THE fragmented domestic fashion and designerwear sector could soon move into the big league. Global luxury powerhouse Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH) is in talks with the country’s top designers, including Rohit Bal, Ritu Beri and Ritu Kumar among others for taking equity stakes in their companies. The possibilities being discussed include buyouts, people close to the development say.
When contacted, LVMH India group director Vispi Patel said, “There is a possibility of (the company) entering into the Indian designer wear industry.” He did not confirm whether the company had initiated talks with Indian designers.
Mr Patel, however, added that the company is looking at investing in the Indian designerwear industry through a private equity fund which it is expected to launch shortly. “Designerwear is one area we are looking at,” he said. The luxury giant has plans to launch a $500-million private equity (PE) fund in India by March next. The company would then begin its investment across different segments. These would include ready-to-wear apparel, designerwear, watches, jewellery, home furnishing and also leisure. LVMH had launched two similar PE funds in Europe for investments in area of its core competence with a focus on mid-cap companies that offered expertise in those areas.
On the question of a possible buyout or joint venture, Rohit Bal’s spokesperson said, “We have no comments on the matter as of now.”
Indian fashion is increasingly gaining currency the world over, especially in the Middle East. This popularity is not just limited to the widely dispersed Indian diaspora, but also others across the globe. Analysts believe now that LVMH has a presence in India, the luxury giant wants to leverage that and take Indian specialities in design and prints to the world. “The idea would be to take exotic Indian craftsmanship to the level of luxury and they can do that for sure,” said a senior executive in a designerwear firm.