No more shades of brown and black for men: Harkirat Singh

20 Nov,2013

As a broad consumer segment, women have absolutely needed the market attention they’ve received over the years. It’s only since the women’s market emerged as a priority, brands awakened to the need to deliver vastly improved customer experiences, as expected by the consumers. Many brands now have much better foundation to service woman customers. Such strong foundation can be employed to reach men more effectively as well, feels Harkirat Singh, Managing Director, of premium lifestyle brand, WOODS. In an interview with MxMIndia, Mr Singh talks about how men’s fashion sense is changing and what’s fuelling that. Excerpts:


While we talk about the evolution of women a lot, have men too evolved in the last decade in the sense how they shop?

Men are no longer so quick to leave purchasing decisions and shopping to women. They are becoming more informed about lifestyle and fashion categories, which is likely only the start. The more men see other men caring more about such things, the more acceptable it becomes for other men to follow suit. This cultural acceptability gives male consumers a whole new level of freedom, which leads to a significant opportunity for marketers.


How has men’s fashion sense evolved over the years, and how is WOODS looking at catering to this change?

Men today are more concerned about their looks than women in certain situations. This is quite evident from the fact that men are now looking at personal grooming seriously; being looked up for their fashion sense.


Menswear has seen a fashion makeover from the earlier times. Today, menswear is more about sophistication and style. With both these becoming an integral part of men’s clothing range, style quotient only tends to rise. Men’s fashion is no longer considered to be stagnant.


WOODS meets the end by offering the men fraternity with footwear, apparels and accessories that fall under genres like fashion-wear, club-wear, formal wear, et al. Through our wide range of products we quench their thirst for fashion and style.


While WOODS has products for women too, how do you feel marketing is different to both the sexes? Which colours are picked up more by men? How much time they take to select a colour or style as compared to a woman?

It is no more shades of brown and black. Men have shifted focus from those mundane hues. With the fashion industry at its peak, customers get to witness more styles and trends in and around them. Media acts as a major propagator in this segment; this in a large scale has transformed the preferences of men. Men now have preference for apparels and footwear in shades of green, blue, maroon, grey et al.


Is the Point-of-Purchase designed keeping the male in mind. How would it be different from a target audience of females?

Every individual has a different taste and appeal; gender segregation is certainly a different platform of differentiation. Point-of-purchase too needs to be designed keeping in mind, the likes – dislikes – preferences of the target audiences. While men primarily look for sophistication, women go for colourful, stylish styles and thus, the designs being implemented at the selling point. WOODS is in the process of getting its own chain of stand-alone stores, targeting at least 30-store network by this year-end and you’ll see implementation of the thought once we unveil the new VM layouts being worked by the team.


Is there any difference in the shopping behaviour of a small town man and a metro man?

There is not much difference in the shopping behaviour of a small town man and a metro, because both of them are well informed of the emerging fashion trends. Moreover, most of the male population from the small town mobilizes to the cities for various purposes like education, business and employment. This helps them in keeping them updated with the current trend in the fashion industry; there is no specific difference in the shopping pattern as both of them are well informed about the trend.


Is there any difference geographically in India?

There is not much difference geographically; men are men when it comes to shopping, irrespective of the region they belong to. They always relate to durability of a product than the design factor.


Is the Indian male getting experimental and to what extent and how are you catering to that?

Men customers are experimental; they do make their choice out of their preferences and they will not buy the products to satisfy the marketer. Nowadays, customers – both men and woman do their market research before buying any product. They equip themselves with the market knowledge like price, quality, durability & style. It takes immense hard-work to meet these expectations of the clients. We at Aero Club have always adhered to this; there is an independent in-house research team in place to study the market and the customer demand and we cater to them as per the regular reports / feedback that come to us.


Our market research helps us to customize our products as per the customers need. The designs of our products are inspired from countries like Milan and Paris that are considered to be the fashion hubs; in fact they are a step ahead in keeping up the trend in line with the international designers.


What do you credit this evolution – in the man?

It’s more because of a well-informed customer with access to information on styles across the Globe that has led to this evolution. And for marketers, keeping pace with this evolution is more of a necessity than a choice since any brand / marketer needs to adapt to the market changes / evolution to satisfy the customer demands.


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