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Fashion Talk

Ashray Gujral

Founder
Brand - Dash & Dot

We keep functionality and comfort at the core of every garment

Inspired by travel tales, nature, emerging subcultures, and vibrant markets, fashion house Dash and Dot aims to be the Indian market’s preferred non-couture international wear brand. In a chat with Fibre2Fashion, Founder Ashray Gujral explains the brand’s mission to democratise fashion and its ambition to venture into fresh markets.

Fibre2Fashion: What is the inspiration behind the name ‘Dash and Dot’ and how does it reflect the brand’s values?

Ashray Gujral:

The logo and the name have two clear meanings and missions for us. We wanted to create a universal brand language that comes from India but can be understood across the world. As dashes and dots are present in most languages across the world, we thought this was a fitting name. Secondly, the dash and dot represent the male and female forms, and the oversized ‘&’ in the middle signifies the gender spectrum in between. Dash and Dot was founded in 2020 to actualise my vision of creating an accessible and sustainable brand that was both functional and fashion-forward.

 

F2F: From where does Dash and Dot draw inspiration for its designs? Are there any specific themes, cultures, or eras that influence the brand’s aesthetic?

AG:

Dash and Dot’s identity has been based on accessibility, conscious and functional designs, and modernity, which also makes for the inherent elements that ignite the foundation of each collection created. At Dash and Dot, we draw inspiration from stories of travels, diving, souks, markets visited, nature, burgeoning sub-cultures, and lifestyles. We strive to become the go-to brand for international wear non-couture across the Indian market by building an aspiration that is accessible.

F2F: How does the brand aim to create a universal appeal with its clothing line across different sizes and genders?

AG:

With Dash and Dot, we wanted to build a brand that would come to be inclusive and keep striving to build a larger tent that includes everybody, no matter their demographics. Inclusivity is one of the key policies of our brand. Within each micro collection, we have several conversations about creating uniquely special pieces for shoppers across the size and gender spectrums. We offer size customisation at no extra cost and aspire to keep building our gender-neutral offering.

F2F: Do you have any signature design elements that are consistently present across the brand’s collections? If yes, what are they and what do they signify?

AG:

While the visual language of the brand is vast, we keep functionality and comfort at the core of every garment. From dresses that can be worn to large gatherings down to the tracksuits, you would wear at home, each fabric, design, and technique is rigorously function tested before we take it to the market.

F2F: How do you ensure that each piece is thoughtfully designed?

AG:

We understand that our customer base is vast, and each customer is unique. Keeping functionality at the heart of our designs, ensuring there is comfort and ease of wearability, each piece is thoughtfully designed to cater to our customer base offering the highest quality fabrics and sewing while carefully designing every aspect of the garment, down to the buttons and zippers of each piece. We keep asking ourselves difficult questions during the design process to ensure every piece meets the high aesthetic and quality standards that our customers have become accustomed to.

F2F: Where do you source your materials from? What is the brand’s approach towards sustainability?

AG:

Almost all our materials are sourced from across India. Having a background in textile and manufacturing, we have relationships with large mills and small communities that have been built over generations. We strive to ensure that at least 90 per cent of all materials we use every season are either sourced from traceable sustainable sources or come from communities that specialise in certain craft forms.

F2F: How do you promote brand awareness to reach your target audience?

AG:

Our growth strategy has relied a lot on word of mouth and organic growth. We focus on providing high-quality, well-designed clothing. We have been fortunate to build, in a short span of time, a loyal and vocal customer base not just in India but across the world. Repeat customers, including content creators and celebrities, have helped and given us a platform to showcase our work and pass on our message.

F2F: How does Dash and Dot strive to make fashion more accessible?

AG:

The idea has always been to build a vast brand that stands on its own, is responsive to the needs of the Indian consumer, and utilises the extensive skill set of Indian artisans and workers to create a product that is affordable and accessible to the Indian customer. We are constantly working very hard on our fits and quality with regard to sourcing. Coming from an export background, we have leveraged our extensive access to various databases of fitting knowledge. For the first two seasons, we heavily relied on customer feedback to refine and perfect our fits. Our main goal was to ensure they were specifically tailored to meet the needs and preferences of the Indian consumer.

F2F: In what ways does the brand prioritise comfort and functionality in its designs?

AG:

Dash and Dot, which was founded amidst the pandemic, aims at creating functional and sustainable clothing while also prioritising design.

F2F: Are there any innovative features or design elements in Dash and Dot’s clothing that enhance its functionality or versatility?

AG:

We work a lot with fabrics that are easy to maintain and are wash- and wear-friendly. With functionality being a priority for the brand, a lot of research goes into the development of fabrics we use every season. We also understand that there has been a post-post-pandemic shift in the way people see clothing. Each piece has to be unique and well-designed. Not just evening wear, but everyday wear also needs to have an elevated strong aesthetic. The Indian consumer is now more exposed and rightfully so, more demanding. As such, every garment must stand out on its own and offer something compelling for a customer to invest in.

F2F: What are your predictions for 2023/2024 fashion trends? Can you mention some of them?

AG:

We see the return of bright colours, metallics, and bold prints. After a period of relatively austere and oversized dressing post-pandemic, we now see people wanting to celebrate each day of their lives and using their clothing choices as an opportunity to do so.

F2F: What are the future goals and aspirations for your brand? Do you have any plans to expand its product range or explore new markets?

AG:

Dash and Dot drops an edit or collection with each season, so there are some new developments happening around-the-clock. We have recently launched The Seema Gujral for Dash and Dot’s collection, which is a limited-time edition, and are always looking to expand and explore such collaborations. We are also setting up our brick-and-mortar stores to reach a new customer base that isn’t online-savvy yet. We’re additionally looking at adding new categories including but not limited to accessories, footwear, and innerwear.

What are the future goals and aspirations for your brand? Do you have any plans to expand its product range or explore new markets?

Interviewer: Kiran Sahija
Published on: 28/06/2023
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