October 27, 2015

Myntra launches its first edition of Fashion Incubator

by Anusha Narayanan

Myntra, one of the leading e-commerce brands on lifestyle and fashion in the country, in its signature style of thinking sideways, recently launched the Myntra Fashion Incubator (MFI) program, for upcoming brands and entrepreneurs. The MFI offers budding designers to experience a year-long DIR – ‘Designer in Residence’ – program, which gives their brands, design and business, wings to fly.

We spoke to Abhishek Verma, Head, Myntra Fashion Brands, to get to know what the programme is all about. He shared with us, “At the beginning of 2015, the one-year ‘Designer in Residence’ (DIR) program was launched with a group of young designers and entrepreneurs. Out of which, 7 brands will be launched individually, starting from October 2015 to January 2016. They will be launched in phases so as to establish individual brand presence and not overshadow each other.”

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Abhishek Verma – Head, Myntra Fashion Brands

In the age of individuality and authenticity, everyone carries their own style and swagger, and Myntra aims to empower these MFI Brands to create sizable indigenous fashion brands in the long-run. The idea, as Abhishek told us, is to mentor young talent who do not have access to industry expertise, capital, supply chain and distribution platforms.

Well that sounds all fine and good, but beyond nurturing creativity, a business requires much more rigour, discipline and passion to really make money. Therefore, as a part of the year-long MFI, the designers will be supported throughout by means of a dedicated design studio with facilities, mentorship on fashion and business aspects from seasoned designer and thought-leaders from the fashion industry, financial support to create merchandise for one season, the opportunity to retail their merchandise on Myntra among many such benefits.


Above: The 30 brands that made it to Myntra’s ‘Bridge to MFI’ program, held at Bangalore between 8 – 11 Dec 2014.  Follow Myntra‘s YouTube channel for more.

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The 7 selected MFI Designers-in-Residence (DIRs)

The application process for MFI was an open invitation through Talenthouse, an art networking site, and the criteria for selection was primarily scalability, of course, creativity and uniqueness being a given already. “The applications were reviewed by a panel of established designers and industry experts. The best 30 applicants were selected to present their work and idea before an acclaimed jury,” explains Abhishek. Out of these, 7 were finally selected to be housed within the MFI program.

These seven brands are: SuoLokal SouthPluieEncryptThe Ink BucketMr. Bowerbird and Vaishvik. There were also mentors, established advisors, who will helped groom these brands one-on-one and in groups. This includes a mix of prominent people from the world of design and business. These mentors provided the brands guidance and direction, discussed market scenario, shared personal experiences, challenges and advise on how to overcome them.

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The MFI DIRs at work – courtesy Myntra

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Through MFI, Myntra wishes to reiterate its commitment to “not only retailing fashion brands” but also creating and nurturing brands which have that quirk and gut to stand out.

Abhishek elaborates, “From creating a business plan, Brand Bible, connecting with the right vendors, factories for manufacturing their products, to assisting them in launching their brands, the MFI program equipped them with everything.” In fact, MFI goes the length of completely sponsoring the first collection for these Designers and gives end-to-end support to see these brands take birth on the platform.

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Once the birds leave the nest, do they cut the ties? No! “These brands will continue selling on the Myntra app once launched,” replies Abhishek, “but we also allow designers the freedom to decide if they would like to continue retailing on Myntra or establish an independent presence.”

A second edition of MFI could be on the cards for Myntra, but it’s too soon to state anything for sure, and hopefully, with the next set of designers, Myntra will keep it fresh and fun as always.

To know more about MFI, visit the website and keep an eye on their Facebook page.

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