What is your customer looking for?

October 21, 2016

“I think it will be futile to walk into a market and say – this is what we’re going to give you because this is what we know how to do. I think it’s more proper to walk into a market and ask – what can we make for you that you want?”

Speaking at the first segment of the inaugural edition of TrendSwim, India Untapped, Indian designer David Abraham was clear that a designer must first understand his or her potential market before attempting to create or launch a product.

Drawing on his own experiences as a designer in India – he is one half of the hugely successful and acclaimed label, Abraham & Thakore – David pointed out that the Indian consumer has a different relationship with their body than a Western consumer. This is also true for Sri Lanka, he said, as he spoke about the idea of modesty in more traditional societies like ours. Which means that even in the swimwear segment, this should be a critical factor to be taken into consideration.

David also spoke about the problem of sizing faced by many South Asian women, most of whom have asymmetrical body types and wear different sizes in tops and bottoms. “If a swimwear manufacturer doesn’t address that in a one-piece, they are going to be in trouble”.

Away from the design department, David identified pricing as yet another aspect the Indian consumer places a lot of importance on. While they may be willing to splurge on special occasions, Indian consumers are more likely to take to a reasonably priced product when it comes to an everyday garment like swimwear.

There is also opportunity for more than just swimwear – with more and more Indians choosing to live in apartments, and thereby sharing a swimming pool with their many neighbours, the demand for accessories such as cover-ups has increased.

“You’re not lying on a beach somewhere secluded by a lagoon. You’re in a public place, so you also have to address the question of cover-ups – I think it needs to come in as a package,” he emphasized.