An alumni of the prestigious Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, Ranna Gill launched her label ‘Ranna Gill’ two decades ago. Over the years, she has carved a space of her own in the Indian fashion Industry. Ranna recently joined NewsX’s special series NewsX India A-List and not only her journey till now but also how the pandemic has changed the fashion industry.
Speaking about how the pandemic has impacted her label and how she overcame the challenges, Ranna said, “We are still fighting. The challenges were big. We overcame them a little bit and then we came back to the fighting ground again. We have two businesses, so we have an export business in United States and then we have stores and retail in India. So, we kind of need to paddle both. When this side of the river is stormy, we jump to the other side. We kind of need to paddle both sides and somehow try to come out of it, get out of the troubled water and we will.”
When asked about the brand ‘Ranna Gill’ and how was it conceptualised, she responded, “It is a lot of work. I started this brand with my mother, so the company is owned by my mom and me. I always loved fashion as a young student. I went to fashion school, it was my passion, it was my first love. It was what I always wanted to do so it’s not a plan B. It’s not like I wanted to be something else and i just rolled into fashion. I studied fashion. I have got bachelors in fashion from FIT New York, so I am a student of fashion and as well as a fashion designer. So, I have trained in fashion and i have always loved it. Even to this date, after having designed over twenty years, I still get excited when I look at products when I look at fashion I look at colours. Colours to me, are like what candy is to children. It’s just such a special treat to look at the colour palette, to look at swatches, to dip die, to look at textures. Prints are very important USP to our brand. Even now, I am wearing a print from my collection. I love prints, the play of prints, and colours. We like to do easier, more playful, more ready to wear bodies, using these tools. We always stay closer to the story, what it is speaking, what the brand is speaking to its customers. You will always we see colour in our collection and you will always see prints in our collection.”
Talking about the trick or mantra behind increased online sales amid the pandemic, she said, “I think it’s mostly product and the price point. It’s not very expensive, not very pricey and it’s not very difficult to wear. You don’t need to think of an occasion before coming onto our website or our stores to buy a line. To buy our products, whether it is a blouse, a tunic or a dress, you can always buy them over this weekend or two weekends down. You can wear it in the summer or bring it up in the falls. I think the product is always king and we kind of stay close to our language or the message we are sending to our customers. We don’t pivot from sarees to sometimes go on to making a blouse. We are always going to make the blouses, the dresses and tunics and that’s what we are going to always be designing into and circling back to. I think product is very important, which helped us through this time, price point, sensible pricing. sensible making of products. It’s not too fashionable that it won’t be relevant next year or two years down the line. So it’s all of those things that we kind of always come back to.”
Finally, when asked about the lessons she learned during this phase and future plans for her brand, she said, “We want to 100% focus on our online business. That is where we are headed and that I think is the future. Having said that I think we can bring more to our stores maybe. I am a little old school but i still think that they are very lovely to come in shop. The customer has this special feeling. When she comes to our store, the girls know her she wears the garment so I think it’s gonna be a bit of both. It’s really not gonna be some clear messaging but at the moment it’s online, of course.”
She added, “There have been some really hard learning lessons. I think one has to for all of us. For our brand, it was just mainly we just decided to fight for the brand. We won’t gonna give it away, we won’t gonna let it go and we just kind of all held hands. When did our business quietly and just fought for what we stood for so many years. One thing we learnt in our business, is working via technology. In the past, we would take a flight and go to any place and really quickly. We would meet a buyer or meet or go to fashion fare or meet. I feel that one of the great learning is that we all got out of this phase was using technology for fashion, for all streams of business, even to connect with friends and family and fighting for your own business. Those were the two big learnings for me.”