Interview with Arvind Saraf

Arvind  Saraf
Arvind Saraf

We are beginning to see a revival of interest in ethnicwear
Triveni, a 30-year old player in the saree and ethnicwear market, is revolutionising the sector with its unique offerings, innovative marketing and engagement strategies and technical strides. Arvind Saraf, Director, Triveni spoke to Nivedita Jayaram Pawar on popularising the 'six metres of fabric' and the impact of e-commerce on the sector.

Saree is not a popular mode of clothing, especially among the younger generation. How are you promoting the saree?

Our focus has been to break the traditional perception of saree as a garment meant to be worn only in a traditional way. The reality is that the saree can be explored in many different ways. We expose this aspect of the garment to the student community and corporates through campus activities, corporate partnerships, etc. We are engaging students from different backgrounds, not only from India but also abroad via live projects and contests to experience a slice of Indian culture and take it forward. They participate enthusiastically in various design contests, or as Campus Ambassadors organising saree draping sessions and Ethnic Look Contests. So in some way they are able to realise the importance of ethnicwear. In order to encourage corporate houses to go ethnic, we have Corporate Partnership Programme - 'Triveni Sang', through which we make them believe that "One can be serious in a saree" and realise the importance of our culture by organising various team activities like Ethnic Saturdays and so on.

Today, brands are using traditional handwork to bring exciting fusion that is appealing to the younger masses. What is Triveni doing in this regard?

Fusion is more than handwork - it's in prints, surface work, silhouettes, drapes, etc. We are fusing contemporary prints into the old, bringing in elements of traditional hand paintings of the East with modern colour swatches. Traditional handwork elements are often merged with modern elements to create a fusion that is appealing to the young generation. Our latest collections have experimented a lot with silhouettes, bringing in kurti style jackets to accompany the sarees and ghagras. Mirror and stone handwork, along with exquisite embroideries of earthy tones have made an entry again. Recently we initiated a Saree Draping Challenge - "Dare2Drape", where we invited women all around the globe to try their hands on various drapes and realise that there is more to this "6 metres piece of cloth", rather than just draping it in one traditional way. The challenge works on a 7X7 theme (dare to try 7 different drapes, in 7 weeks, 7 sarees, 7 nominations). We have successfully started with the challenge, including our eight leading faces (from different backgrounds). To support the cause Triveni has sponsored sarees for all the leading faces.

Tell us something about the ethnicwear market in India. How large is it and at what rate is it growing? What are the factors contributing to this growth?

The market for ethnicwear or indutvas in India was estimated at `80,000 crore in 2013 - and is expected to grow at about 8 per cent per annum. We are beginning to see a revival of interest in ethnicwear, with younger generation having lived outside becoming influencers in fashion segment, and thus more willing to experiment with it. Brands are also starting to emerge in an industry which was earlier only dominated by local branded players. And as more women start working, ethnicwear is starting to get acceptance as an office wear.

What categories are you present in ethnicwear? What is the contribution of each of these categories? Which is the fastest growing?

Within ethnicwear, as an offline brand - we focus largely on sarees and lehenga-cholis. With our e-retail operations, we have gone a few steps beyond and also expanded to salwar suits, dress materials, traditional gowns, accessories, and kurtis. We are also present in menswear and kidswear. Growth drivers vary by location and demographics. With the younger generation, we are seeing salwar suits and kurtis grow much faster. Within the metros, there is almost a revival of sorts of sarees - and that segment seems to be growing.
Published on: 11/11/2015

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.

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