Fashion Talk
Meenakshi Singh and Bhavisha Dave

Meenakshi Singh and Bhavisha Dave

Founders
Capsul

Streetwear is driven by economics of Veblen goods

Established in 2018 by Meenakshi Singh and Bhavisha Dave, Capsul is India’s first multi-brand streetwear store offering select range of products designed by culturally rich brands founded by thought leaders and storytellers. In a conversation with Shilpi Panjabi, Capsul Founders discuss streetwear in India and how it contributes to slow fashion.

Fibre2Fashion: How did you come up with the idea of Capsul?

Meenakshi Singh and Bhavisha Dave:

We both have worked in the sneaker industry in India as well as in the international markets. Sneakers and streetwear have been growth drivers for fashion business, especially since the middle of the last decade. Streetwear and sneakers work on the power of community and are leaders of the business of culture. And while working in international markets, we had a front row seat to this business of culture.
Streetwear for us is the intersection of culture, sports, music and fashion. Our past experience with PUMA, in India and outside, exposed us to amazing projects with streetwear brands and culture leaders. Simultaneously we saw interesting youth collectives making their presence felt in India. Sneaker culture was rising, Gen Z and young millennials were eager to get their hands on streetwear, hip hop was on the rise, and skateparks were being built. And there was a clear gap for streetwear in India. 
We saw an opportunity to introduce streetwear brands to the Indian audience because we realised that these brands have tribes here in India as well. And that’s how Capsul came about.

Fibre2Fashion: What makes Capsul unique?

Meenakshi Singh and Bhavisha Dave:

Capsul is India’s first and only international multi-brand streetwear store. Our curation and approach to business makes us unique. Our growth so far has been purely organic led by community first experiences we have been crafting since 2019. Our flagship store lends an additional level of uniqueness to us – we have a store in a 200-year-old heritage bungalow in the heart of Bengaluru at Hatworks Boulevard which has become the go to place for the Gen Z’s and younger millennials who value independent fashion coupled with a community first approach.

Fibre2Fashion: What is the psyche of millennials and Gen Z in India when it comes to fashion?

Meenakshi Singh and Bhavisha Dave:

Gen Z and younger millennials understand the value of streetwear and what these brands represent. Streetwear is the go-to for Gen Z and young millennials.
For them purchasing pieces is an investment in their wardrobe. They look at fashion as a way to express their personality and values, and not just as a vanity metric like earlier generations. Streetwear is considered the new luxury and we are seeing young people from a spectrum of professions embracing it.
So overall, limited pieces but conversation starters is the main driver when it comes to millennials and Gen Z.

Fibre2Fashion: What factors influence their purchase decisions?

Meenakshi Singh and Bhavisha Dave:

The stories and values that drive the brand, their personal connection with brands, how real/authentic the brands are and how much brands are willing to get into conversations with customers, are some of the factors we’ve seen that influence purchase decisions. The cultural clout of brands or the ‘hype’ around them also influences some.
From a multi-brand store perspective, a community first, inclusive approach influences their purchase decisions.

Fibre2Fashion: Which are your best performing brands and categories?

Meenakshi Singh and Bhavisha Dave:

Apparel led by T-shirts, shirts and hoodies are the best performers for us.
In terms of brands, we see different brands connecting with different consumer cohorts. Skaters and those who are inspired by the skate lifestyle love Thrasher. Fashion first consumers love Pleasures. Culture and storytelling first consumers prefer The Hundreds and Carhartt WIP. Gen Z loves Market and RIPNDIP – the list goes on. Essentially different consumers segments have different favourites.

Fibre2Fashion: Which are your major markets in India and abroad?

Meenakshi Singh and Bhavisha Dave:

The top three cities, i.e., Mumbai, Delhi, and Bengaluru, account for about 50 per cent of our revenue. The top 10 cities together fetch us about 75-80 per cent of the revenue with the balance coming from tier 2 and tier 3 cities and towns.

Fibre2Fashion: What are the challenges of being in a niche that depends on capsule collections?

Meenakshi Singh and Bhavisha Dave:

Our main problem is being sold out in a short time and we always wish we had more units to offer to the Indian market. But streetwear is driven by the economics of Veblen goods, and we understand that it will always be the case where demand outweighs supply.

Fibre2Fashion: How do you identify and ensure that a brand sold in your store is sustainable and promotes slow fashion?

Meenakshi Singh and Bhavisha Dave:

At its core streetwear has an angle of sustainability built into it as streetwear is timeless. Hence it will be cool, trendy even 20 years later. We encourage customers to shop less but shop well and wear and maintain their clothes well and not just purchase to chase the idea of acquiring every drop.

Fibre2Fashion: Does slow fashion have trends?

Meenakshi Singh and Bhavisha Dave:

Slow fashion by nature is trend agnostic. The idea is timeless fashion – pieces that are made in fair condition workshops with quality material, often using sustainability practices. Streetwear has an element of slow fashion built into its ethos as it is timeless in appeal. Products that are cool today will be cool even 10 years down the line. Streetwear is not about chasing trends but rather buying less, but buying well and buying from brands that the consumer connects with – for their values, designs or community.

Fibre2Fashion: What new categories do you plan to add? What new can be expected? Do you plan to have a physical store?

Meenakshi Singh and Bhavisha Dave:

We opened our physical store in November 2021 at Hatworks Boulevard in the heart of Bengaluru. We would like to open one in either Mumbai or Delhi next.

Fibre2Fashion: What has been your growth story for the last two years? What is the target for the next two?

Meenakshi Singh and Bhavisha Dave:

We have grown 10x, organically, in the past two years. Capsul is being seen by the early adopter consumer as an international level fashion concept store.
Over the next 2 years we hope to continue to grow 10x and bring to life our vision of being the streetwear lens to and through India – a globally recognised platform for streetwear, culture and community.

Published on: 30/06/2022
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