Coming from the humble roots of a farmer family, Karan Sabri, Director of the menswear label Karan & Moin, chanced upon his passion for fashion and textiles when he watched his brother Moin Sabri crafting fabric at work. He knew then that designing was his calling, but watching Moin, he realised that until he understood the canvas, his painting would not go far.
He then set out to learn the basics of fabric crafting post which he pursued design courses to become a professional fashion designer.
“We initially set up a tailoring unit, our intrinsic skill and craft. The fabric came in later. As passionate artisans, our goal was to introduce the finest designs from around the world to India. Keen learners that we are, we travelled to the fashion capitals – Milan, Paris and London to learn skills from the experts,” Karan told Apparel Resources (AR) in an exclusive interview.
Upon returning back to their home base, they localised and implemented their learning. Today they offer the best fabrics from around the globe with styling to match.
Karan & Moin was established by the duo Karan Sabri and Moin Sabri in 1989. With a team that has now grown to employ 50 employees, the brand’s manufacturing unit is located in South Extension, New Delhi where 100 per cent of their production is done in-house.
In their business, Moin serves as the master in garment construction, while Karan works as a stylist and designer to the core. “Moin brings my styling and design to life through his extensive knowledge of fabrics, eye for detail and execution of ‘The Perfect Fit’,” Karan stated.
The brand offers power dressing and celebrationwear to cater to men of all ages, sizes and types. It provides wardrobe consulting to help customers get the most out of their wardrobe while reducing the use-and-throw mindset that adversely contributes to environmental abuse.
Furthermore, Karan & Moin specialises in slow fashion that is classic and evergreen, which attracts men above the age of 18 who have refined taste in fashion and want to create a strong impression. The target audience includes bureaucrats, business owners, partners, directors, C-suite executives and high-profile personalities, with a focus on working professionals in the age group of 18-60.
We sat down with Karan to understand about his working style and the brand Karan & Moin and how it has managed to bridge a gap in the menswear market in India.
AR: How would you describe the core details/techniques of the label that make your pieces stand out in the market?
KS: Cloth craftsmanship is our edge. It is all in the math, as Moin is often heard saying. Reworking the math in line with each customer to craft the fabric to drape him to perfection is the key – the secret behind the flawless fit we have earned a reputation for providing. Our designs have a minimalistic, classic, evergreen styling that transcends time. Our outfits sync with your body language, making the style ‘you don yours’. Our USP is crafting the fabric to make the style uniquely yours, which complements your stature and makes you look better than your best. We come out with two collections in a year – summer and winter.
|“Cloth craftsmanship is our edge. It is all in the math, as Moin is often heard saying. Reworking the math in line with each customer to craft the fabric to drape him to perfection is the key – the secret behind the flawless fit we have earned a reputation for providing.” – Karan Sabri, Director of menswear label Karan & Moin|
AR: What are the main materials/fabrics you work with– is it outsourced or created by you, or is it a mix of both?
KS: We source materials directly from their origin, both nationally and internationally, to ensure our customers get what we promise. We prefer to work with 100 per cent natural fabric such as wool, silk and cotton. Some of the international materials we work on are Burberry, Zenia, Rada, Scabal, Amara, Holland and Sherry and Loro Piana.
AR: India is famous globally for its local markets and hubs. What are the hubs (both local and international) that you prefer for sourcing your raw materials and fabrics from? Name a few areas you regularly work with.
KS: With designing and production done in-house, we are very particular about the fabric we source. We source our fabric directly from the world’s best fabric manufacturers like Zegna, Loro Piana, Holland and Sherry, Ariston, Dormeuil, Scabal , Reda etc.
AR: What are your future plans for the label in terms of retail expansion and line expansion?
KS: Being in an industry primed for exponential growth, we have our hands on deck. While we operate nationally, based out of Delhi, we plan to have a wider footprint across the country with studios in all metros and be the top brand in men’s luxurywear, not only in our existing segment of power dressing but in celebrationwear as well.
AR: With the rise of AI and tech in the fashion industry, it’s becoming almost impossible not to embrace these tools to enhance productivity and business. Does Karan & Moin incorporate the use of technology and AI (database management etc.)?
KS: One invasion of technology in our industry has been in the way we communicate and that is where the digital revolution has impacted us the most, both in terms of customer interactions or learning about changing trends, new materials on the block etc. Being in luxury menswear, in-person interactions continue to be the mode of choice.
AR: What, according to you, is driving consumption in fashion categories in the Indian market?
KS: In India, fashion trends evolve rapidly and offer ample opportunities to showcase them, especially during weddings, which are celebrated like festivals. The multiple functions within the wedding ceremony provide a platform to wear different outfits and experiment with diverse styles, leading to faster fashion consumption.
Social media also plays a significant role in promoting and disseminating new fashion trends. It allows people to try out and discuss the latest trends, thereby spreading awareness while simultaneously consuming new trends.
|“As westernwear gains greater acceptance, the demand for fusion ethnic clothing has surged. The market has witnessed an influx of mix-and-match styles, completely changing the fashion landscape. The rise of social media platforms like Instagram has played a pivotal role in this trend.” – Karan Sabri, Director of menswear label Karan & Moin|
AR: How do you integrate sustainable and ethical practices at Karan & Moin? Please elaborate on how you achieve these across various departments.
KS: Some of the initiatives we incorporate in our practices to integrate our responsibility towards the environment are as follows:
Wardrobe consulting: We start with understanding the client’s wardrobe and his needs, then we consult them to maximise the use of his existing wardrobe and add styles and outfits that could maximise the use of what is in his closet and still help him make a style statement.
Champion slow fashion: Our design objective is to give our customers outfits that make them look better than their best and also lend a style that is uniquely theirs while blending with the trends.
Source sustainable materials: Brands can work with suppliers to source sustainable materials and ensure they meet their quality standards.
Help customers make an educated decision on materials: We educate our customers on the materials they are evaluating for their outfits and increasingly encourage them to make the green choice.
Reduce production waste: Being a design label, we do not stock. We produce against orders, minimising waste.
Re-purpose and reuse tailoring scraps and waste: Moin, being extremely sensitive to waste tailoring, can add to the environment, ensure that cuts are made to minimise waste. All waste is collected to ideate on how best to re-purpose, minimising waste coming out of our manufacturing unit.
|“Our focus as a designer label is on creating bespoke clothing that is tailored to each individual rather than mass production. We do not rely on pre-designed styles from previous seasons, unlike many other designer labels. Instead, we work closely with our clients to design unique outfits that meet their specific vision and needs.” – Karan Sabri, Director of menswear label Karan & Moin|
AR: Please shed light on the growing demand and popularity of ethnic-fusionwear amongst the consumers of today.
KS: The Indian fashion industry has been transformed by the emergence of ethnic-fusion wear, with the trend gaining immense popularity in menswear. This trend reflects a growing desire among men to embrace their cultural heritage and identity while also incorporating contemporary and modern styles.
As westernwear gains greater acceptance, the demand for fusion ethnic clothing has surged. The market has witnessed an influx of mix-and-match styles, completely changing the fashion landscape. The rise of social media platforms like Instagram has played a pivotal role in this trend, boosting awareness and interest among male consumers who are increasingly open to experimenting with their fashion choices.
AR: How is K&M revolutionising the D2C fashion space in India?
KS: Our focus as a designer label is on creating bespoke clothing that is tailored to each individual rather than mass production. We do not rely on pre-designed styles from previous seasons, unlike many other designer labels. Instead, we work closely with our clients to design unique outfits that meet their specific vision and needs.
By working directly with our customers, we are able to stay attuned to real-time market demands, allowing us to create customised clothing that aligns with those needs.