Indian 'darzi' goes digital as people love customised apparel

New Delhi, Jan 31 (IANS) With the Covid-19 pandemic devastating several businesses and industries in 2020, many retail and offline players have gone online, shifting their operations to Cloud, and managed to sail through. And your traditional 'darzi' (tailor) or the designer boutique owner in your neighbourhood are among them.

Although the sales of readymade/branded apparel have gone through the roof across the big online platforms, it is the local designer boutiques and entrepreneurs who are bringing tailor-made, customised high-end clothes at your doorstep at a cheaper rate, at times even 50 per cent less from what you will otherwise pay at any fashion street.

You select the fabric online, provide the exact measurements, pay online and the perfect fit will be delivered at your home.

As the pandemic hit businesses, the high-street tailoring industry embraced social distancing and contact-less environment and provided hassle-free, customised apparels as per the customers' desires online.

According to Dhruv Toshniwal, Founder and CEO, The Pant Project, the idea to introduce the brand arose from his own personal experience and need.

Returning to India after studying at the Wharton Business School in the US, Toshniwal realised that while there are many options for custom-made shirts, he struggled to find a pair of well-fitted trousers.

"The idea to launch the brand online only was a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. With physical retail stores struggling and closing down all over the world, our founders saw an opportunity to leverage the power of the internet to digitise the traditional tailoring experience," Toshniwal told IANS.

"We are offering custom-made products at similar prices. Each pant is personalised, made exactly to the customer's measurements and as per their unique styling preferences," Toshniwal said.

Clients can choose between slim, tapered and regular (relaxed) fit to find a pair of pants that fit perfectly to their body type.

The customers can add a personal touch to each pant and have their initials monogrammed onto the trouser at no additional cost.

"Clients can choose to add pleats, a crease, a turn up hem, a button or hook, or an extended waistband tab etc. to their pant at no additional cost," he added.

Shipping is free, and if clients require a reverse pickup to return, exchange or alter the pants, the reverse shipping is free too.

"Our after sales service is unparalleled. We offer free alterations to clients for the lifetime of the pant. If the client is unhappy with his fit the first time, we organise a free reverse pick-up and alter the pant, so that it fits them just right," Toshniwal told IANS.

The Pant Project also provides free consultation by their personal stylists before and after purchase, where clients can consult the stylist on the ideal fabrics, fits, styles and customisations as per their needs.

It has a range of classic colours and sophisticated patterns that offer options from dress pants (formalwear) to smart casuals and chinos, jogger style pants and work from home casuals.

"We believe we can offer a far superior experience to the clients than the traditional retail store shopping experience that big brands like Zara, H&M, M&S, Levis, Blackberry, Arrow, Tata Trent etc. offer," Toshniwal noted.

The company is amazed at the positive response from the clients and the fast rate of growth in its first few months of operation.

Delhi-based NAAZ The Designer Boutique has been in the business for nine years.

Vanshika Girdhar, designer and owner of the boutique, said that being in the digital era in these Covid times, they are offering all the consultation services virtually through the digital medium.

"Wrong size generally isn't that odd as we provide customers with a demo picture and the size chart as well. There can be minor alterations as client are taking the measurements themselves and there is no extra cost for the alterations," Girdhar told IANS.

"The products are not returned as these are made to order and of particular sizes and requirements," she added.

For Toshniwal, the future of customisation in India is very bright.

"We believe that more and more people will buy custom-made products, and move away from off-the-rack, one size fits all solutions. Mass-personalisation is a global mega-trend, and we are seeing India start to ride the wave," he noted.

(Vivek Singh Chauhan can be reached at vivek.c@ians.in)