By Cheranka Mendis
Sri Lanka’s very own high fashion brand name, Aviraté is getting ready to aggressively expand in the market backed by a steady yet extraordinary growth experienced within just one year since its launch.
The brand, which has significantly progressed up the market ladder with two stores already under its belt, hopes to open up its third store in the hill capital by the end of the year while establishing itself in India with its very own store in Bangalore by September.
Aviraté Chairman A.S. Ashraf yesterday stated that the company, riding high on its success, hoped to expand its presence in the local market and then into the regional market starting from India. The company, which launched an online store yesterday which offers its entire collection from all sizes for customers in Sri Lanka and India, will move ahead with more innovations and quality choices.
Claiming that the concept is to create and uphold international standards in all aspects of service, from the unique flagship store down Maitland Crescent to the online clothing store, the brand hopes to make all the right moves in establishing itself on the world map. The label was launched in June 2010. “It is a dream come true. A 100% Sri Lankan company, 100% local label and the first of its kind, Aviraté is a brand that is unmatched in today’s local market,” Ashraf said. “We didn’t dream of becoming what we are in such a short time span, but we are grateful for it.”
The brand, which is indicative of the sensuality of women and the name, derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Avirati’ meaning ‘sensuality,’ is designed by Times and Fergasm Group, which is among the top five apparel manufacturers of the country. “We believe that the name Aviraté has its own power and like magic people have gotten attracted to it.”
Ashraf asserted that the company wanted the brand to achieve the same status that Dilmah has achieved in the tea industry worldwide. “We want to take fashion into the world and show our own strengths. Sri Lanka caters to big brand names in the global market, but did not venture into making it on its own. It’s time someone took the step ahead and we are sure that now that we have taken the first step, many will follow suit,” he commented.
Its eyes are now on the ever-growing Indian market, where it will take its first step into the global apparel industry. “It’s a huge market, India,” Ashraf said, “things are changing very fast in this country and the demand for products of our calibre are increasing. After the IIFA we saw good demand from India and with more Indians looking for Westernised clothing, moving away from the usual traditional Indian attire, our products will be well accepted there.” With free trade agreements between the countries waiting to be exploited, shooting demand and international growth plans, this is the ideal time to penetrate the market, he said. “There are only a few shops that offer total Westernised clothing and those are luxury brands with extravagant pricing. As such we see no problem in Aviraté fitting in with the Indian crowd,” Ashraf said. Locally, Kandy will be the next stop – that too before the end of the year. “Within the next four to five years we hope to see seven to eight stores established in the country,” he noted. He also expressed the desire to tie up with more hotels to launch Aviraté in “small formats” targeting the customers. The brand’s second such store was opened at the Cinnamon Lakeside recently.CEO Asim Younoos speaking on the success of the brand stated that the company looks at the larger picture in moving forward and adapting to international standards. “We are on par with world standards when it comes to our store and products. With the new online store launched I am sure that this fact will only further strengthen.
The orders on the online store will come with free delivery islandwide and is also open to Indian customers.”
The brand is also offering a 10% discount to all online customers till the end of the month. He also commented that the fabric used for Aviraté clothing had become highly popular within the local community. The brand offers a size range between two to 18 and cuts a maximum of 18 to 20 pieces in the same design and pattern. “If we are making just one of each design, the price tag will be high due to the increase in cost of production. However we do have an exclusive evening gown range which offers unique pieces.” He predicted that dresses would be the trend for the next two to three years, creating comfort and elegance in ladies’ wardrobes.