Catalyst

The Complete Man dons a new look

Amrita Nair-Ghaswalla | Updated on February 21, 2020 Published on February 21, 2020

Raymond stitches plans for a larger share of the male wardrobe with 3D printed cufflinks, and more

When it comes to matters of sartorial flair, it is the small details that make a big difference.

In the well-dressed man’s attire, cufflinks are subtle signifiers of one’s place in the world.

Riding on the wave of resurgence that the shirt accessory is witnessing, the Raymond Group decided it would create bespoke masterpieces — with a technological tweak to it.

 

“We have been evaluating 3D manufacturing for quite some time for various parts of the wardrobe and have been looking at fabrics and accessories,” says Sanjay Behl, CEO, Lifestyle Business, Raymond. “What we found immediately was the relevance of 3D manufacturing for male fashion accessorisation. Whether it is tie-pins, lapel pins or cufflinks, in fact all metal items like buckles for belts or even shoe caps, all of these can be done with 3D manufacturing,” he adds. To show the magic it could create with 3D technology, Raymond recently hosted an elite dinner for a gathering of royals in Delhi on February 14, post a rally featuring vintage cars. At the dinner, each member of the august gathering received a bespoke cufflink inscribed with their personal Royal insignia, either a family emblem or a coat of arms.

Threaded behind the 3D masterpieces Raymond created was a story of the potential of personalisation this technology can bring. Given the way it can increase efficiency, cut costs and spark bold new innovations, Behl says 3D printing has brought about a new industrial revolution in design. In the fashion industry, clothiers are experimenting with the creative possibilities unleashed by the technology.

 

Some of it was on display at the vintage car rally that culminated in Delhi, where Gautam Hari Singhania, Chairman and Managing Director of Raymond, and Behl accessorised their own apparel with a specifically designed motif of a car. They were making a statement on how far ahead they were in the game.

A few months ago, at a music soiree, Raymond had again showcased the potential of 3D printed accessories. From a tiny sitar, to guitar, to a saxophone, to tablas, the cufflinks were customised to match the theme of the event. “It was noticed by all at the event and many orders flowed in,” says Behl, adding that the trend to personalise is becoming so strong across the world that consumers are demanding special designs as per the occasion.

And this has spelt opportunity for Raymond to expand its offerings in the wardrobe.

Moving into personalised accessories

Stating that metal is in very advanced stages of 3D printing globally, with intricate jewellery already being 3D printed across the world, Behl says it was “a good area for us to evaluate and possibly launch a few products.”

 

Three years ago, Raymond started working with Imaginarium — India's largest 3D printing and prototyping company. It took some time for the product and get it to proof-of-concept, post which the 3D printed accessories were commercially launched a few months ago.

“This includes all kinds of accessories that men use, be it a lapel pin on the jacket, a tie-pin, cufflinks, buckles or any kind of jewellery. It could even be a special commemorative button on the shirt. 3D printing allows us to take it to an altogether different level,” says Behl.

He says 3D printing allows for daring creative experiments and has opened the door to new possibilities. Individual customisation can be done at scale, in next to no time. Any metal object takes a minimum of 70-90 days of prior ordering. With 3D, this has been cut down to barely a week prior to launch, aided by multiple designs.

Since 3D printing makes it possible to create shapes without moulds, it has significantly expanded the company’s wares. “From a waiting period ranging from 72 hours to 3-5 days depending on the complexity of design, we have created a lot of flexibility with these 3D printed accessories. Normally, for an accessory with conventional methodology, one would need to give an order of 200-300 pieces of the same type for the mould to be made, which is an expensive proposition. With this (3D), there is no minimum order quantity and just one piece can be made,” adds Behl.

 

The company has now commercially launched these accessories in a few stores.

Donning a new avatar

Dabbling in technology has allowed Raymond to dream of expanding its range. A company that primarily made worsted woollen suitings to start with, later venturing into cotton, synthetic, cashmere and leather, Raymond’s is now evolving into a lifestyle brand.

“We are transforming,” confirms Behl. “We have been a very strong company in men’s western wear all through the 20th century. We are now moving to a strategy of ‘share of wardrobe’ and not just ‘share of a product category’,” he adds. Noting that an affluent Indian male typically has 90-100 items in his wardrobe, “which includes 25 shirts, 18-19 trousers, jackets, knit wear and lounge wear”, the CEO says, “If I restrict myself only to suits, jackets and trousers, I am only looking at 30 per cent of his wardrobe and not addressing 70 per cent.” After getting into denims and shoes, which were previously unrepresented categories for Raymond, the company is now moving into pocket squares, inner wear, lounge wear and even ethnic wear.

Launched a year ago, the Indian ceremonial wear category has been growing by leaps and bounds.

So well is the segment doing that, over the last six months, the company has opened 28 exclusive stores of Ethnics by Raymond across the country.

Going by the plans being stitched by the company, the Complete Man is clearly getting a completely new look!

Published on February 21, 2020
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