Swarovski sees 80 percent growth in India

Tuesday, 22 July 2003, 07:00 Hrs
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MUMBAI: Crystal major Swarovski expects over 80 percent growth in India sales this year fuelled mainly by its popularity among the country's fledging fashion industry.

"Last year we grew by 83 percent and this year we expect around the same levels of growth," said Sanjay Sharma, country manager (crystal components business) for the Austria-headquartered Swarovski.

"This is mainly because we are just sweeping the fashion scene in the country," said the half Indian, half German Sharma.

Walking down the clothes stalls at the National Centre for Performing Arts, the venue for the fourth fashion week, Sharma showed off why over half of the 58 designers participating in the event were using Swarovski crystal in some of its over 200,000 forms.

Ironed in or stitched on, in tiny granules or large, chunky goblets, crystals were everywhere.

There were the religious and ethnic motifs on the shirts and blouses made by Manish Arora. "This is our new innovation," said Sharma, "crystal fabric, simply means that these tiny crystals can be ironed on to the fabric giving an even layer of shimmer and, which is most important, they take the colour of the fabric."

A shimmer that makes the garment surreally seductive, said couturier Puneet Nanda whose used Swarovski for his brand, Satya Paul. "Unlike any other embellishment like sequins, crystals bring out magic in garments, ricocheting light all over the place," said Nanda.

That's something fashion guru Tarun Tahiliani already knew when he made his jewelled T-shirts that became a rage around the world.

"Crystals gel really well with fabrics and bring out subtle, intricate details," said Tahiliani.

On belts and cummerbunds, tassels and tiaras, designers have used the crystals to reinvent their collections.

So popular have these components become that a few months ago, Swarovski released a special book dedicated to detailing how crystals could be used to enhance traditional Indian stitches, embroideries and embellishments.

"For centuries, Indians have used precious and semi-precious stones in their garments to highlight colour and accentuate glamour. We see the use of crystals just as an extension of that tradition," said Sharma.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Sharma said the company is looking at India as one of its main markets in the future. Through its brand ambassador, couturier J.J. Valaya, and its alliance with dozens of designers, Swarovski is planning a massive onslaught on the Indian market.

"We want to say that you can use our products on a 400 T-shirt and a 1.5 million bridal ensemble. What more do you want?" said Sharma.

Source: IANS
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