Responding to the growing interest in fashion among men, a young businessman from Srinagar has brought a top Indian chain of ethnic wear collection to the town which has turned into a successful venture as well.
By Nabeel Ajaz Ghani
Wedding is one of the most anticipated occasions in life. Kashmiri weddings are all about buy and bling. Our families, friends and relatives get together to celebrate the occasion and bless the newly-weds. What we wear and how we wear it makes the first impression. From the newly-weds to their friends and relatives, people are curious about each others’ dressing, which is not only about formal or casual wear, but must also entail a blend of elegance and ethnicity.
In our not-so-distant past, women usually took a lead in the show of glamour and elegance called Kashmiri wedding. But, with the fashion scenario changing around the globe, men also have started developing interest in wearing ethnic wear on wedding occasions.
Kashmir is still in a phase of evolution as far as branded apparels are concerned and much needs to be done. Unfortunately, it is a fashion to go outside Kashmir, to cities like Delhi, to shop for ethnic wear. Due to lack of availability and quality, people are compelled to spend big money and precious time outside their state.
This idea struck Aadil Zaz, a young businessman, who introduced Manyavar, a top ethnic wear collection, in Kashmir to cater to the growing market in men’s fashion. Its outlet opened in Srinagar’s Aksa Mall in May last year. Founded by the entrepreneur, Ravi Modi, in 1999, Manyavar has almost 400 outlets in and around 180 cities in India and abroad. The brand is a key sponsor of many IPL teams and has been awarded numerous times. Recently, Manyavar was awarded “The most admired brand of the year 2015”.
Aadil, who owns the outlet, belongs to a business family. He started his career by opening a ladies garments shop in the old city of Srinagar. The venture did well for him for almost three years. During this time, Aadil felt the scarcity of bridal wear and ethnic garments for men which gave him the idea of launching an exclusive showroom in his city.
“During my initial years of business, we had a wedding in our home. While shopping for ethnic wear, we could not find any good stuff. We went to every shop and every corner we could find but all we met was disappointment. Desperately, we had to rush to Delhi,” Aadil says.
It was while shopping in New Delhi’s Karol Bagh that Aadil first saw Manyavar, which gave him the idea of bringing the ethnic wear collection to the Valley’s market. “The owner of the Karol Bagh outlet helped me to contact the Manyavar franchise,” Aadil says.
Manyavar offers all types of ethnic wear garments and dresses for grooms. The price ranges between Rs 999 to Rs 1,95,000. Such collection is rarely seen in any other part of Srinagar. Manyavar has a vast variety of ethnic wear collection for men and they soon intend to start “Manya”, a bridal and ethnic wear for women.
Aadil says Manyavar garments have same price tag all over India, “The price is same for all the outlets of Manyavar. It does not vary from one city to another. The invoice we offer after people buy our garments is computer generated and the all the billing gets automatically updated to the software. Thus we cannot play with the prices. We deliver products to customers at same quality and price at which it is manufactured at the unit,” he says.
“Customers often complain about non-availability of discounts and price-cuts but similar to many acclaimed garment stores, Manyavar does not provide any discount on its garments in any season of the year,” the young businessman says.
The turmoil of past more than two decades has crippled trade and commerce in Kashmir Valley to a great extent. Even today, many brands hesitate to open their outlets here. Asked whether this situation hinders his business, Aadil says,: “I have not yet experienced any problem due to the present situation of Kashmir. I personally feel that the harsh winter in our Valley affects our business, much more than any other reason, as a good number of customers leave the Valley and the rest of them mostly stay indoors.”
Despite the harsh conditions coupled with the September 2014 flood, people have shown good response to his outlet. “We have had a good business from our people over these past months.” Aadil Zaz is a man of ambition and goals. He intends to bring more such brands to the Valley. While explaining his ambition of opening more brand outlets, Aadil says: “I would like to try my luck in international food chains. I would like to bring food franchises like Domino’s and McDonald’s to our Valley.”
- In our not-so-distant past, women usually took a lead in the show of glamour and elegance called Kashmiri wedding.
- Kashmir is still in a phase of evolution as far as branded apparels are concerned and much needs to be done.