The Indian obsession with anything even remotely non- desi isn’t anymore a phenomenon obscured. Be it imbibing the mannerisms of the West or taking pride in the modern aspect of their existence, for Indians going firangi is the way to go big. Unsurprisingly therefore, there are numerous Indian fashion brands that cash in on this collective consciousness and christen themselves such that they appeal more to the common folks yearning for even a slightly unIndianised avatar. Here’s 32 such desi brands with names so firang that you won’t believe have been having you in its enticing foreign seeming fold since long-
There’s a certain class about Park Avenue- both in its name and in its premium offerings. But in all of its avenues, we cannot comprehend this really luxurious fashion brand as quintessentially Indian. It indeed is though and under the Raymond Group of companies this chic label doles out fashion essentials and accessories that comes with a world class appeal.
Harnessing the design language of the style capital that Italy is, Caprese is among the Indian fashion brands that dwell on not just its name but also its products to deliver the true touch of international glam. With its range of mind boggling bags that count on the confident aesthetics and sleek cuts, Caprese owned by VIP Industries has Bollywood beauty Alia Bhatt endorsing its classy collection.
Among the key players of the Indian fashion brands in the denim segment of the country’s style consciousness is Spykar, which again is the make in India type even when it sounds nothing like it. Since 1992 Spykar has been doing denims the Indian way and how!
We all rave about Monte Carlo’s instantly recognizable sweaters and woolens but what revs up the brand’s chic collection of apparels and the like is its Indian lineage. Owned by the Oswal Woolen Mills Limited, a name that is iconic when it comes to woolens in the country, Monte Carlo also bears much of this legacy albeit in a very Italian sounding manner.
Despite the name, Westside is as eastern in its orientation as the others in this list. Owned by Trent under the retail wing of the Tata Group, Westside has since 1998 been redefining the fashion segment in the country with its pan India presence.
This is one brand name that never did strike me like it could ever be Indian. But it’s to the credit of the Aditya Birla Group that they managed to come up with such a world class name to market their world class products. Everything else about the brand- apparels and accessories– is desi to the core.
Exquisite leather shows, handcrafted elegance and oomph exuding beauties, HiDesign is a brand that does luxe even in its ordinary offerings. With its products that cater to the international taste, it is easy to think of the brand as one evolving from the designer archives. But for all its charm and glamour, HiDesign is an Indian brand evolving from (perhaps the French influence in) the lanes of Pondicherry.
Okay, the name does have Indian in it. But for most of our fantasies with untreaded terrains, we tend to assume Indian Terrain cannot really be Indian in the heart and soul of it. But as it turns out, this is among the Indian fashion brands that’s a case of the desi gone bidesi!
Gini & Jony
This is a name that brings to mind images of smartly dressed little guys and pretty little girls sashaying it with an elan unimaginable to us. Yet in its very urbane Gini and definitely English Jony there lies the essential Indianness- it is a kid’s brand that is exclusively Indian and has been promoted by the Lakhani Brothers since 1980. Even in their products, the brand effectively moulds western styles and Indian elements to look as firangi as it sounds!
Knotty Derby and Arden Shoes
Knotty Derby and Arden might produce the best leather goods in India but you would not really be keen to associate such a firangi name to anything even remotely desi. Yet it has been very much Indian ever since its origin in 1978 under entrepreneur Dilip Kumar even when it exudes Italian craftsmanship and class in its every footnote.
With its very US sounding name, it’s no wonder Van Heusen is a brand that is very dominant in the American fashion scene. In fact it is the best selling shirt brand in the world and is owned by the Aditya Birla Group. Van Heusen though started off as a very US brand by Philips which later came to be acquired by our very own Aditya Birla.
A lifestyle apparel brand established in 1981 under Kewal Kiran Clothing Limited, Killer is a name that resonates with all Indian connoisseurs of denim. It isn’t just the name though that banks on its international appeal, the brand also makes international headlines with its profits, that goes beyond the combined share of Levi’s Benetton and Tommy Hilfiger! Killer also has its own collection of Water Saver Jeans to make desi enthusiasts go even prouder!
India’s first ever home bred jeans brand Flying Machine has a cult following in the country. But with a name that does not essentially sound desi, this among the Indian fashion brands owned by Arvind mills’ garments is another case of the firang influence.
An undertaking of the Raymond Group, Parx is a casual lifestyle brand that is aimed at upping the fashion quotient of the youth in the country. And yet with its funky name, Parx would not instantly strike you as definitively Indian unless you spot the Raymond connection it bears.
Belmonte does casual as well as formal wear with style and ease which makes it a hot favorite among the Indian customers seeking luxe in everyday fashion. Owned by SKNL, Belmonte makes heads turn with its finesse as well as with its foreign name. FYI, Belmonte is actually a city in Portugal. Indian fashion brand? Yeah. Indian name? Nah!
Da Milano has Italian written all over it- in its name as well as its underscore Italia. But that’s just about the only Italian element running through this very Indian brand. An exclusive online shopping store of luxury products, Da Milano is owned by Indian entrepreneur Sahil Malik.
‘Coming home to Siyaram’s’ was made easier when the house of Siyaram’s had its other venture Oxemberg take center stage. Formal and casual clothing interpreted in styles that made it a name to reckon with in the international fashion scene, Oxemberg dresses the India of the times with its foreign veil in tow.
Since 1997, another of the homegrown Indian fashion brands Provogue has been redefining fashion in the country. Starting out as a menswear brand, Provogue has since expanded to include also women’s apparel and accessories in its range.
A brand that offers ‘Handbags for the many you’, Lavie is a name derived distinctively from the French lexicon. With its stylishly curated collection of bags on offer, Lavie can very well be interpreted as one of those haute couture labels. But for all its Fr’ench’antance, Lavie is an Indian brand that is owned by the Gurgaon based Planet Retail company.
The king of the erstwhile France Louis Philippe can have no claims whatsoever to this brand except the name which is a derivation- hell no- the exact namesake of his. This Madura Fashion and Lifestyle owned brand is a premium manufacturer of men’s clothing and is in fact one among the largest fashion apparel brands in India.
Franco Leone, with all its foreign influence, is a brand that is much less Indianised than others in this list. It got its desi tag only after an Indian businessman bought it from its Italian founders Franco and Leone.
A label named And doesn’t strike as something that would stream from the Indian sensibility because we were expecting an AnaND perhaps? But famous Indian fashion designer Anita Dongre had massive international exposure to back her up when she launched her women centric brand in the country in 1995.
ColorPlus is yet another of the Indian fashion brands bearing the foreign tag that is owned by the Raymond Group. The unique use of colors characterises the outfits by the brand (as exemplified by its name) which started out in 1993 as a Chennai based company. However it had always been truly desi even before Raymond acquired it almost a decade later.
W for Woman
Okay we get it now that W stands for woman but when we first heard of it, we thought it to be a foreign brand that just chose a random letter of the English alphabet to spell it out. Bamboozled as we were as to why would a foreign brand churn out such refreshing Indian ethnic outfits, it was only after we discovered W as being an Indian ethnic brand that we could make head and tail out of it!
Red Chief would not strike us as anything even remotely Indian if we didn’t know that it is owned by the same company that manufactured the Ghadi range of detergents. Of course we are not to be blamed. How are the brand owners expected to be thought of in the same vein if they name one of their products as the very rustic, very desi sounding Ghadi and the other something as exotic as Red Chief? A brand that deals with premium footwear- premium enough to be dubbed the poor man’s Woodlands- this is one of those Indian fashion brands that sure delivered on the international aura that granted it a strong ‘foot’hold!
How the hell were we expected to make out that Integriti- that too without the more accurate ‘y’ ending- is an Indian brand? Perhaps that’s the catch- we weren’t ever expected to. As desi brands that seek success in global names, Integriti under Kewal Kiran Clothing Limited (KKCL) is a brand of integrity and for the masses!
Also owned by KKCL, you sure need to give the manufacturers credit for coming up with names of brands as unique as this! Indian fashion brands with foreign names sure couldn’t have got cooler than this.
Munich in Germany has nothing to do with this premium kids fashion brand but flaunting the foreign tag has everything to do with this Delhi based label’s prospects of making it big as one of the emerging Indian fashion brands. However, its apparels indeed draw inspiration from the heritage that defines Munich somehow justifying its firang obsession.
Don’t let the England of Peter England fool you. Owned once again by the Aditya Birla Group under its Madura Fashion and Lifestyle chain, the brand has since 1989 been producing quality apparel that puts it at par with international names. There’s still a twist here – Peter England started off from Ireland before being acquired by the Indian company in 2000. Either way though, England has nothing to do with Peter!
John Players might have been only recently acquired by Reliance Retail but the menswear exclusive brand has stood desi ground ever since it was established in 2002 by the Indian Tobacco Company Ltd (ITC).
Yet another desi player in the fashion accessories market is brand Baggit known for its range of cruelty free bags. Very much the standard Make In India fare, Baggit wows one and all with its diverse and exclusive collection of bags and the like for both men and women.
Well, because fashion and beauty goes hand in hand, we have the audacity to include Lakme in our list of foreign sounding Indian fashion brands. Established more than half a century earlier in 1952 and owned by Hindustan Unilever Limited, Lakme is a name derived from the popular French opera Lakme, which still however means Lakshmi! The penchant of the west for the east and vice- versa!