Sonam Saini After creating ripples in the FMCG category, Patanjali Ayurved, promoted by spiritual leader Baba Ramdev, turned its focus on fashion with the launch of Patanjali Paridhan in November last year. Its maiden apparel store in New Delhi houses three sub-brands \u2014 a menswear brand Sanskar, womenswear brand Aastha and a unisex sportswear brand Livfit. Much like its other product offerings, Patanjali is riding on Indianness for its foray into fashion, too. A recently launched ad campaign for its fashion range is aimed at creating a \u2018movement\u2019 towards embracing swadeshi fashion. Going places Patanjali is planning to open 100 apparel stores across the country in the next 12-18 months and is also looking at creating an online retail presence by the end of FY19. Simultaneously, the apparel range will be made available on e-commerce platforms such as Paytm, Flipkart and Amazon. Apart from exclusive brand outlets (EBOs), the company will open small stores (800-1,000 sq ft) in multiple cities. KN Singh, CEO, Patanjali Paridhan, says, \u201cThe concept behind the small stores is to stock only one of our sub-brands at a time.\u201d For example, one such small store could contain only womenswear, and not the complete Patanjali Paridhan range. \u201cWe are gradually trying to promote sub-brands individually, but our EBOs are aimed at building our brand,\u201d explains Singh. That apart, Patanjali is looking at varied retail channels \u2014 multi-brand outlets (MBOs), the shop-in-shop model, distribution through unorganised retailers and distributors, online retail, as well as institutional business, through which companies can buy in bulk. So far, Patanjali Paridhan has eight operational outlets in New Delhi, Berhampur, Haridwar, Meerut and Aurangabad. The company is hoping to have 20 operational stores by the end of 2019, covering Jaipur, Agra, Patna and Nasik. Swadeshi thread Fashion is an unusual business arena for a spiritual guru, but a lucrative one, assures Singh. \u201cThe food and beverages sector commands around 12% of the total retail industry, while the second largest category is fashion and accessories, which accounts for 10% share.\u201d With an eye on the middle and upper-middle-class consumers, Patanjali Paridhan has kept its price range at Rs 699-Rs 1,499 for menswear, and at Rs 999-Rs 2,499 for womenswear. Patanjali is leaving no stone unturned in promoting the apparel brand. According to industry estimates, a budget of Rs 1 crore has been set aside for advertising in FY19. \u201cWe are going to go all out. Apart from digital, print, TV and radio, we are also trying to promote our brand in movie theatres,\u201d Singh informs. The campaign, Tann Maan Dhan Indiapan, has been crafted \u201cto remind people of the rich heritage of fashion that we have surrendered in the blind pursuit of western fashion\u201d. Will the emphasis on \u2018Indianness\u2019 work? Saurabh Uboweja, CEO of management consulting firm Brands of Desire, says while Patanjali has been successful in the FMCG category, a similar approach will not work in the fashion category. \u201cWhen it comes to fashion, it can\u2019t rely on Indianness or ethnicity as the differentiator, as there are plenty of established brands in the market,\u201d he says. \u201cPatanjali Paridhan has no clear positioning; I don't think it\u2019s going to be a viable long-term business proposition,\u201d Uboweja adds.