Fashion

From the fashion pool

In colloquial Malayalam, Hashboosh means - of high fashion with a hint of snobbery. That was the right word for friends- Ravi Sankar R., Dhibin Jacob Cheruvathur and Javed Anaz when they were ideating on their business plan that brings budding designers, manufacturers, buyers and other stakeholders of the fashion community under its platform. And so was born #B, HashBoosh.com.

The one-of-its-kind, online enterprise works on multiple levels. In its first stage it runs competitions for young designers with the best entries, after selection, being subsequently manufactured and sold through their online store. The designer who wins a prize also gets a royalty from the sale of the clothes.

The three friends, who met during their stints at Infopark, before moving out to other jobs reunited while pursuing their Executive MBA course at IIM Kozhikode. How did they venture into the fashion field?

Javed who gave up his job at a blue chip company to pursue this entrepreneurial excitement says, “This business model, HashBoosh in its nascent form, received an A+ in the projects submitted by us when we were pursuing the management course. It was most feasible. When we decided to translate it into business we delved deeper into each aspect of the project - financial, sourcing, manufacturing, running competitions and retailing. We launched it on February 22.”

The website (hive.hashboosh.com) that runs a number of design competitions for various categories in apparel, both western and ethnic, will select entries through online public rating. The winning designer will be promoted in the label of the outfit and there will be an editor’s pick too. If one end of the business is about crowd sourced designs, the next stage is about manufacturing it and the final being online retailing of the products (www.hashboosh.com).

Dhibin says that the team has done massive legwork regarding the project and made several trips to Surat and Ahmedabad to learn about fabrics and its procurement. In some competitions designers will be given fabric swatches. To translate the designs they have set up their seed manufacturing unit at Padamugal with trained tailors and cutters from Kolkata. Their in-house designer Vaisakh M.P. gave up his lucrative job to join in.

The extensive spade work before launch got them to study the fashion eco-system thoroughly. It meant checking out textile units, explaining their ideas in fashion departments of colleges in and around Kochi to sourcing of trained workers. “We want to grow organically and so we are introducing this initially in fashion schools and colleges,” says Javed about the online reach being world wide.

Being tech savvy they have plans B, C, D to build more traffic once the inflow begins. “The good thing about working in IT is that it allows you to look at systems; you know when the system is not working and how to fix it,” they say optimistically.

The extensive research has stoked in them a love for the traditional and indigenous handloom. “Our vision is to revive the many dying aspects in the handloom sector. The problem they face is the lack of new designs. It needs the next gen designers to leverage them and that’s our aim. We will look into coloured handloom yarn too. We want to help this sector from the bottom of our hearts,” says Dhibin.

In its first phase Hashboosh is launching with women’s wear, as their survey informs them that women shop online and more for clothes. Their store initially will be high on variety and low on volumes. As the market buzz gets more traffic and it translates into proportional manufacturing and sales the business too will expand to include design competitions for other items- menswear, shoes, bags and such.

A trial run, which they conducted, with the help of Fashion Department, St. Teresa’s College gave them the boost to go ahead.

If the question of how and why the tech team veered into fashion, they say: “We know and have seen the potential of crowd sourced ideas. The power of the crowd is of a passionate population and its possibilities are mindboggling. We are leveraging that in this business.” And one can only imagine the abundance of designs that will flow from the big, wide pool of talented designers and the building of a vibrant fashion fraternity.




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Printable version | Aug 3, 2021 2:23:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/fashion/a-group-of-youngsters-get-innovative-crowd-sourcing-all-aspects-of-garment-manufacture/article8309585.ece

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