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‘With smartphone penetration, kids are making their own fashion choices’

Anaya Thorat, who works with Myntra, talks about the latest trends in the kidswear market

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An alumna of Apeejay Pitampura, Anaya Thorat got the opportunity to attend Milan fashion shows at the young age of 22. Passionate about fashion right from her school days, she wanted to pursue a career in the same field. Becoming a designer, however, was not what she aimed for; she wanted to be a fashion writer. While studying at the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), she came to know of the plethora of opportunities in the industry. Currently, she works as an assistant category manager at Myntra. In an interview, the Bengaluru-based alumna tells us more about her work. Read on:

After your graduation in English Literature, you went on to pursue your master’s degree from (NIFT). Were you always interested in fashion?

Yes! One of the reasons I took up English Literature was because I would envision myself as a writer at Vogue, a fashion magazine. I was enamoured by luxury brands and the fashion industry in general. I pursued the course to set a base for my writing career. When I joined NIFT, I was exposed to a lot more opportunities in the fashion industry. Initially, I thought of getting into fashion marketing but soon realised the job was not quite what I had imagined it to be. I work as a buyer now. 

Do you still have the desire to write for Vogue?

Well, I work with the marketing team of Vogue quite regularly. Somewhere, I am still living my dream.

Why didn’t you think of becoming a fashion designer?

I cannot draw! I can envision things, which is probably one of the reasons I am good at my job. But to pen it down in the form of a drawing is not my cup of tea (laughs).

Please tell us briefly about your work at Myntra.

I am a buyer for kidswear. I have been a buyer my entire professional career, which is almost six years. I joined Myntra about a year ago. As a buyer, we shop for work. So, my work includes selecting items that you see on Myntra’s kidswear section. We analyse the market to see what is selling or has the potential to sell based on market trends, and then decide what Myntra is going to sell.

Can you please tell us about some of the latest trends in kidswear?

Kidswear, as a market, saw a major boom in the last couple of years. That is because parents started having a lot more disposable income and with kids growing by the year, they cannot keep wearing the same clothes. Even in the pandemic, shopping for kids never really stopped. In fact, the kidswear purchases went off the roof during this time. Amid the craze around clicking children’s photos and posting them on social media, parents do not want them to repeat clothes. ‘Mom and me’—where the child’s outfit matches that of the mother—is another trend that has picked up. Now with schools reopening and families stepping out to shop again, the online space is seeing a little bit of a slump, which should be balanced out very soon.

The second trend that we see is in teenagers. Myntra has a first-mover advantage in terms of having a specific store for teens. We have a user experience space where teens can come and engage, buy clothes, etc. The reason could be the rising mobile phone penetration among teens over the past few years. Now, most teenagers, at least in tier I and II cities, have a device of their own, which means they are also making their own fashion choices. They are perhaps only dependent on the parents for the payment. Teenagers today are very brand-conscious; they know about the trends as well as their fit. They have separate outfits for every occasion. As someone involved in this for the past six months, I have been part of extensive research where I have met teenagers and parents across the country, and what has emerged is that someone as young as 12 years old is extremely decisive about what clothes they want.

Amidst conversations around sustainable fashion, are brands like yours doing anything to combat fast-fashion trends?

For a very long time, fast fashion was something that the industry was pushing to the customer. Today, however, there is growing consciousness about sustainability, and Myntra, for instance, is doing its part in this endeavour. The brand is very conscious of the way our vendors are sourcing their raw materials. Besides, we have gone completely plastic-free; we use paper bags for packaging. We have a mission to achieve zero carbon footprint in the coming years. We are promoting organic cotton, safe sourcing, etc., as much as possible.

At the same time, we are making customers aware of how they can make conscious choices. One of our company’s recent initiatives is a live session where we collaborate with influencers and content creators to show sustainable ways of styling clothes.

As a buyer, what parameters do you have to keep in mind when it comes to choosing clothes?

First, we look at how ethical the brand operations have been. Second, we are also looking at what gaps will a particular brand help fill otherwise we do not want to overstock our website.

How would you describe your professional journey so far?

Overall, my journey has been adventurous—there were ups and downs. Even today, when I sit in a room with other people, chances are they might not know who a fashion buyer really is. I chose an unconventional path, which meant I had to definitely work harder to prove myself. But I am really glad that I was able to build enough confidence to follow my passion.

Tell us about your journey at Apeejay School, Pitampura.

Having spent almost all of my school education at Apeejay Pitampura, the institution obviously holds a very special place in my life. When I look back today, I realise that the discipline and values inculcated in school are the reasons I am what I am today. I had a memorable time at school and cherish every experience that I had. My schooling was extremely holistic. I was actively involved in extra-curricular activities. My average academic performance was not something that was pointed out because the teachers were aware of my extra-curricular interests and were quite encouraging.

Disha Roy Choudhury is a Senior Correspondent at Apeejay Newsroom. She has worked as a journalist at different media organisations. She is also passionate about music and has participated in reality shows.

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