Think about squeezing through the narrow pathways of the Geylang Serai bazaar, in the humid, poorly-ventilated tents next to sweaty people just to get your hands on attire for the upcoming Hari Raya festivities. And when you get to the nice booths or boutiques, everything is marked up to prices out of your reach.
Now, imagine doing your ethnic wear shopping online, at an affordable price point.
That is what Zalora’s aim is with their new Hari Raya collection, designed by in-house labels Zalia and 24:01 respectively. Zalora Group managing director and head of private labels Avni Pundir said to Popspoken that she hopes the collections will stay true to the brand’s ethos of being inclusive when it comes to the realm of online fashion.
“When consumers think fashion, think online, they think Zalora. It’s not a numerical benchmark, but an aspirational one. When we collaborate with young designers, bring international labels or create our own, we’re creating a mix and looking for everything surrounding fashion,” she said.
“We are fashion-focused.”
It certainly looks like it from the trendy collection the South-East Asia e-commerce giant is putting forth for the upcoming Hari Raya celebration. Select pieces from the Zalia collection walked down the runway at Singapore Fashion Week in May – a first for the e-commerce brand which has never stepped foot in a major fashion week with its own in-house label.
“I don’t think there is any site out there for now that has designed a Hari Raya collection with the sort of embellishments one would expect for the occasion and is at that price point online. We also do Chinese New Year collections, so there was a gap there that we filled,” said Avni.
The brand saw a gap in the pricier international brands it was bringing into its roster, and the lower price points that consumers in the region were expecting when it comes to fashion and retail. So, they created their first in-house label, EZRA. It slowly blossomed to a few other private labels.
“Customers were not finding those price points, so we wanted to create an attractive product for this part of the world that is as comparable to international brands at prices that customers here would expect. For example, dresses from overseas brands may start at $100. We want to create something at $40,” she said.
Part of that included a collaboration with young Malaysian label Fiziwoo on their recent “Raya In The City” collection. Avni says this is just the beginning of a “booming and expanding” South-East Asian market for Zalora.
“I don’t even think we’re close to that phase where we can say we’ve reached the peak or the tipping point. We’re constantly evolving and I see us growing much bigger – you never know, it could be South-East Asia or beyond,” she said.
“We want to be the Number 1 platform for online fashion in South-East Asia.”
With plans to collaborate with other young designers, continue pop-up stores over the region with Singapore’s initial imprint as a successful test-bed, and keeping to their promise of working towards same-day delivery, Zalora is poised to conquer not just the ethnicwear market, but other niche markets in the diverse South-East Asian diaspora.
Photos: Kyle Malinda-White for Popspoken