JJ Valaya Sheds Designer Tag For Volumes-led Pret Line

New Delhi: | Updated: Jan 30 2003, 05:30am hrs
Leaving its designer tag aside for a while, haute couture designer JJ Valaya has decided to enter the Rs 70,000-crore ready-to-wear market with a pret collection. The proposed venture scheduled to be launched around September 2003 will be backed by a leading corporate house, designer JJ Valaya told FE. He, however, refused, to disclose the name of the corporate hes tying up with.

We are talking to corporates for certain tie-ups since its not possible for a designer to do it single-handedly because of sheer volumes and size of the business, he said.

What has propelled the designer now to branch out into ready-to-wear clothing The answer is simple: the designerwear market is estimated to be a miniscule Rs 170 crore compared to the mammoth Rs 70,000 crore (organised and unorganised) ready-to-wear industry.

Pret definitely is a larger operation than designer and also the future of fashion, says Mr Valaya. An industry observer agrees: The industry can grow only through the pretline.

All these years, the designers have focused on haute couture or custom-made clothes. Also, they need to expand their retail base for the line to be accessible to a larger consumer base, he adds.

Mr Valayas pret range will essentially be a leisure line for both men and women, and priced competitively. The range is expected to shuttle between Rs 800 and Rs 5,000.

According to Mr Valaya, the haute couture range has gradually become a prelude to ready-to-wear lines across the world. With few exceptions, every major fashion house globally has made its entry into pret lines, he points out.

Also, unlike in India, most fashion houses abroad are owned either by corporate houses or financial institutions (Raymond Ltd and Sheetal Design Studio are the only instances of corporate houses in India that have initiated the process).

However, in India designers are not equipped for serial production which requires more units and elaborate back-end infrastructure which only a large business house can provide.

Says Mr Valaya, Abroad they understand that designers are creative people, mostly without any capital backing. In India, were only on that threshold.

The designer retails fashion and lifestyle products under three brands: JJ Valaya, Studio Valaya and Valaya Home-Life. The first label, JJ Valaya, is a decade-old couture label comprising his trousseau line.

A non-starter some years back for lack of awareness, pret is now top on the agenda of everyone including that of the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) whos single point agenda this year has been to promote pret collection.