"If the idea was to titillate, we wouldn't have taken Radhika Vaz": FabAlley's Tanvi Malik on her nude comedian

By Saumya Tewari, afaqs!, New Delhi | January 21, 2015
  • 184
Tanvi Malik

Tanvi Malik

Co-founder, FabAlley.com

FabAlley, an online private label, launched a rather sensational campaign featuring a nude female stand-up comedian, Radhika Vaz. In the film, Vaz talks about women and their struggle to conform to fashion trends. Over the past few days, social media has been abuzz about the brand's bold attempt. The campaign (#Unfollow) has been created by Jack in the Box

Founded in June 2012 by Tanvi Malik and Shivani Poddar, FabAlley.com offers design-differentiated affordable high-street clothing and accessories for young women. The startup, which has received funding from Indian Angel Network (IAN), claims to clock 500-700 orders a day with an average ticket size of Rs 1,400. Instead of the usual 'seasonal collections', the brand is big on 'monthly launches'.

Fashion retail makes up about one fourth of the booming online e-commerce business. Of this 30 percent is made up of women's apparel.

afaqs! caught up with Tanvi Malik, co-founder and director, FabAlley, about the campaign and the waves it has created.

Edited Excerpts


FabAlley is a fashion brand. And there's no denying that fashion is about trends. What prompted #Unfollow?
[an error occurred while processing the directive]

#Unfollow is about finding one's own style and getting away from fashion policing. It does not mean you become unfashionable; rather, it's about finding your own calling amid sartorial choices.

The insight to celebrate individuality came from the brand while the story idea and execution was from Jack in the Box. Our creative brief was - create a campaign for a girl who is 'uninterrupted'. FabAlley wants to be an empowering feminist brand. As a fashion brand for women and by women, we felt it is our responsibility to send out empowering messages to our consumers. We do not want to operate in the shallow, trend-oriented space.

"FabAlley wants to be an empowering, feminist brand. We do not want to operate in the shallow, trend-oriented space"

But in the past, you have positioned FabAlley as a 'trend specific' brand. Isn't this campaign a contradiction, then?

For a high street fashion label like us, trends are the lowest common denominator on how we work. Our design process is such that we spot international trends and introduce them in India. Our communication is for those who don't seek to belong.

We create exclusive clothes which are not available elsewhere. Hence, there is an element of individuality to it. We introduce global trends in India but with a twist. For example, since crop tops are in we have introduced them on our platform in various lengths and designs.

How did you zero in on a comedian - Radhika Vaz?

We wanted a 'ballsy' woman who is in the public eye. She faces the pressure to project a certain public image. Featuring a female stand-up comedian brought an insightful, yet comic twist to the campaign.

We shot the campaign in a studio in Film City, with no real audience. It is a rant which is filmed in the milieu of what Radhika does professionally. She was a sport and completed the shoot in a single shot.

"We wanted a 'ballsy' woman who is in the public eye. Radhika was a sport and completed the shoot in a single shot"

The film has elicited polarised opinions. Some say that the 'shock value' (her nudity) has overpowered the script...

Yes, the shock value was intentional, but for the right reasons. The strong visual was delivered for people to stand up against fashion policing and diktats being doled out to them. If the idea was to titillate, we wouldn't have taken Radhika Vaz. She represents a strong, individualistic woman.

SEE ALSO: FabAlley: shock and awe

Radhika Vaz is a comedian and a writer. She wrote the script. This is not the voiceover of a regular ad; it's a rant which highlights the everyday struggles of women trying to fit into a certain mold. I think Radhika's words are very powerful and they justify our campaign's core message.

"The shock value was intentional, but for the right reasons. This is a rant which highlights the everyday struggles of women trying to fit into a mold."

Are you considering TV advertising as a part of your media mix?

Not for the next six months.

FabAlley is a niche brand and our message will not appeal to everybody. We are not every woman's brand. We cater to individualistic, discerning, fashionable consumers. A TV campaign, at this point, will be premature as our brand does not have mass appeal.

We will be digital-heavy and will look at outdoor. We have tied up with fashion magazines like Elle, Harper's, Grazia and Cosmopolitan for advertorials and ads.

"We are not every woman's brand... a TV campaign, at this point, will be premature as our brand does not have mass appeal"

This reminds us of brands like Fastrack, that are designed to appeal to a select few. Psychographically speaking is your core TG the Fastrack buyer?

FabAlley is not for rebels. We talk to a metro girl. Our core TG is between 18 and 25 years.

As an online private label in India today, what's your biggest marketing challenge?

Discounting is the biggest challenge in the e-commerce space. There is no touch-and-feel factor. Inherently, the consumer trusts big brands. But for a private label, it is a challenge to convince the consumer to buy from their platform.

FabAlley is two-and-a-half years old, and consumers have begun to trust our products. Because the designs are exclusive, they are willing to pay. In fact, our next campaign will be focused on the product, the designs and the quality.

"Discounting is the biggest challenge in the e-commerce space"

What next for FabAlley, after #Unfollow?

Unfollow is ground zero for FabAlley. We will build on it. A content platform for the Unfollow girl is under development where we will create interesting content around fashion stereotypes, conventions and policing. Over the next three to four months, we are also planning to launch a web series with real women across various fields speaking about how they 'unfollow' in life.

"We are planning to launch a web series with real women across various fields speaking about how they 'unfollow' in life"
  • 184
Search Tags