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Hi`designs' on women

Sravanthi Challapalli

PONDICHERRY, Sept. 23

HIDESIGN, the leather brand, has launched a new range of leather accessories and garments called `Romantics'. This also marks a significant change in the styling that Hidesign adopted earlier - this collection would be tuned to femininity even as it expresses a modern spirit, says Mr Dilip Kapur, President, Hidesign.

Addressing a press conference here at the launch of the new line, Mr Kapur said this collection would hit stores in the country by October or November and abroad, in January. He believes that the trend of women carrying briefcases to work is petering out and that bags meant specifically for them will come into vogue.

According to him, Hidesign's UK business saw an almost 100 per cent rise in sales of women's handbags, while that of men's briefcases went up by only 11 per cent, due to the recession. "Women seem to have bought their way through the recession," he added. However, this trend of women's products outselling men's would continue even post-recession, he said. In general, while the sales of his company's non-branded leather products - garments - fell, those of leather bags, the branded product, went up. The last three months had also seen a pick-up in sales. Only 20 per cent of the company's products are sold in the country.

The new range of Hidesign bags reflect the fact that leather is increasingly being treated like any other fabric, in that it features not only various and new colours but weaving, painting, embroidery and other detailing, he said.

The `Romantics' was launched at lifestyle store Casablanca by the cast and crew of Jism, the Hindi film being shot in Pondicherry by Pooja Bhatt's Fish Eye Networks. Ms Bhatt, who also addressed the press conference, said that Hidesign was one of her favourite brands and that the part of the store where it was stocked would be the meeting place for the protagonists in her film. Mr Kapur clarified that there was no commercial aspect to this initiative.

Mr Kapur also announced a tie-up with the Bangalore-based Grover Vineyards for joint promotions, direct marketing initiatives and sharing customer databases. According to Mr Abhay Kewadkar, Vice-President (Marketing), Grover Vineyards, the customer profiles were very similar and the tie-up would help both brands reach a wider market. He said that his company's products would also be displayed at Hidesign stores. Grover wines are to be exported to the US from this week; they are already exported to France and the UK. Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin, the French champagne major, has a minority stake in Grover Vineyards. Mr Kewadkar said 40 per cent of the company's products accounted for exports.

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