‘Fashion is a mood lifter’: Arrow CEO Shailesh Chaturvedi expects COVID-hit apparel industry to return to normal by Summer 2021
New Delhi | Abhinav Gupta: Shailesh Chaturvedi is a name to reckon with in India’s fashion industry and a pioneer in the development of premium international brands in the country.
As managing director and CEO of Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein and Arrow, Mr Shailesh has been a pivotal part of the industry for the last 25 years during which he launched and developed some of the biggest fashion brands in India.
Recently, Arrow, the American menswear label from Arvind Fashions Ltd, announced the appointment of actor Hrithik Roshan as its brand ambassador. Taking to the occasion, Mr Shailesh, in an exclusive interview with English Jagran’s senior journalist Abhinav Gupta, spoke about Arrow’s new campaign, how the apparel industry is recovering the COVID impact and how the consumer sentiment has changed in post-pandemic times.
Here are the excerpts from the interview:
Q. Arrow has roped in Hrithik Roshan as its brand ambassador for the campaign ‘On Top of the World’. Please shed some light on this new project.
A. As we evolve brand Arrow with its modern approach and lots of glamour, we also decided to work with a top celebrity with a very cool fashion appeal. Our new campaign showcases the modern Arrow man of today, Hrithik Roshan, epitomising a feeling of being ‘On Top of the World’ – that we feel will resonate very well with today’s millennial consumers, while reinforcing Arrow’s heritage and authority since 1851.
In the campaign, Hrithik is standing on top of a tall New York sky scraper on a beam. Our Arrow logo, the ‘A’ vector, is seen alongside him in a very unique and memorable image showcasing the inspiration of feeling On Top of the World.
Our ad campaign also includes brand videos of Hrithik expressing emotions about the brand Arrow, New York City and the art of interesting self-expression with what we wear. Therefore, we believe that our consumer will also feel on top of the world with Arrow, with the unique premium elegance crafted in each of our garments.
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Q. Has the company’s plan of expansion been put on hold amid the pandemic?
A. On the contrary, based on feedback received from our consumers, we see higher growth opportunities in near times in big metro cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta, Chennai, Bangalore, Pune, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Chandigarh and Lucknow. We are opening a large number of new stores in these big cities and have recently launched 25 new stores of Arrow that reflect the updated New York spirit with a distinct art deco look.
Q. Post-COVID, what are the changes in the consumer sentiment? How are you coping with these changing trends?
A. Post the complete lockdown in April and May this year, we saw a cautious start to business in malls, high-street stores as well as online. The weekend of Eid and Rakhi in early July was the first weekend where we saw the energy return to retail. We then noticed that the business in the second half of July was double that of the first half. This build-up of business continued with good business around 15th August.
From 1st September, most shops have opened and business has already crossed 60% level of last year. Like Eid and Rakhi, we are hoping that people will also shop for the upcoming Diwali festival and that people will move to the next phase towards normalcy. We expect good winter wear business after Diwali as well.
Fashion is a mood lifter that makes people feel good. Our efforts should lead to more consumers feeling on top of the world, a feeling much required during these times. We believe business would become normal by the Spring-Summer 2021 season.
Q. Arrow is famous for its range of formal wear. Has the brand been hit with most of companies opting the work from home policy in wake of the pandemic?
A. Even pre-Covid, there has been a trend of more relaxed and comfortable work wear where consumers expect cool and interesting details in their work wear. With the work-from-home emphasis during Covid times, the need for comfort has gone up further as people are working on video calls wearing yoga pants, elegant t-shirts and relaxed footwear from the comfort of their homes.
Arrow has three distinct collections to meet different usage occasions and consumer profiles which it has been evolving and tweaking to be in tune with changing consumer space. We continue to focus on t-shirts, relaxed trousers and comfortable footwear in our current lines while continuously improving on our formal line which is becoming less stiff and more interesting and relaxed in its unique details.
Q. What is your success mantra?
A. In these VUCA times, the balance between Manage and Solve should tilt towards Solve. Don’t delay what’s needed and face reality and as Jack Welch said, “Change before you have to”.
Posted By: Abhinav Gupta