India Circus founder Krsnaa Mehta says he expects clothing will bring in nearly as much business for the brand as the home décor and dining lines over the next five years.
Think of India Circus, and images of colourful and quirky designs with a contemporary Indian twist come to mind. Krsnaa Mehta, the founder and executive director of the home décor, interior and lifestyle accessories brand (a Godrej & Boyce venture), has now ventured into the apparels category to create awareness about Indian handicrafts.
India Circus' latest T-shirt collection, called Save The Craft, is a stylish depiction of our artistic roots, inspired by Indian handicrafts and handlooms spanning centuries.
In an interview, Mehta delved into his reasons for getting into the clothing space and why it is necessary to pay attention to the handloom and handicrafts industries of the country. Edited excerpts:
You already have a successful home décor and lifestyle business. What was the thought behind launching the clothing line?
Several of our customers have been telling us that our prints are absolutely charming and would make for wonderful lifestyle clothing accessories. So, while we are working on a range of all kinds of womenswear and menswear, we decided to launch the Save The Craft T-shirt collection as a foray into this. Going forward, we will be introducing a whole lot of new items in the fashion clothing segment which will have our signature prints.
Your design philosophy has always been ‘Taking Indian contemporary to the world’. Is that philosophy going to extend to the clothing line as well?
You are right about the philosophy. And of course, the same philosophy will transcend into the fashion line. I am yet to sort of figure out whether we want to have the same prints on our fashion clothing as well as our home décor products. We may do separate prints but it will be the same philosophy and it is going to be an exciting new journey for us as well.
Can you tell us more about the ‘Save The Craft’ collection and how you aim to bring awareness to Indian handicrafts through it?
This collection was an interesting one for us. I have been working with craftsmen and artisans for my own spaces in homes, among other things. It’s obvious that they can’t produce the kind of quantities we are looking at at the India Circus. So, we thought we’d do this series.
If you look at the concept of the series, you will understand that it is trying to teach the younger people about the crafts in India. The T-shirts’ graphic prints show how wonderfully eclectic we are as a country. We are working with the craftsmen and creating small collections for our store as well as for events on the website.
Can you tell us about your upcoming collections in the clothing line?
There will be a lot of comfort clothing from kurtis to kaftans - outfits that will suit product prints, etc., beautifully.
Can you share your expansion plans for the clothing line?
We feel clothing will be a huge contributor to income by approximately 30-40% in the next five years, almost matching our home décor and dining that are main stake categories. So, while it will certainly help in increasing the revenues, it will also open us up to a whole new audience that likes to dress well and likes to be eclectic, world travellers in their approach to clothing. I think we will have something for everyone.
How have your own design sensibilities evolved ever since you started India Circus?
I think that every journey one takes, one learns from their experiences. I have always said that as a designer, I will provide the needs of the market and not be some whimsical designer sitting in a little hut somewhere creating things that no one wants to buy. So yes, I analyse the sales, what designs work well and then we create a journey into making that kind of design, with more options, looks, and feels. Seasonally, you will see a change in the approach. I am always open to ideas and to what manufacturers and producers have to show us. We are a private label company which means we commission our own production just like other design-centric companies would do. We have evolved in many ways in terms of product. I thought I’ll end up being the cushion man of India, considering so many people buy our cushion covers but we are into so many products and there is a market for everything. I think this has been a good journey in terms of customer analysis and the needs of the consumer as well.