Athleisure is a term to describe hybrid clothing, designed to be suitable for both exercise and everyday wear. With people becoming more concerned about staying fit and healthy these days, the demand for Athleisure is increasing. IBNS correspondent Supriyo Hazra catches up Ujjawal Asthana, co-founder, Zymrat, to learn about the future of the segment and his company. Excerpts:
Tell us about the current athleisure activity in India?
The sportswear market has taken off as the pandemic puts more emphasis on physical fitness, and it is expected to continue growing even after the outbreak. Athleisure, one of the fastest growing apparel markets, is expanding beyond metropolises as companies eye retail empirically. Almost every athletics company now offers a collection of athleisure or sportswear, with well-known names leading the pack. Several new brands and direct-to-consumer companies also used the internet to boost sales during the pandemic years. To expand into Tier II and Tier III cities, we are also opening experience stores in 2022. During the pandemic, the segment has grown around 15% and this year it is expected to grow at a similar. The entire Indian athleisure market is estimated at around Rs 54,000 crore by analysts.
Why did you start a tech-focused athleisure brand?
I don’t come from a fashion or textile background. Before founding Zymrat, I ran a technology consulting company as CEO, where I built servers and software for Fortune 500 companies and YC-funded startups. I was constantly preoccupied with my work, mindless eating, drinking at restaurants, and other activities during this time. In the end, I gained a lot of weight, which was not only bad for my appearance but also for my health. I went to the doctor one day and found out I had high blood pressure, hypothyroidism, and pre-diabetic symptoms. I then went to the gym and didn’t look back. I developed a strong connection with the industry during this time and felt some of my issues resonated with the community, which inspired me to start Zymrat. To represent consumer performance, Zymrat has become a performance driven brand and in order to match the quality of other premium international brands in the market, we have integrated technology into our performance apparel.
Which city has seen significant growth in your products?
Currently, Zymrat covers around one-fifth of India, but its goal is to increase its visibility five-fold in important markets. The outbreak has given the company the edge and bolstered its growth, with consumer preferences rapidly shifting from offline to online purchases. So half of Zymrat’s orders go to India’s top 30 cities, and the other half goes to the rest of the nation. In this fiscal year, we plan to move from direct-to-consumer sales to experience retailers. Using an omnichannel approach, we set up a Zymrat Experience Store at Garuda Mall in Bangalore to showcase our products and allow consumers to experience them.
What age group is your target consumer?
Our men’s athleisure range is aimed at people between the ages of 20 and 45, as we believe this age range is when people are most active and aware of choosing fitness activities.
How are Zymrat’s products different from other popular brands in the segment such as Nike or Reebok?
Zymrat thrives on innovation and collaboration, which has allowed us to create technology IPs like SuperSilva and TBC. These trademarks are designed to solve problems found only in India, and thus help to improve the performance of the fitness community as a whole. Solve odor (anti-stench) with SuperSilva, solve butt and cheek syndrome with TBC, solve weight with Centurion (India’s lightest running t-shirt) or solve breathability with SuperVent. Every one of our products is designed to solve problems (through technology), unlike other performance apparel brands, international or otherwise.
Since the preponderance of innovation at Zymrat is driven by validation from community members, one of the issues considered was that people sweat a lot during exercise. When a soft fabric rubs against sweat, it begins to stick to the skin and can get caught in the buttocks, among other things. To ensure the fabric stays away from your skin no matter how much you sweat, we considered a specialized knit structure. Ball Cooling shorts, one of Zymrat’s best-known products on our site, and SuperVent are two signature fabrics we’ve designed. The SuperVent brand maximizes airflow and helps unlock peak performance, which makes us (Zymrat) unique.
Say how technology and fitness converge with the designs you’ve created?
3D knitted vents and a thin layer of moisture-wicking material make up SuperVent technology. These vents allow the fabric to draw in cool air while releasing body heat as the user moves. Perspiration is dispersed throughout the fabric by the feather-light layer and is evaporated by the 3D vents. For example, the brand’s latest launch, SuperVent is the combination of technical fabrics and technology to enable 10x breathability. Ventilation is a common problem faced by the fitness community which limits movement and therefore overall performance. Using the 3D knit structure of our SuperVent line, we’ve managed to create mini air pockets that allow for supreme breathability throughout your routine, empowering positive athletes across the country to perform better, longer. The fabric itself in the raw material is one of the most important deviations, and includes technology and processing in the garment manufacturing process.
How do you plan to grow your business in the next five years?
Zymrat is shaking up the norm in multiple categories including athleisure, sportswear and performance intensive. It is a leading product producer with top-notch intellectual properties and a focus on premium raw materials. Our revolutionary performance fabric gained instant recognition across India with a 40% repeat rate.
Over the next few months, we aim to introduce 30 new SKUs, challenging the status quo in many categories such as athleisure, sportswear and intensive performance. Zymrat’s industry-leading 75% retention rate (unheard of) in the apparel/sportswear market contributes significantly to the company’s success, and the brand expects to generate revenue of INR 60 crore by the end of FY2023. We also have a fantastic product-market fit in the premium segment, with an AOV of Rs 2400 and an ASP of Rs 1700.
What is the future of the sportswear segment with increasingly health conscious people?
Promoting performance apparel for today’s energetic, active and fitness-conscious lifestyle is a popular trend in 2022. hiking, biking, yoga and sports and advising them to feel at home. comfortable while doing it. The global advanced athleisure market is worth $411.02 billion in 2022, and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 9.9% by 2028. It’s no surprise that one of the most lucrative industries in the world is athleisure, and the most successful performance clothing. labels have recognized micro and macro developments that have led to the creation of new market niches and innovative techniques. During the projected period, it is expected that the young people of the nation will become more passionate about sports and outdoor recreational activities, which will drive the demand for sportswear.