FashionIs swimwear the new daywear?

Is swimwear the new daywear?

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In an interview, la Vie en Rose’s CEO François Roberge talks about entering India, the global lingerie market and the changing image of swimwear



Canadian lingerie brand la Vie en Rose has made a debut in India, with its first store at DLF Mall of India, Noida, offering lingerie, sleepwear and swimwear.

“I think India would be one of the biggest retail markets in 10 years,” says François Roberge, the president and CEO of the brand. 

In an interview with Lounge, Roberge discusses the brand’s expansion in the country and the future of the global lingerie market. Edited excerpts:

François Roberge, CEO and president, La Vie En Rose

François Roberge, CEO and president, La Vie En Rose

What prompted you to make an India foray with la Vie en Rose? What potential do you see in the Indian market?

I see fantastic potential. I think India would be one of the biggest retail markets in 10 years, so for us it was very important to come over and have the Apparel Group bring us to the country is major in the expansion plan for us.

With a diverse range of swimwear, sleepwear, and innerwear options already available to Indian women, do you see them warming up to your offerings?

Yes, I think it’s a whole different place in the market. There’s not so much competition and I think we are very focused on lingerie, sleepwear, especially bathing suits. After covid, we see that the market is growing fast and people like to travel. I think Indian women also like to travel and we have seen an increase in demand in this category. I believe we have a niche place and especially for women in India.

Who’s your target demographic in India?

Women aged from 25 to 40. There are around 700 million women in India, so I think there is a lot of room for all the competition.

Your brand has been growing internationally since 2004 with the opening of nearly 400 stores in 20 countries. What have been your key retail learnings?

Well, it’s important when you go to a market to understand the market to find the right recipes and that’s what we are going to do in India. The key is to find the right partner which we have with The Apparel Group in India and we are growing rapidly by opening stores in India, the Philippines; we are going to Vietnam next. We practised a lot and we made some mistakes in the past, but I think after 19 years of experience we have good recipes for the way we do business.

Sleepwear offered by la Vie en Rose

Sleepwear offered by la Vie en Rose

How have you curated the offerings for the Indian market?

Not at the beginning because now we just need to understand the market, each other and work closely with our partner to find which is the best category, the size, and based on the feedback received we are going to develop special groups, special products for the market. We work by understanding the demand and requirements of the customers. For instance, for the Middle East Market, we have a Ramadan collection. We do need to make sure that we have the right product for the customer

Indian women are of diverse sizes. How have you tweaked the sizing which complements an average Indian woman’s body size?

I think Indian women are very close to Arabic women. I already see a big Indian community in Dubai and we are doing great there. Here, I am not nervous. I think the fit is going to be okay for the Indian market. With the feedback we receive, we are going to adjust the product offerings according to the demand.

One of the many lingerie pieces offered in la Vie en Rose's extensive collection.

One of the many lingerie pieces offered in la Vie en Rose’s extensive collection.

Do you agree that swimwear is the new daywear with women mixing swim pieces with pret separates? 

Yes, swimwear is a good way to express yourself, especially in beachwear, beachwear garments are more dressy. It’s the limit between the beach and going outside. I think the potential in India would be fantastic, it’s a mix up and things were different in the last two years because of covid, but now we are going to see a lot of strong collars coming back and a lot of new prints. We see that girls are dressing up in their bathing suits and lingerie with day wear in the form of crop tops and bralettes.

What’s the future of the global lingerie industry?

It’s a fantastic future. Every year we see growth in the lingerie business. We also see that people like to enjoy life and lingerie is part of that. It’s not luxury, you need to feel good about lingerie and be comfortable in it.

 

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