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Fashion Talk

Nancy Luharuwalla

Founder
label - De Belle

Our brand embodies a modern, sleek, and minimalist design approach

Having started out in 2014, label De Belle offers modern and minimalist designs with nature serving as a never-ending source of creative inspiration. Many of the brand’s offerings feature special embroidery techniques such as aari and zardosi, which lend them an air of grandeur. In a chat with Fibre2Fashion, Founder Nancy Luharuwalla talks about the marketing strategies that added to the brand’s success and advises aspiring fashion entrepreneurs about sustainability and inclusivity.

Fibre2Fashion: What inspired you to create the label De Belle?

Nancy Luharuwalla:

Label De Belle began in 2014 when I took a leap of faith, despite not having any formal education in fashion. The brand’s inception was fuelled by my unwavering passion for all things fashion-related and my innate love for dressing up. I yearned to create a brand that would embody unique styles and inspire confidence in those who wear our creations. With a strong determination and a creative vision, I embarked on this entrepreneurial journey to bring my fashion dreams to life and share them with the world.

 

F2F: How would you describe the overall design aesthetic of your brand? What design elements or themes do you often incorporate into your collections?

NL:

Our brand embodies a modern, sleek, and minimalist design approach. We are dedicated to crafting timeless and versatile designs while maintaining a sense of sophistication and uniqueness. Our focus lies in clean lines, subtle yet refined details, and the use of high-quality materials. We firmly believe in the power of simplicity and strive to create visually appealing and functional pieces. Our design philosophy revolves around striking a perfect balance between contemporary trends and timeless elegance, resulting in a distinctive aesthetic that sets us apart in the industry.

F2F: What are some sources of inspiration for the prints and designs used in your collections?

NL:

Nature serves as a profound inspiration for our creative process, drawing from the graceful flight of birds, the majestic presence of animals, the grandeur of trees, and the delicate beauty of flowers. Nature holds a special place in my heart, and it serves as an endless source of creative ideas for me. Integrating these elements into my work adds a touch of organic beauty, creating a sense of harmony and serenity. It is my heartfelt tribute to the awe-inspiring wonders of the natural world, as I strive to capture its essence and infuse it into my designs.

F2F: Are there any particular embroidery designs or techniques that hold a special place in the brand’s history? What makes them significant to you?

NL:

In our brand’s history, certain embroidery designs and techniques hold a special place due to their exceptional significance. Aari and zardosi techniques, in particular, have played a pivotal role in establishing our reputation for exquisite craftsmanship in hand embroidery. The use of these intricate methods showcases the remarkable skills and dedication of our talented artisans. Aari embroidery, known for its fine chain stitches, adds a delicate and detailed touch to our designs, while zardosi, with its metallic threadwork, exudes opulence and grandeur. These techniques not only elevate our creations but also reflect our deep appreciation and support for the traditional artistry and heritage of hand embroidery.

F2F: How did you go about conducting research and development to bring your vision to life? What were some key challenges you faced during this process, and how did you overcome them?

NL:

Not possessing technical knowledge posed a challenge in my journey. However, through dedicated and tireless collaboration with my team, we were able to bring our dream to fruition. Coming from a city known for its synthetic fabrics and copied designs, it was difficult for us to approach customers as a luxury designer wear brand. Despite these difficulties, our perseverance prevailed, and we managed not only to survive but also to transform the mindset of the people around us. By staying committed to our vision and continually pushing boundaries, we were able to overcome these challenges and pave the way for success.

F2F: Tell us about the strategies you employed to establish a strong market presence, especially through your online platforms and collaborations with influencers and like-minded brands.

NL:

To establish a strong market presence, we adopted a multifaceted approach, giving special attention to online platforms and influencer collaborations. Our social media strategy was paramount, as we actively engaged with our audience through platforms. Consistently posting engaging content, such as product showcases, behind-the-scenes insights, and style inspiration, fostered a sense of authenticity and community around our brand. Collaborating with influencers whose values and style aligned with ours allowed us to tap into their audience, amplifying our brand’s visibility and generating excitement about our offerings. By combining these strategies, we successfully connected with our target market, strengthened brand awareness, and witnessed notable growth in sales.

F2F: Could you share some examples of how your brand actively celebrates diversity in your endeavours, ensuring that individuals of all backgrounds are represented and celebrated?

NL:

At De Belle, we actively celebrate diversity through our brand’s initiatives and partnerships. As a women-run organisation, we are dedicated to empowering women, with all our management positions held by talented women. We proudly collaborate with female-led businesses, fostering a sense of unity and support. In our endeavours, we prioritise representation and ensure individuals from various industries are prominently featured. Whether it’s through creative projects, collaborations, or events, we strive to highlight the richness of diversity and embrace the uniqueness of each individual. Our designs are thoughtfully curated to complement and express the essence of every person, embracing the beauty of diversity in all its forms.

F2F: How do you analyse and keep track of your competitors in the ethnic wear segment? What strategies do you employ to stay ahead of the competition?

NL:

We embrace the excitement of competition by actively analysing and tracking our peers in the market. Through dedicated research, we gain valuable insights into their product offerings, pricing strategies, and customer engagement. We celebrate the diversity of the industry and leverage social media monitoring to identify inspiring trends. Engaging in industry events and collaborations helps with continuous growth. At De Belle, our strategies for staying ahead of the competition revolve around a commitment to luxury and quality. We source high-quality fabrics and materials, meticulously crafted by skilled artisans. Despite our dedication to excellence, we prioritise fair pricing to avoid exploiting our customers. Our constant focus on versatility ensures a continuous stream of new, innovative designs for our customers to choose from. Building strong customer relationships and maintaining a high retention rate are paramount, as we aim to provide exceptional experiences and products that exceed expectations. Embracing these principles, we confidently lead the Indian ethnic fashion segment.

F2F: Could you share a glimpse of your future plans for design, prints, and embroideries? What can customers look forward to in your upcoming collections?

NL:

For our latest collection, we ventured into experimenting with tissue fabric. The collection embodies the essence of blending traditional elements with contemporary aesthetics. By using tissue fabric, we aimed to bring a delicate and ethereal touch to the garments. The fabric’s lightweight and translucent nature allowed us to play with layering and draping techniques, enhancing the fluidity of the designs. We carefully selected ancient silhouettes from various cultures and reimagined them with modern twists, giving them a fresh and contemporary appeal. We strived to preserve the timeless elegance of these historical silhouettes while infusing them with modern cuts, creating a collection that is both visually captivating and culturally significant. We also have strong inspiration from nature, and you can see prominent elements throughout the designs.

F2F: With your brand’s unique position in the market, what are your plans for the future? How do you envision your brand continuing to shape the fashion industry and inspire positive change?

NL:

We are exhilarated about the unique position we hold in the market. Looking ahead, our plans are ambitious and purpose-driven, aiming to shape the fashion industry and foster positive change. Our brand’s versatility of designs will continue to delight our customers with an ever-expanding range of products. Upholding our reputation for outstanding customer relations and high retention rates, we will nurture stronger connections with our patrons. To extend our reach and impact, we envision expanding our physical presence throughout India while enhancing our digital footprint, forging an inspiring and inclusive fashion journey for all.

F2F: Suggest five fashion trends to follow for the year 2023-2024.

NL:

Fashion trends for 2023 and 2024 will prioritise easy-to-wear and fuss-free styles, combining comfort and versatility in chic ensembles. The rise of 3D embroidery will bring depth and texture to garments, adding intricate details that catch the eye. Sheer and glitter clothing will make a bold statement, with delicate fabrics and shimmering elements adding allure and glamour. Alongside this, structured garments will dominate the scene, showcasing sharp lines and architectural silhouettes for a powerful and confident look. These trends offer a wearable luxury, embracing individuality and creativity in fashion choices for the upcoming years.

Suggest five fashion trends to follow for the year 2023-2024.

Interviewer: Kiran Sahija
Published on: 24/08/2023
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