Strand of Silk is an Indian clothing brand founded by Vivek Agarwal. Based in London and Mumbai, it sells high-quality clothes crafted by some of the best fashion designers in India, and operates exclusively through its website – Strandofsilk.com. This is an incredible example of how an online brand can become successful during the era of fashion 2.0.
The BS4Fashion team was able to reach Clarissa De Angelis – a former Bocconi student currently working for the brand – and ask her some questions.
Good Morning Clarissa! Can you tell us where the idea of the brand comes from?
The founder, Vivek Agarwal, had been living in the UK for a few years when he realised that many Indian people living abroad didn’t have the possibility to purchase the latest pieces created by the stylists in their home country – both because of the high prices and the impossibility to find collections of the current year. So Strand of Silk is born from the desire to meet this need, providing the latest collections of Asian stylists, both to an Indian and international audience.
The brand focuses on the Indian tradition, reinterpreting it in a modern way. What are the main values that inspire you?
We believe in tradition, but also in the beauty of new discoveries and innovation. Our mission is to show the World the innovative style of many Asian designers, without forgetting the culture and the experience that for ages has been the basis of Indian clothing. The fashion industry is changing faster and faster, so we want to give our contribution by supporting those visionnaire artisans and innovative stylists.
Why did you choose to sell exclusively online? And, given that you are trying to build a luxury position, what are the main difficulties related to this choice?
Well, the main reason behind this choice is our customers. Not all of them live in big cities, so a little number of people is actually willing to travel to purchase clothes they couldn’t find elsewhere. Since our target is very international, we try to satisfy their need of having what they desire right in their home. The main difficulty we face, is mainly related to the poor knowledge about Asian stylists. It is much easier for established brands to sell their clothes online, because of their strength. Instead Asian stylists have recently started to gain success in Western countries. Another difficulty is obviously related to the mistrust of customers while purchasing products online, especially when they are this expensive.
What is the profile of your customers?
Our customer base is mainly represented by Indian people living in foreign countries, but also international customers who follow the latest trends. They are curious people, with a strong interest for the quality of the products and details, but who don’t have the possibility to access a physical store.
What are the main factors that make Strand of Silk different from its competitors?
Firstly, we are really focused on our customers – we try to satisfy all their needs thanks to our customer care service. Secondly, we try to find a connecting point between the Eastern and the Western culture, so that Indian textile traditions can finally be valued more in foreign countries. We also offer a “Made to Measure” service: our customers have the possibility to personalise their clothes, adapting them to their bodies and their tastes. Finally, we are obsessed with the quality of the materials. All of them are selected by our office in Mumbai, with respect to a severe criteria.
Obviously quality is essential when you want to achieve a luxury position. But how is it possible to communicate it through an online channel?
I have to admit that it’s not easy. The most effective way to do it is through testimonials: Strand of Silk often dresses the celebrities of Bolliwood, who are the main opinion leaders and trendsetters for the Indian fashion addict. But we also try to communicate with images on our site, as well as with a section of the site called “The Journey Map”, which describes the region of provenience of a specific dress and the techniques used for its production. Furthermore, our network with famous stylists is also a strong signal of guarantee for the quality of our clothes.
Do you believe it is possible to achieve a strong positioning only through a digital presence?
Absolutely yes! Nowadays people do everything online: find doctors, purchase houses and even find dates. Why shouldn’t they trust us!? We have a clear mission, and our target’s needs are compatible with our strategy. It just requires more time to communicate with our clients, but this also depends on the fact that our customers are not concentrated in one geographical area. We just have to be faithful to ourselves, and people will understand us sooner or later!
What is the future goal that Strand of Silk wants to achieve?
We want to convey one simple message: Indian fashion doesn’t necessarily mean tradition, but it can also be associated with modernity and innovation. What we hope for the future is that any girl could dress in Indian clothes, wether she lives in Milan, Paris or London.
by Pierandrea Miglietta