Indian consumers make up 20 percent of Times Square customers, Punjabi says, prompting a focus on special sales events around Indian festivals like Diwali. He also works closely with South Asian influencers, including Rosemin Manji. She believes luxury brands need to wake up to this dormant market within many of the world’s major fashion capitals. She adds: “Given the fact that Indians (and now more other nationalities) are heavily influenced by Bollywood celebrities and their fashion choices, luxury brands have started working closely with them. Brands need to localize their focus even within one region to serve different communities.”
Indian designer goes to the Indian diaspora
Designer Anita Dongre opened her first store in New York in 2018 and will open a store in Dubai early next year. As one of India’s most sought-after fashion brands, global India currently accounts for 45 percent of e-commerce sales, she says. “We would have the brides and grooms fly to the Mumbai and Delhi stores from abroad and even return with family and friends for their weddings,” says the brand’s head of business, Yash Dongre. “It is this strong demand abroad that prompted us to open a store in New York. The store performed much better than our initial expectations.” The brand does not share sales figures. When it comes to occasions like weddings or celebrations like Diwali, Indians, whether they live in India or abroad, still tend to turn to local fashion. “The global Indian diaspora has grown over decades and in changing geographies, but what remains true across generations is the idea of culture and purpose,” says Yash Dongre.
Following the store launch in Dubai, scheduled for Q1 2023, the US West Coast and Canada (both with large Indian expatriate populations) are now on the brand’s radar as well. Other Indian brands including Rahul Mishra, Manish Malhotra and Gaurav Gupta are also expected to announce their first international flagship stores.
The strategy also extends to beauty. Last month, Forest Essentials (Estée Lauder acquired a minority stake in the brand in 2008) became the first Indian beauty brand to open a store in London, offering a full range of luxury Ayurveda (an ancient healing tradition of India) in the UK. . They held an opening cocktail party at the Lanesborough Hotel with the High Commissioner of India’s Guest of Honor Vikram Doraiswami and a dress code reading “A Touch of India”, with many leading members of the Indian community in London invited.