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Design on her mind

Designer Payal Singhal, who has launched her e-commerce shopping portal, www.payalsinghal.com, talks about exclusivity, easy reach and the significance of a ‘global outfit’

Designer Payal Singhal is best known for blending contemporary with the traditional. She recently launched her e-commerce portal to be able to interact with her clientele scattered all over the world.

Actor Maria Goretti in a Payal Singhal outfit
Actor Maria Goretti in a Payal Singhal outfit

The celebrities who have flaunted her designs include Sonam Kapoor, Neha Dhupia, Padma Lakshmi and Sonakshi Sinha, and each ensemble has a different story to tell.

Excerpts from the interview:

Q. What prompted you to launch your e-commerce shopping portal?
A. My team and I have been selling my collection online since 10 years. However, because of the lack of payment gateways, we stuck to the traditional, cumbersome path of e-mail conversations with clients and gave them account details for payment. Once the business grew and we established ourselves in the market, we decided that it was time to make the collection more reachable for our clients all over the world.

Payal Singhal
Payal Singhal

Q. What does your website offer? How does it enhance the client’s experience as compared to shopping at your store?
A. The advantage of having a website, as compared to a store, is wider reach, naturally. Clients who don’t live in metropolitan cities, too, can now access the collection. When we were in the programming stage of the portal, I was clear that the site should be very easy to navigate and should have elements that make it convenient for the client to go through the styling procedure.

For instance, when we ask the client for their measurement, we do not expect them to know accurate details. Therefore, the clients can let us know their jeans, T-shirt, undergarment size or US/UK size they wear and we can follow our standard measurement guidelines and go about making the outfit.

The clients also have an option of sending their pictures for us to be able to visualise the attire better. Our aim is to create a personalised and intimate experience for the client even when they are sitting far away from us.

Q. Recently Manish Malhotra also launched his website. Do you think that with more designers experimenting with the e-commerce space, the exclusivity of the brand is hampered?
A. I think when we talk about losing the exclusivity, it completely depends on the designer and the products he/ she displays on the website. The section of people who shop in the range of Rfive-10 lakh is the category that is concerned about exclusivity.

In my opinion, they aren’t online shoppers. With a budget like that they can go anywhere in the world and shop. For the other bracket, I think it’s a win-win situation since they get to buy the garment when they want it and how they want it. Our clients often complain that the stock runs out too soon after the launch.

By making it available online we not only get more orders but also the customer gets timely access to clothes at an affordable price since we produce more. With the changing times, I do not think that people want to spend a lot on clothes, rather they like more options.

Q. We saw Vishakha Singh at Cannes wearing your outfit. Your style is essentially Indian with a western twist. What measures do you take to maintain a balance between Indian and western?
A. I started my brand with the idea of designing Indian clothes for a jeans and a T-shirt generation. I personally couldn’t wear a saree so I thought of ways to make it more comfortable. When I can break down the components of an Indian outfit into western ones, I know I have made a global outfit and hence maintained the balance. For example, Vishakha at Cannes wore a lehenga-choli but if you break it down, it could also be looked at as a crop top, with a long trail and a high-waist skirt. So when I can translate a traditional Indian outfit into a western silhouette, it is a global outfit.

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