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Capsul brings a streetwear revolution to India

Capsul – – India’s first streetwear platform is preparing itself for scale. But to get to being recognized as as the leading voice for Streetwear in India has been an upward climb with numerous challenges thrown at them.

Founded in 2019 by Meenakshi Singh and Bhavisha Dave, CAPSUL is the most diverse and authentic Streetwear Platform in India. Both founders spent a decade, each, working in the sneaker industry in India & the streetwear industry in International markets.

Streetwear is commonly understood as casual clothing like tshirts, usually oversize, hoodies, track pants etc with graphic prints and that are always in limited quantities. The key identifier of authentic Streetwear is that they are built around different communities like hip hop, punk, basketball, skateboarding, surfing, youth culture. But the one line impact definition the founders use to explain the category is  that “Streetwear is the power dressing of the casual-wear world.”

At a global level, collaborations between luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Dior and Streetwear brands like Supreme, Stussy, Carhartt WIP, adidas have created a multibillion-dollar streetwear market which is estimated to be about $185 billion dollars in sales. And today Streetwear is considered new-age luxury.

Streetwear’s time in India has come especially since the category is all about freedom of expression through fashion. The rise of hip hop, rappers becoming designers & global style icons, streetwear welcoming men into fashion and the acceptance of comfortable clothing has catalyzed the streetwear movement right here on our shores. Currently this category of fashion is still grossly underserved. As per Capsul’s guesstimate, the streetwear market potential is over $2 billion with a lot of head room to grow. In India, the streetwear market is dominated by homegrown brands like Almost Gods, Biskit, Styl-o Label, retail platforms like Capsul and sneaker reselling platforms like Mainstreet Marketplace.

But rewind to 2017 when there was no streetwear in India – the first ever sneaker drops in India had just started circa 2015 / 2016. Simultaneously Meenakshi & Bhavisha saw young folk “copping” streetwear but using friends’ or relatives’ address’ in the US or the UK or paying hefty shipping and customs duties to get their hands on streetwear. The two of them spotted a gap and moved back to India to start Capsul.

It took the founders over 16 months to build connections with some of global streetwear behemoths and convince them that they would be the right partners for their brand in India. They were met with both skepticism and surprise since Streetwear is a largely male dominate industry. But neither was daunted by the task on hand. Both founders believe this decade belongs to India and that conviction allowed them to convince Streetwear brands to partner with them.

The other challenge was how to fund their enterprise. The founders worked on culture consultancy projects for PUMA, Budweiser & Beautiful Destinations to bring in the initial seed funding needed to get started.

Capsul – the multibrand platform launched with 5 brands – RIPNDIP, Staple Pigeon, The Hundreds, Reshoevn8r and Chinatown Market (now branded Market). Thei website initially primarily had t-shirts and has then since grown to a curation of over 30 brands with different categories of Streetwear Apparel, Accessories, Home Décor, Sneaker Care and Collectibles.

Capsul began with a product-first approach, providing access to International streetwear brands for young Indians. Very quickly however, the team realised their vision was larger; standing firmly at the centre of community, concepts and culture.

Pop Ups played a huge part in their marketing efforts and in community building. With over 30 pop ups hosted in 10 different cities across the length & breadth of India, the Capsul team was on to something. Both founders are convinced of the power of young India spread throughout the country and not just focused in the top cities. 35% of their customers come from Tier 2 & 3 towns.

Their pop up strategy gave them the confidence to open their first store in the heart of Bangalore in November 2021, which was created as a community first shopping destination. They continue to host events and pop ups at their store bringing together streetwear, music, art and fashion enthusiasts. Plans are afoot to open more stores over the next year.

Capsul creates meaningful connections. Between people and products, community and culture, India and the world. Today, the brand’s aesthetic is at par with the world, even as it keeps Capsul’s connection to its Indian roots and community at its core.

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