Since its inception, Aviraté, a 100 percent Sri Lankan brand of Timex Garments has been quick to garner attention and find its niche in the high fashion industry. Arshad Sattar, Managing Director – Timex speaks of agressive expansion plans as Aviraté ventures into the international market.
Meaning ‘sensuality’ in Sanskrit, Aviraté, Sri Lanka’s pioneer high-street fashion label, embodies the essence of the stylish woman in its exotic range of every day and evening wear, gowns, lingerie, shoes and accessories. Having launched in June, 2010, during the IIFA Film Festival, of which it was the proud sponsor, Aviraté today is fast becoming a legend in the global fashion platform with major expansion plans in India and other Asian countries as well as the Middle East and Far East.
Aviraté is a venture by Timex, one of the top five apparel manufacturers in Sri Lanka, as well as one of the top ten apparel manufacturers in the world. “Timex has been in the export business for the last 46 years and we always wanted to come up with an exclusively Sri Lankan brand, especially once the war was over,” says Arshad Sattar, Managing Director of Timex, adding, “with the markets in Europe and the USA being saturated, we saw the potential in India and the rest of Asia and decided to give more prominence to these areas.”
At present they operate six stores, which will grow to 11 stores by the end of the year. In Sri Lanka, apart from their flagship store in Colombo 7, two stores are soon to be opened – one in Crescat Boulevard and the other in the new extension of the Dutch Hospital precinct. In India, they opened a store in Bangalore last year and stores in Chennai, Delhi and Pune will open in the next two months with plans to increase the number to 20 by opening stores in Bombay, Punjab and Hyderabad among others.
The Group has also launched one of its own brand labels the ‘A-dress’ line in the UK through the high-street department store chain BHS, says Sattar. With the successful debut of ‘A-dress’, Timex became the first Sri Lankan apparel manufacturer to introduce its own brand label into a European market and they also plan to branch out to BHS stores worldwide.
“Furthermore, we plan to introduce another brand for an additional line of stores for a different segment of the market, appealing to larger-sized women, in the next few months,” he says, adding that other global target markets include Hong Kong, Dubai, Singapore and Malaysia. Aviraté is also launching its own perfume line, with three varieties in December, as well as a clothing line for teenagers, on par with brands such as H&M and Forever 21.
In today’s competitive global fashion market, Avirate has managed to hold its own, with its exclusive designs being featured in prominent Indian fashion magazines such as Elle, Vogue and Femina. “It’s a very prestigious thing to be at UB City Mall Bangalore next to giants such as Versace, Burberry and Louise Vuitton,” says Sattar, reflecting that the immense success the brand has enjoyed is due to the high quality of the designs and reasonable pricing with mid-range as well as high-range choices.