Fashion Talk
Akta Adani

Akta Adani

Founder
India Boulevard

India Boulevard is a San Francisco-based curated fashion marketplace that connects customers across the world with boutique designers providing customised Indian outfits. Founder Akta Adani talks in details about the concept of offering customised outfits and its market with Fibre2Fashion.

Fibre2fashion : What is the growth story of India Boulevard?

Akta Adani:

The story behind India Boulevard starts with my mother, who has been a boutique fashion designer for over 25 years. I was exposed to the fashion industry at a young age because my mother, Swati Adani, was a fashion designer and was constantly creating beautiful pieces that I admired so much. Although I studied business management in college, my love for fashion was always in my heart. 

The start of my dream didn't materialise until I was shopping for my wedding outfits. I knew I wanted high quality, glamorous pieces but I was on a tight budget. Going around shop after shop in Mumbai, I found myself making a trade-off between quality and price. All the showrooms I visited had the same issue: the quality of styles were limited and offered no custom designs within my budget. My quest for something more personal, made extremely well at a reasonable price led me to build India Boulevard.

Fibre2fashion : How has been your journey so far, from being a business management employee to owning India Boulevard now?

Akta Adani:

I was born and raised in a family of entrepreneurs; so, I believe it was only a matter of time that I took the plunge in starting my own venture. Having worked at Morgan Stanley and Bloomberg, I had learnt a lot about processes and inculcating discipline. Of course, starting my own with almost zero to minimal resources was difficult and there was a lot of anxiety. However, I also believe it brings out the best in you-to think creatively, and do more with less.  At the end of it all, you need to have passion, purpose and perseverance to succeed and build something greater than yourself.

Fibre2fashion : What led you think about an idea of offering customised Indian outfits?

Akta Adani:

The idea and mission of India Boulevard is to democratise fashion. We aim to achieve this by making handcrafted and unique products from designers around the world accessible and affordable to everyone everywhere.  I believe what you wear should be a reflection of who you are. Every person deserves a design with a soul, a story and a purpose. That is why we partner with indie designers to blend your style with their time-tested skills to develop an exclusive look just for you.  Our designers use only locally sourced materials that are handcrafted with love and care. By personally working with each of these talented designers we establish a strong relationship with them. From there, we sell directly to you online-there is no middleman. This is how we are able to offer made-to order products; no mass production or waste at affordable prices accessible to you from the comfort of your home.

Fibre2fashion : Please tell us something about your team. How many designers do you have?

Akta Adani:

We are a small and growing team of eight employees. We are headquartered in San Francisco and have a regional office in Mumbai as well. The team at India Boulevard is upbeat with the right colours of the seasons, with the prints that are trending and with fabrics that can accentuate a design. The whole team-including the designers, seamstresses, administrators, sales staff-is all involved in catering to the preferences of the customer as a priority.  This is what sets India Boulevard apart, because it is not just about bringing the best designs to you but it is about bringing the best design for you.

Fibre2fashion : How do you meet the challenge of stitching Indian wears or indutvas away from home?

Akta Adani:

By partnering with indie designers, we can offer made-to-order products, no mass production or waste at affordable prices. Coupled with our proprietary custom-fit model we are able to ensure that every person gets a well-fitted outfit accessible to you from the comfort of your home in just a few weeks.

Fibre2fashion : Which markets give you the best response?

Akta Adani:

We have a growing market and have been global-first since the start. We are increasingly getting a strong audience within the United States followed by other regions like Canada, Australia and some pockets of Europe.

Fibre2fashion : What is it that the Indian Diaspora looks for?

Akta Adani:

Our primary consumer is a professional woman-the go-getter who has better things to do than going from store to store looking for an outfit. My customers, for the most part, actually don't go into physical retail stores. And they don't want to. They work, they don't have time. And the precious time they do have, they want to spend it in other ways. What consumers actually care about is wearing clothes that help them embrace their personality. We are debunking the myth that you have to wear what is on trend. We have styles that have been around for six months and continue to be our bestsellers. That's because it is made and inspired by consumers.

Fibre2fashion : Can you brief us about the collection you offer?

Akta Adani:

Our collection is completely driven by market trends and our designers. From pastels to bright colours, from brocades to chikankari we like to offer a wide variety to our consumers that allows them to truly embrace their culture and at the same experiment with different designs.

Fibre2fashion : Which seasons demand the most for Indian wears?

Akta Adani:

For us, we have experienced increased demand on a consistent basis. Of course, spring, summer and fall tend to be the busiest seasons for us; especially since most weddings and festivals take place in spring and summer. Diwali tends to be really busy as well so it's pretty much all year round! 

Fibre2fashion : What is the demand most for?

Akta Adani:

Our primary target consumer is women and therefore, our biggest demand is for womenswear. In the next few months, we are going to launching an entire 'shop the look' experience for women and then eventually offer products for men and children as well.

Fibre2fashion : Which prints, colours and fabrics are trending this wedding season?

Akta Adani:

For colours, the emerald green and burgundy have been the top picks this season more so than the usual reds and pinks. Increasingly a lot of consumers want to try different colours but want to see how to style them for specific events. This wedding season the most trending fabric has been the brocade fabric. Brocade is rich decorative handwoven fabric, often made in coloured silks. It allows the outfit to be light with the appearance of embroidery. A fun fact: brocade is very popular in Guatemala.

Fibre2fashion : What is the demand for designs based on Hindi or Hollywood films?

Akta Adani:

Most consumers love the designs on Bollywood actresses with the hot favourite being Alia Bhatt. With social media, access to Indian trends has transformed the way consumers have access to new styles and trends.

Fibre2fashion : What are the price points at which you retail?

Akta Adani:

We work at varied price points that suit a consumer and that stays true to the heart of our mission. We aim to make designerwear affordable and accessible for everyone. Every consumer gets paired with a stylist who will work with you to design a look that meets their price point.

Fibre2fashion : What are the core service areas that you cater to, and are there any future plans for those?

Akta Adani:

Currently, our core focus is to serve the professional woman who does not have the time to go from door to door looking for a single dress. We want to make shopping a seamless and stress-free experience for all women across all sizes. Eventually we will expand not just across other verticals-menswear, kidswear and home décor, but across different cultures as well.

Fibre2fashion : Where do you see India Boulevard in five years?

Akta Adani:

In five years, India Boulevard will be the destination for handcrafted, high quality and unique products from different cultures around the world. We want to build a platform where people and communities create goods that are inspired by design for each other.(PA)

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