Italian names, foreign models, and international image, that is how Indian brands like to be identified as. The companies know our obsession with foreign products and white skin, hence leave no stone unturned in projecting their brand as ‘non-Indian’.
It’s not their fault either. We say that it’s almost 70 years since the British left India, and we are done with our obsession with fair skin. But is it actually the case?
Why do you think Indian apparel brands like Peter England and American Swan only use foreign models for their products? Even shopping websites like Myntra, Flipkart and Jabong display pictures of foreign models to give the product and the brand a ‘non-Indian’ image.
Fashion brands try to leverage the basic idea rooted in our minds – Indian products, at least in terms of clothing, is poor in quality and cheap when compared to foreign brands.
I don’t have a problem with brands using this as a marketing strategy. After all it’s up to them, how they want to project themselves. All I am saying is wouldn’t it have been better if they can promote what they really are instead of pretending otherwise.
It’s not only clothing brands which does this. Other famous companies like Da Milano, La Opala, Franco Leone, are all Indian brands presented in foreign packing. Even the ones like Monte Carlo, Allen Solly, Van Heusen, which you always thought were International are actually Indian brands.
Da Milano goes on the extent of writing ‘Italia’ under its name to ensure that people presume to be an Italian company. Perhaps this is the reason behind it establishing a name among the likes of other top luxury handbag brands.
The stigma attached to Indian products and the illusion created by these brands is why we feel that India lacks big time when it comes to this section.
There are only few fashion brands like Fabindia (in spite of it being started by an American in India) and Hidesign which proudly display their Indianism. Hidesign doesn’t just say ‘Made in India’, it also says made in Pondicherry, which is a great way to acknowledge your roots. And the government of India also uses it as a gift to foreign dignitaries. They did it in the recently concluded India – Africa Summit, and previously they did it in BARC and G20 conference.
Only when top Indian brands will show themselves as Indian brands, we can expect the mind set to change.
Why are China and Japan such proud nations? It’s because they take pride in what they create and do not rely on a fake image to sell their products. And that is how the whole world will see your nation.
If we only are ashamed of being an Indian at the topmost levels, we cannot expect others to look at us with pride and respect.
Since we are on the subject of clothing, India has a very rich history when it comes to manufacturing it. Cotton has been spun, woven and even dyed in India since prehistoric times. So saying that clothing and apparel only existed in France and Italy in the early years is also false. France managed to capitalize it, and maybe we joined the party a little late but that does not make us incompetent in any manner.
Seeing the current trend, it looks like there is a long way to go before we are ready to shed that ‘non Indian’ tag and start looking for what the Indian inside every brand.