When you think about the word ‘roadster’, what comes to your mind? An open-top car or a convertible for two (We’ll be very happy if you thought of Roadster, the apparel brand). But did you know that it also signifies a bicycle designed for use on the road, or a horse for riding on the road? When Henry Ford started selling cars, he realized that the functional aspect was taken care of, but the element of fun was missing. So the term ‘roadster’ came into parlance and it was meant to signify speed or fast racing.
Similar is the life-story of Roadster, Myntra’s first in-house brand. Modeled on an outdoor lifestyle with a definite edge of living life to the fullest, Roadster is designed to inspire the aspirational youth of India. The key thought process behind launching the Myntra Fashion Brands was that these will not be mere in-house brands, but brands in their own right with an individual identity. With Roadster, Myntra decided to capture the ever popular denim wear category in fashion.
Today, it’s been three years of this successful brand and within a short span, Roadster is the No.1 Casual Wear brand on Myntra. On its third anniversary, we caught up with the Designer for Roadster, Sankarshan Majhi, who has seen the brand evolve from the time of its inception to this date when it’s become one of the leading brands on Myntra. It was, in fact, a labour of love for him, as he came to think of the brand as his own baby.
Here are some excerpts from our meeting with Sankar on his journey with Roadster.
Q1. What were the initial days of designing for Roadster like?
A1: I joined about three months before the launch of the brand, and we took a lot of pain initially to build it. It was like our baby. In fact, I remember that the first catalogue shoot for the brand did not turn out to be so good. We wanted it to be clearly differentiated, so we scrapped the whole first shoot and did it again because we wanted to be top notch. We never wanted to be mediocre compared to any other brand.
Q2: One of Roadster’s Latest collection is Machinist, tell us more about it.
A2: Machinist is a purely design led collection. The concept behind Machinist is that it’s not merely stitched, but built. The collection is about a guy in his garage building things. Instead of just sewing a denim, designers have put in a lot of thought and craft behind building this collection. We created a video which expresses the ethos of the brand.
Watch the Machinist video here.
Q3: How do you keep up with fashion trends?
A3: We always follow global trends and have an eagle’s eye view of what is happening in different genres. We also do extensive research and a lot of group discussions, wardrobe inspections etc. We speak to customers and get their feedback on the products. The Italian design agency we have collaborated with, Parabellum, does its research too.
Once the research is complete, we do a brainstorming session where we decide what is relevant to the brand and then we take only those elements. For example, floral prints in denim are in fashion, but it doesn’t go with the brand identity, so we don’t implement such elements.
Q4. How would you say Roadster has evolved over time?
A4: There has been a lot of change from the time we started. We collaborated with an Italian design agency called Parabellum and soon launched a premium line RDSTR. Over time we have evolved with the trends in keeping with the design identity of the brand. We just don’t replicate what is trending globally, we try and build our own perspective into it.
Roadster brings to the table more variety as opposed to what international brands bring to the Indian market. Currently, we are focusing on keeping the brand updated in a fast changing environment.
Sankarshan is overwhelmed with Roadster’s popularity and desires many people to experience the collection and be a part of the Roadster life.