Interview with Abhijit Ganguly

Abhijit Ganguly
Abhijit Ganguly
Brand Director

To a certain extent, ready-made garments market is conquering the world of stitched suitings.
Abhijit Ganguly, Brand Director of Grasim shares his views on the apparel and fashion industry in an exclusive interview with Fibre2Fashion correspondent Mary Christine Joy. Synopsis: Grasim is a well-known name in the field of suitings in India. It is owned by the Aditya Birla Group in India, and has remained a recognized name in the field of textiles since 1947. It is ranked amongst the best companies of the world in Viscose Staple Fibre (VSF). Abhijit Ganguly is the brand director of Grasim. He completed his schooling from Green Fields School, Safdarjung Enclave. His role as a Director has remained noteworthy in the company. Excerpts:

Grasim has launched its new Spring Summer collection. Can you tell us a bit more about the collection? What makes your collection special as compared to the rest?

Grasim's Spring Summer 2014 collection has a wide range of apparels to offer to the fashion forward consumers. The collection reaffirms Grasim's emergence from a fabric to a trendsetter in fashionable apparel brand. In the trousers category, we have introduced colour pants which are currently in trend whereas in the shirts category, there are checks which can be worn on both formal and informal occasions. For office goers, we have formal shirts available in new pastel tone shades. As linen fabrics are the most comfortable wear during summers, the brand offers finest designer linen shirts for men that look elegant, simple yet fashionable.

Cotton, from the looks of it, is your preferred raw material for apparel. What makes cotton special as compared to other raw materials? Is it the style, comfort, or anything else? Can you elaborate?

It's not only cotton we prefer, but there is also linen, denim and polyester blends which we use for our apparels. This totally depends upon the season and demand of our consumers. As we have come up with our Spring Summer'14 collection which focuses on easy dressing for men, we have made wide use of natural materials and blends as 100% mercerized cotton which not only offers greater comfort but also gives an elegant and relaxed look.

Sale of suitings in menswear was once upon a time limited to only the tier-1 cities of the world. But now, they have come to be easily sold in tier-2 as well as tier-3 cities of the world. Do you agree? Can you give your views in this regards?

Yes, earlier the biggest spend in suiting used to happen in tier - 1 cities of the world, but now the scenario is changing. People are getting more style conscious in tier - 2 and tier-3 cities, so their buying behaviour is also changing. These young men have high aspirations, they are well-groomed, and all they want is to look smart and fashionable. This is also somewhere the need of today's time.

Ready-made garments market has conquered the world of stitched suitings. In the sense, its growth has been affected by the rise in popularity of ready-made garments. Do you agree or not?

Yes, to a certain extent ready-made garments market is conquering the world of stitched suitings, as there is a big shift in the demand of consumers. Now rather than opting for stitched suitings, more people are going out for ready- made garments, especially youngsters who are looking for convenience, variety and good fits which they can instantly check by trying out apparel before buying their preferred apparel. This way they don't have to wait for the fabric stitching to get over before trying it out. Besides the gaining popularity of ready-made garments, stitched suiting is still very much popular among the adults who are seeking a quality and durable fabric for getting a customized fit - all this at a decent price point.

Being the Brand Director of one of the most recognized fashion brands, what advice would you give to fashion students all over the world, who wish to make a career in fashion? Which areas do they have a lot of scope in after graduation?

Fashion designing is one of the most lucrative, appealing, glamorous, exciting and unconventional career options in today's world. But, it is also a highly demanding career. To make a career in fashion, in the long run one has to be passionate about fashion and trends and perform consistently in this line in order to become a sought after fashion professional of the industry. Another point which fashion students need to keep in mind is that one needs to be informed and should stay updated about the fashion industry and its fraternity, whether it is the latest trends going on, understanding both the creative and financial aspect of business or building a network in the industry which is a must for fashion students. To make a career in fashion, there are many options that students can consider, for example, design production management, fashion marketing, planning and concept management, fashion accessory design, quality control and promotion of brands. One can work as a fashion consultant, personal stylist, graphic designer, production pattern maker. And after gaining some experience, one can also start his/her venture in the same field.

Which countries offer the most scope to fashion students at present in terms of fashion designing in industries?

Besides New York, Italy and London, places like Los Angeles, Barcelona, Rome, Berlin, Sydney, Shanghai and Tokyo are famous for building lucrative careers in the world of fashion.

Is India a very good destination for fashion students from the West? Is there a possibility of reverse brain drain from the West to India in terms of fashion and textile? What makes you think so?

Yes, India is a very good destination for fashion students. There is a growing demand of fashion professionals in the industry. As far as the fashion and textile industry is concerned, designers and fashion professionals in India prefer to experiment with a combination of ethnic and western style rather than totally opting for an out and out western style. This helps them to create a western look which appeals to the Indian consumer. In today's global village, these cool and comfortable fashion wear have an appeal to both Indian and Western customers.

Nowadays, denim shirts have begun to be a considered as a formal wear along with casual wear. Do you think denim shirts are fit for that category?

Denim shirts are versatile menswear. Although denim shirts are considered as casual attire, but due to its blue collar it also goes well as work wear too. And above that going by the changing perspective of people towards attires in workplaces, more and more people preferring for semi-formals or business casual look under which they can carry off a denim shirt.

Textile and apparel industry is one of the most water consuming industries of the world. Do you agree or not? Please state your reasons.

World-over, the textile industry and especially the wet-processing industry is one of the largest consumer of water in manufacturing and hence one of the main producers of industrial wastewater.

What efforts are being made in making the textile and apparel industry more sustainable? How can these efforts be enhanced?

In many countries, the charges for water supply and effluent discharge are increasing which is a good effort. Hence, for companies to save cost and remain competitive, they need to save water and address issues related to waste water disposal. Also companies with sustainable processes in place should be incentivized by appropriate bodies of the country. To achieve sustainable production, a sustainable design has to be put in place. In fact here I will urge our designers to make a contribution as their choices drive production in the short term and fashion trends in the longer term. Designers' decisions about fabric, construction and production techniques constrain or facilitate the activities throughout the supply chain.
Published on: 10/03/2014

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