it can touch the sentiments of the customers
In most of the ranges he is using hand embroidery, he has strong  believes in the power of the craftsmanship, He has approx 3000 hand embroidery Karigers (craftsmans) and they are working day & night. These days he is experimenting with machines, he has computer embroidery unit, manual black head embroidery machine unit. First he develops ‘base’ on machine embroidery and then go for highlights with hand embroidery (after heavy highlight with the sequins (tikki) Dbaka, bullion, you will not be able to recognise that machine has been used to make this product) 
His nomenclature is very interesting and catchy, he use terms from the bottom of his heart and it comes instantly. For example he has Rajasthani Lehanga, Pan patta, Zhilmil Lehanga, lakh buti lehanga, angarkha, Patina, Char bhag kurta, deepika border, Bipasa cut...etc (sometime he makes a gaown and termed  it is a Designer Saree like TOGA SAREE)  It may sound funny but his customers knows these terms.
-        Marketing strategy
He knows how to create hype, since his starting days he is doing this technique for promotion. Two years after he opened his first workshop, he started giving a scholarship award in NIFT Kolkata by his name. ( he was giving 25000 to a college topper every year, it was a little amount for others but please note he was struggling hard to manage his own expenses at initial stage) This act very impressive, all NIFT students started talking about Sabya and it becomes viral in Kolkata.
Before new collection launch he creates hype in the market, he is well connected to the Bollywood celebrities he use to give his new pieces to the celebrity for free to attend events like Cannes film festival, Red Carpet,  Film Fare Award ..etc,  does photo-shoot, gives advertisement  in national fashion magazines like Vogue India, ELLE, Harper Bazar, Cosmopolitan, Bizarre...etc, Comes in live show on TV..etc. Once the designs noticed by the people, designer gets huge order.
Recently he went to Paris, before his launch he designed few ‘three-wheelers auto’ painted it in Sabya style and running it through the city for a month. So he is master of creating hypes and demand.  I hope you remember, opening of his Mumbai show room. All media houses were showing that report, he did unique things in the store but most importantly he marketed it so well that it marked an impression on all fashion connoisseurs and they remember his store.  He sells his Lehanga Saree and other garments through his exclusive stores in India and overseas. He also sells his collection through other stores (designer wear stores) and websites.
-        Customisation
Customisation is the best unique service he provides to his customers which builds a good relationship between fashion designer and his customers.suppose a customer comes and says “Pepsi can you convert this Lehanga into Kalidar for me” (if he/she can gives handsome amount) he will do what exactly customer wants.He has customers like Neeta Ambani, Aiswarya , Bipasa Basu, Ms.Ganguli who always customised the garments according to the need and occasion.
-        Customer interaction
He has a relationship with customers like a family member.  He interacts so well that the customers do not feel like stranger. He maintains his status, most of the time (almost 365 days)  he stays in the Taj Hotel (5 star). Though his workshop is in bypass (very cheap and unhygienic area) but his show rooms situated at posh area of the city) He attend functions and treat the customers very well. Customers feel so comfortable that they(most of them) call Sabyasachi by his pet name “Pepsi”
-        Exclusive Trial
Most interesting features of the “Sabyasachi couture” is trial, after customisation he gives a date to come for trial. He has tie-up with leading jewellers of India. They give all kinds of bridal jewellery to Sabyasachi couture for trial. If a bride wants to see, how exactly will she look on the auspicious day of her marriage?  Sabya gives a make-up (at nominal charge), jewellery (everything which she should wear in marriage). After make-up and dress, photographers’ click her photographs and show to the bride that how will you look in the marriage. In one bride trial it took around 4-5 hours, by this heart wining efforts he actually wins the confidence of bride and groom. Can you imagine 5 hours for a trial; I don’t think that any customer will leave the store empty handed. Once a bride family enters in his store they spend 40-45 lakh (on an average) for the shopping.  
-        Pricing policy
He does not have any defined pricing policy. After completion of styles merchandisers sit together with Sabyasachi and decide price. Generally, Sabyasachi Couture sets MRP at 5 times the cost price. For example if manufacturing cost of a Lehanga is 60 thousand they will not sell it below 300000. Sabyasachi Couture sells Lehanga (with blouse and two Duppatta)-  Rs 2,00000 to 15,00000
Saree   (with blouse and skirt)                  -   Rs 85000  to 10,00000
Even a single dupatta he charge from 10,000 to 50,000. Belt starts from 10,000.
According to statics by search engine most of the People who search Sabya on internet they use keywords like “what price point Sabyasachi is selling Lehanga and Saree?”  ,“Sabyasachi lehanga price?” ,  “price range of Sabyasachi Lehanga and Saree?”..etc
After seeing this report i concluded that “people have price phobia about Sabyasachi” so tried to contact with his different stores to have better insight.
On telephonic interview with his Mumbai store manager he said “I don’t think that people have phobia about our price point, rather i would say some of the customers comes in our promo and says Dada (Sabyasachi) why you are selling such a cheap product. Make it costly.”
New initiatives
Mr Mukherjee started a project called “SAVE THE SAREE “where he retails hand-woven Indian sarees on a non-profit basis priced at 3500 & the entire proceed goes to the weavers of  Murshidabad. This initiative is also strongly supported by Bollywood divas.
He has been developing textiles from Dastkarin-Andhra Pradesh, Berozghar Mahili Samitiin-Bihar, Tantubay Samiti-Fulia and Kotpadin-Orissa. The designer uses rich ethnic fabrics in his collection - extensive use of Banarasi fabric can be seen in his range. Over the past two years he has also been involved in reviving cotton Benarasi saree in pure Khadhi and vegetable hand block prints from Bagru.
He is one of the designers who, promoted khadhi in the International platform. Sotheby's London hosted an exhibition of contemporary design named 'Inspired by India' where the designer showcased his work of khadi. Sabyasachi's collection of Winter-Festive Lakme Fashion Week 2011 revived the finer version of Khadi.
SWOT Analysis of designer label Sabyasachi couture
          1. The brand depends on the success of its creator Sabyascahi who was awarded as the best              designer for the ethnic wear segment.
2. The brand has showcase its collections through various fashion show, movies and TV shows like Band Baaja Bride which have been a success.
3. The brand has a list of Bollywood stars like Rani Mukherjee in its clientele which is a major highlight.
4. The vibrant colors of the season displayed in its collections are a highlight.
The brand has not been able to break out of its bridal wear mould.
 The brand is not present in all major cities in India which reduces brand visibility.
The brand can start online selling which has emerged as an effective medium for sale in recent times.
 The brand can improve its international presence by tapping NRI’s which have the buying power for the brand.
 The brand can diversify into other line like fusion-wear which would be great boost to it.
The foray of various designers in the Indian wear segment has increased competition
The brand is facing threat from designer western wear which is gaining prominence.
1.Satya Paul
2. Anamika Khanna
3.Vikram Phadnis

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Materials for visual merchandising and store design

Materials used in visual merchandising

Materials for the  stores, window-dressing, window display, 
  Point of purchase POP,  in visual merchandising.                                                                                                 

It depends on the visual merchandisers which materials they want to use. As we know there are three types of arrangement/display,
1.  Permanent display
2. Semi permanent Displays and
3. Temporary displays.
Based on these three displays we start selecting materials, In a store it might happens that some of the display or props & fixtures are permanent and few are temporary or semi temporary.
 Here I would like to define how they choose materials, what are the key factors or you can say what are the criteria they follow to select materials for window dressing and for entire store?
1.    Brand image/identity (among the consumer)
Brand image/brand-positioning/brand-identity is the prime factor which is to be considered before selecting materials for the window display/dressing or for the entire store (store front or focal area, floor  materials for the Props & Fixtureetc)  for an example Ad-hardy is a brand for street look, they use lots of graphics and psychedelic colors on the garment. They have poisoned their brand for up class. So while a visual merchandiser or a store designer select materials for ad-hardy store they must select tough and metallic look. You can easily find a modified bike with chain rings, tires ..etc
2.    Merchandise mix they offer.
What all things the retailer sells, if a brand selling fashion and lifestyle product through outlet ( dress, Tunic top, harem pant, casual topsthese are the merchandise mix of the brand) so the product also plays a very important roles in materials to be used for the store design.
3.    Theme and Season (festive/spring/summer)
One thing Visual merchandiser always keep in mind and i.e. “theme” some merchant term it story. And few Indian visual merchandisers simply say it season. But all are little different from each other. Let’s not go to the deep meaning we will discuss these themes story and season in separate chapter.
Here I would like to give an overview about the themes and season in visual merchandising. What are the most sought after themes for VM and store designs? Below are the themes and seasons:-
Festive season- in Indian context holi/diwali/dasahra(durga puja),  western – Halloween, carnival, ice bucket challenge ..etc
Season – summer, spring summer, winter, and autumn winter
Event based – Gandhi (2 Oct) Teachers day, valentine..etc.
4.    Geographical location and availability of the certain materials
Availability of materials is directly proportional to the budget. Merchandisers choose material after studying environmental factors of that particular area. However for the big and international brand/retailers these things are not very important. They can invest much on maintenance to unified similarity. For an example if a brand is going to launch stores in Nort-East states of India they would prefer to choose material like cane, bamboo etc. there is a very low chance that they will go for concrete materials (it is expensive and difficult to maintain.)
5.    Budget
Generally when new concept comes in a creative team of visual merchandiser, they show the concept to their senior/ financing & approving authorities (of that organization). They ask for the fund and authority sanctions certain amount. To implement that concept in all stores they struggle hard ( to accomplish the goal in defined budget).  For big and international brand/retailers Budget is not a big constrain.

Materials for storefront
After going through above mentioned key we decide materials for each part of the store.
  wood will give a more elegant look to your business. However,  for a more urban feel, metal may fit . Continue this theme inside the building with contemporary urban touches, such as exposed pipes on the ceiling.


A place where sales are made. On a macro-level, a point of purchase may be a mall, market or city. On a micro-level, retailers consider a point of purchase to be the area surrounding the counter where customers pay. Also known as "point of sale". 
Three types of displays
  Temporary displays are designed for short-term use (for 4-8 weeks).
  Materials generally include: cardboard, printed sheets, chipboard, and plastic.


  Semi-permanent displays are usually constructed out of more durable materials and have a lifespan of 12-52 weeks or more.
  Semi Permanent Display uses some of the same materials, but usually with paperboard and containerboard.

  Permanent Displays are by far the most complex and expensive displays to design, and is the most profitable display
Permanent Displays are produced using strong and rigid materials such as wood, metal, acrylic, wire

1. Wood
Wood  is Extremely common, Easily available,Durable, May be expensive or cheap
  It has attractive decorative properties with or without painting.

2. MDF = Medium Density Fiberboard
  Produced from the thinning of sustainable softwood forests well suited to carcasses.
  Light in weight
  Reasonably strong

  Most plastics are relatively cheap
   Do not require finishing.
However if exposed to sunlight they may degrade over time and translucency will be

  Acrylic is a plastic when polished offers a gloss finish.
  It can be crystal clear or pigmented in a wide variety of colors.
  Easy to machine
  cheap and reasonably strong but is also brittle and can be scratched.
  It can be bonded with adhesives.

  Styrene sheet comes with a gloss side and a matt side and it cannot be polished.
  Styrene is cheap
  comes in multiple colors
  It is less brittle than acrylic and more flexible.

PETG = Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol
  It is a clear sheet and has excellent transparency.
  It is easy to thermoform.
  It is not brittle.
  Resistant to chemicals such as cleaning materials.

  Polycarbonate is a very strong stiff and hard material that can be molded, bent, and machined.
  It is relatively expensive.

Metals are used for some permanent POP applications where strength and durability are important. Metal are being used in varity of props and fixtures.

Note- The photographs used in this blog post are not owned by the authorRanjeet Rana), and it is not for commercial use. These blogs are for educational purpose only, the students of Fashion Design, Retail Management, Fashion communication, Knitwear Design, Fashion Technology and Accessory Design department of the different fashion designing institutes are  the beneficiaries.