When technology meets fashion
Puja Gupta

When technology meets fashion
When technology meets fashion

Imagine yourself wearing a tee, which is made out of pet bottles. Yes, the bottle you sipped your favourite cola or water from and threw away in a dustbin can come back to you in the form of ‘Wonder Tee’ or ‘Wonder Polo’, that are not just stylish but softer and lighter than most other sportswear.

Alcis Sports, an Indian performance wear brand, recycles eight pet bottles to make one such apparel.

T-shirts are generally made of polyester - a man-made fibre, production of which involves huge quantity of water, chemicals and even fossil fuels. Moreover, the raw materials and by-products of it are toxic and pollutes water and air, causing several health hazards.

But Wonder Tee, which weighs only 85-90 grams, is made of R-PET (Recycled Polyethylene Terephthalate) a recyclable material.

Roshan Baid, managing director, Alcis Sports, said: “Consumers in India are increasingly getting environmentally conscious and a lot of them share a dislike for virgin polyester, which is an energy-hungry and non-sustainable synthetic fibre. Our fabrics come with inherent technologies. We give chemical treatments to our fabrics to make them easier to wear. Almost 50-70 per cent of our products are made out of pet bottles. We not just make environment-friendly products but fashionable and trendy too.”

The brand, formed in 2016, is next trying to infuse balance technology in apparels. This means wearing those clothes can help a person better their balancing act.

“Fibres like polyster are man-made fibres. We can manipulate them in whatever way we like unlike natural fibres like cotton. We use human intelligence to provide more advance and efficient product to our customer base,” says Baid.

He added, “Innovation in textiles and technology has helped make improvements in functionality, in such a way that the garments have become more breathable, light-weight and odour-proof. Product categories become fluid — the lines between indoor and outdoor activities blur as styles and technologies migrate, and have been repurposed for different environments and conditions.”

There are some international brands that have come up with such products, but those are priced far above than what most of the Indian consumer can afford.

“Alcis Sports has been formed to tap into the emerging athleisure segment in the country as more and more Indians are getting health and fitness conscious. The idea behind Alcis was to create a homegrown affordable Indian sportswear brand, which is cutting-edge in terms of quality and also in sync with Indian sensibilities. India is a huge market when it comes to performance wear and we are trying to tap that market. Our products are created keeping in mind what is required for the Indian environment and consumers. Any international brand cannot cater to the Indian consumers as we can.”

He added: “The price of our products is almost three times less than what an international brand charge. We pride ourselves for being the first Indian brand to have the capability and production ability to manufacture technologically advanced sportswear at affordable price-points to enhance the performance of the wearer.

Alcis recently launched its AW2018 collection that comprises 149 men’s styles and 135 women’s styles, across the categories of running, training, racquet sports and yoga and the collection will eventually consist of a total of 695 options.

Alcis products are available in over 700 outlets across the country including large format stores such as Lifestyle, Shopper Stop, Central, Globus, Sports Station, etc and online retail websites and eight exclusive brand stores at New Delhi, Mumbai, Kochi, Jaipur, Guwahati and Bengaluru.

The brand also has an exclusive tie-up with FIFA for the manufacturing, sales and distribution of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Licensed Apparel Fan Merchandise in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Alcis was also the official fan merchandise manufacturer and seller of NBA in India. They are also the kit providers for the six-nation Kabaddi Masters Dubai 2018, held at the Al Wasl Sports Club in Dubai.

The company claims to be the largest and fully integrated manufacturer of sportswear in India – from yarn to retail.

“The growth in active wear segment in India has surpassed all expectations. This underlines our belief that consumers are looking for high-quality apparel at affordable prices, and Alcis Sports is a reflection of this core thought. We make equipments not clothes,” noted Baid.

Talking about its growth story, Baid informed that Alcis is currently selling over 30,000 items every month. In terms of revenue, the company did Rs 4 crore business in the first year, Rs 24 crore in the second and is expecting to hit Rs 60 crore by this year. It raised a fund of Rs 30 crore from Singapore-based Venture Capital firm RB Investments.

The company has an aggressive expansion plan as well. It plans to open 15 exclusive brand stores across India and reach around 1,000 retailers by the end of this year. It recently started its  international expansion by selling its products in UAE, and is soon going to launch active wear for kids and foray into other related sportswear categories such as footwear, bags and other sports accessories.