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Home > Business > A Better Life

Great fashion for women of all ages

Maitreyee Handique | July 16, 2003

Sarees inspired by Raja Ravi Verma's oils. Limited edition silk scarves based on the works of artist S H Raza. And now Haiku verses, Rajneesh's peace messages and Rumi's poetry scripted on its new Celebration range, to be unveiled at the Lakme India Fashion Week.

The fashion house of Satya Paul is pushing its concept of wearable philosophy and power art into a new league this season. And its latest transcontinental project is yet another creative coup of sorts.

In September, Satya Paul Design Studio is organising a workshop called Cultural Ties in Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata, where a group of European artists and Indian artists such as Shakti Burman will work together in a creative endeavour to fuse fashion and art.

While the company is not sharing details, one can hazard a guess that the outcome of the workshop is likely to be adapted for its new range of neckties in the future.

Sanjay Kapoor, managing director of Genesis Colors, the company that was set up in January 2001 to manage the Satya Paul label, is upbeat that the design enterprise will add a new dimension to the company's fashion retail projections.

"We have big plans to make Satya Paul the first fashion brand with a stable nationwide reach," says Kapoor smugly. The company plans to add 20 more stores by 2005 to its existing eight in the country today in Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur, Madurai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai and Kolkata.

Next month it will open a 4,000 sq ft three-floor store in Delhi's Defence Colony. Says Kapoor, "We are investing about Rs 6 crore (Rs 60 million) in upgrading the printing plants, in new stores and ploughing back our profits in the new ventures." An exclusive men's store is also in the pipeline.

In 1986, Satya Paul Nanda established his brand by making couture sarees and fabrics and retailed via family-run stores La'affaire and The Heritage in the capital. After six years, the saree business was sidestepped.

Satya Paul entered into a loose partnership with Genesis Overseas, a company floated by two former Citibank employees -- Sanjay Kapur and Jyoti Narula -- to enter into the tie designing and manufacturing business.

Currently, Kapur, Narula (in charge of logistics) and Puneet Nanda, son of Satya Paul, hold equal stake in Genesis Colors that manages the Satya Paul brand.

Today, the Rs 15-crore (Rs 150-million) Genesis Overseas is the fashion house's cash cow and designs and manufactures ties for major brands such as Van Heusen, Peter England and Zodiac, and several other foreign brands. "With men becoming fashion conscious, we saw a big potential in this segment.

Today, Genesis Overseas controls about 90 per cent of the tie business and we can say we understand the innards of this sector," claims Jyoti Narula.

The company, which manufactures about 10 lakh 1 million) ties a year also sells the product under the Satya Paul brand name in 37 retail stores in India. It caters to duty free shops in seven countries as well.

Meanwhile, Genesis Colors was set up to enter the domestic retail business, especially, in the women wear's segment. In 2001, it launched its pret line U by Satya Paul. "We hope to increase our pret line from the current 25 per cent to 75 per cent of our total business," says Kapoor.

The company also has a couture and diffusion lines (which is slightly more expensive than the pret line). "We want to offer something for every age group. When a grandmother, mother and a daughter come shopping to our store there should be something for everybody," says Kapur.

Agrees Nanda, "There has been a major shift in volume and business for us. We are attempting to offer a complete range for women under the single Satya Paul brand with multiple price points for multiple markets."

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