New Delhi, June 27 In the COVID-19 world digital platforms are the new normal for businesses across the board. While designer Payal Singhal was one of the first to launch her e-commerce site in 2013, however in the wake of the scenario, the designer recently launched a new improved online exclusive store which pivots itself to offer an immersive, omni device experience across android and ios smartphones, tablets and laptops alike. This allows shoppers to browse and shop with ease from the comfort of their home/office.
The label announced deliveries to a larger network of pin codes across the length and breadth of the country and internationally, making their collections of made-to-measure bridal couture, occasion wear, pret-a-porter(#PSPret), menswear (#PSMen), kidswear(#PSKids) and accessories, available to shoppers almost anywhere in the world. IANSlife spoke to designer to find out the trial and tribulations of being in the fashion industry in the new order of things.
The fashion industry is one of the worst hit in the world due to the pandemic, according to you what are the most pressing issues that have resulted from it?
Singhal: With stores closed all over the world and restrictions on travel and social gatherings the fashion industry has almost come to a standstill. The most pressing concern is that a lot of businesses will not survive this and lots of people will lose their jobs leading to a dip in the overall market world over.
Despite Unlock Phase 1, numbers are rising exponentially, and psychologically people fear stepping out, what do you predict for the year ahead?
Singhal: Fashion is definitely going to be on the back burner. Only people who have a need or a reason to shop will be doing so.
You recently launched your e-commerce site, do you think online is essential for retail
Singhal: Absolutely with the changing formats of shopping, E-commerce is going to be absolutely essential for retail.
You’ve been in the business so long, e-commerce has been popular for decades, why didn’t you have a site up and running till today?
Singhal: We have had a working website for over 10 years now. Apart from the Indian market, we even have a huge international customer base and the website has been helping us serve our NRI clients over the years. Going forward, the e-commerce site is going to be extremely important for business and so we utilized this time to enhance our existing website and worked on providing a better user experience to our customers. We are working on adding new styles on the website and keeping it updated each day.
Heavy rentals, overheads and running costs with no waivers for months of lockdown have added to the burden for brands like yours?
Singhal: It started with a complete shutdown of sales during the lockdown. Even though the restrictions are being lifted gradually, it is going to take a while for the sales to go back to normal. Operational Costs remain constant and sales have gone down by 60 to 80 percent so building back the business is going to be a massive challenge.
You launched a collection of masks, do you think that masks will be its very own segment in the future, like we have lingerie, swimwear etc?
Singhal: Masks are going to be an important part of our wardrobe. It is mandatory to wear a mask while stepping out also. People are looking for masks to express themselves and maybe lift their mood a bit to combat the sad reality of wearing the mask. So yes Masks are here to stay for a while atleast.
Bridal trends in the COVID-19 era for the slim but luxurious indian wedding?
Singhal: With restrictions on social gathering, the guest lists for weddings have been drastically cut short for a foreseeable future Brides are looking for lighter Bridal outfits. However intimate the wedding ceremonies, the bride still wants to look her best but with growing consciousness brides now want outfits they wear as separates and wear for more occasions than one.
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