MUMBAI, India — British brands Topshop and Topman launched in India last week with a party in the heart of Bollywood and a plan to tap the Indian market through e-tail.
The exclusive link with fashion e-tailer Jabong added to the existing relationship between Jabong and Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia Group, which owns Topshop and Topman. In 2014, Jabong launched Miss Selfridge, another brand from the group, at Lakme Fashion Week here.
Jabong has brought other global brands into India, including Bugatti shoes, which were launched last month; Dorothy Perkins; Tom Tailor, and Miss Bennett London.
Jacqui Markham, who was appointed the global design director for Topshop in February, said the e-launch was intended “to reach the larger geography of the country” and get a better sense of the Indian market.
“India is a completely different market with a lot of effortless approach to style here, which is not too formal, with an edge to glamor. It has the high-low combination that Topshop is known for,” said Markham. “There’s nothing to beat being in the country and seeing what people are wearing and what they want.
“India has such a rich heritage of textiles, color and print, it is a sensory overload to be here,” she added.
Topshop launched solely in the online space in seven other countries, including Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Finland and Taiwan.
In bricks-and-mortar terms, the brand retails in 330 stores in the U.K., and has 137 international franchises in 40 countries. It also retails in 70 Nordstrom stores in the U.S., and has nine fully owned stores in America.
Describing the addition to the fashion portfolio at Jabong, Praveen Sinha, the Web site’s managing director and cofounder, said that the e-tailer continued its focus of bringing global fashion to India, and to build its partnership with the Arcadia Group.
In India, the price range for both Topshop and Topman is from 690 rupees, or $10.45 at current exchange, to 10,000 rupees, or $151.50.
Gordon Richardson, who has been creative director of Topman for years, noted that smart, casual dressing was the way forward. “We’ve launched a selection keeping in view the climate and the Indian market, and the pricing is accessible. We do know that India is very diverse. Although a customer doesn’t get the theater of the store and its atmosphere, online is a much more practical way to open. The nature of our business is to react to what the consumer is telling us. It’s a fantastic way to learn about the market. Also, a lot of people find it easier to shop from home,” he said.
Topman has 256 stores in the U.K., and 154 international franchises in 39 countries. It is also sold in 60 Nordstrom stores as well as the nine Topshop/Topman units in the U.S.
The launch in India comes at a time of change at Jabong — one of the two co-owners and chief executive officer Arun Chandra Mohan has left the company to pursue another business venture. According to news reports and industry insiders, the e-tailer is likely to have more dramatic changes, and change hands as well — Jabong is presently owned by the London-based Global Fashion Group (GFG) which owns five online retailers in Latin America, Russia, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Australia.