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IN CONVERSATION WITH FEROZA DALAL

— JASMEEN DUGAL

Feroza Dalal is an acclaimed consultant in retail operations with focus on retail operations, merchandise planning and buying. She has rich experience with leading design houses and a vast network of both established and budding designers. Her area of expertise is in mentoring designers who need help in production, distribution, branding and marketing. She also guides and mentors retail staff at all levels. And she is looking forward to scouting fresh designers at India Beach Fashion Week. In conversation with her.

 

Feroza from a buyer's perspective, what should designers focus on when presenting a collection on the catwalk?

 

The shows give us a feel of the collection. As buyers, we are always looking for standout pieces or individualistic styles from the designer; we are not looking for caricature or substitutes. Designers should focus on the end-users that the buyer is targeting. Size, pricing, silhouette and wearability of a garment play a big role in selecting the collection.

 

Personally what does buying entail?

 

While buying, we take into account several aspects of the collection. We, as buyers, are looking for something new, in the use of fabrics, comfortable silhouettes and finish. The collection should look fresh, original and appealing.

 

How would buyers edit a designer's collection from the runway for it to sell?

 

The show tells us a story but we need to revisit the collection at the designer's stall or showroom to understand what works well. It's vital for a buyer to keep in mind the store's identity, be connected with clients and understand what clients want, while selecting the collections.

 

You have rich experience. How would you help a designer make their collection more commercially viable?

 

The designer, to have a more commercially viable collection, should have their own signature style, as that is what sets them apart from the others. The collection should not be less than 12 pieces and not more than 20 pieces and offer colour options and sizes. The pricing should be very sharp as we cannot underestimate its importance. Be original, be prepared for changes in the market, have a good quality product and know your clients.

 

Feroza how would you describe the designer-buyer relationship?

 

In our industry, a designer-buyer relationship is based on trust and friendship. Most buyers are working with these designers on consignment and outright basis so they have to believe in the designer and the designer has to have faith and trust in the buyer — both want to be commercially successful. This is also the case with new designers.

 

Do share your views: is Fashion Retail evolving in India? What is your experience and perspective?

 

Fashion Retail has gone through dynamic growth and also has faced myriad challenges in the recent past. The Indian consumers' buying behaviour is being influenced by social platforms and International fashion trends.The fashion retail business is growing in the smaller cities and due to this the designer labels are easily accessible. There has been an influx of designers and designer stores and thus the aspirational client has also started buying. Retail dynamics keep changing but the power of sustainability is the key.

 

Do you have any nuggets of wisdom for newer designers? How should they approach retailers?

 

New designers should focus on branding along with original and qualitative products. Try and be in as many stores in different cities as possible as that will help your brand to be visible and also give you an understanding of the viability of your product. Hire a good merchandiser to help you rotate your stocks well. Lastly, have a vision for your brand. Believe in your creativity and research the market.
 

Feroza Dalal
Feroza Dalal
 
23-APRIL-2019
 
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