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GARUDA and India: A love story

The purpose of this entry is to get feedback and open discussions. I will say this right at the start so no one gets it twisted. I am not bitter, I am baffled.

India shows GARUDA no love at all. It's wild to me. I understood it more so with our older work, but Satellite Cities' reception (in India) has left me extremely confused. Our older work was more suited to colder climates, you simply don’t need those textiles in India, except in the north and even so maybe for a month or 6 weeks at most. Satellite city was designed to offer something familiar but different to the Indian consumer.

In 2021 India was the second highest source of traffic on the GARUDA website, behind the USA. In 2022, India surpassed the USA in terms of traffic. Guess how many people in India bought GARUDA in 2021? 1 person. His name is Param, good bloke. From 2015 – 2022 guess how many people in India have purchased GARUDA? 6. I know all of our Indian customers on a first-name basis literally, I've even met 50% of them in real life and had meals with them.

Again I understood it during 2015-2021. We weren’t making a product that was suited for the Indian climate and our price point was extremely high considering the usage you’d get from the garment in this climate.

On the 24th of July 2022, we released Satellite City. A collection inspired by Indian garments, aiming to push those same garments forward. I flicked the switch at 8:30 PM and made it live. I didn’t check the stats till the next day, I didn’t even open Instagram till the next morning because frankly I was exhausted. When I finally opened it... In the first 24 hours, we had 3000 something visitors. 900 something from India. I thought ‘This is the moment it finally happens. Nothing happened. My Instagram DM was flooded with people saying "this is what the Indian scene needs", "Thank you for making this, thank you for showing our culture to other people..." Satellite City sales in India 2 months later... 2 people.

Please refer back to the first line of this journal entry. I am not bitter, I am thankful that people understood what we were trying to do. I am thankful for every message, every reshare and every view we get always.

At this point, I have given up on trying to understand the Indian market. I am just going to focus on the markets we have done well in while continuing to reference my culture and push these clothes forward. My friends and family have tried to reason with me, telling me the Indian market is based on "Hype and FOMO". Neither of which I create. I take zero pride in my products being sold out, if something is sold out, I am annoyed and try to restock it as quickly as possible. If you want the product, it should be available to you, that’s how I've always seen it. "No one in India is going to care till a celebrity wears it" … I wish I could show you my Instagram DM requests related to sourcing for celebrities, magazines, and music videos. There is multiple per week. I don’t even respond to 90% of them... if you like the product... BUY IT. Even if you are willing to pay me for your sourcing request bare this in mind: I am making clothes that I want people to wear every day, you treating my work as a one-time costume is straight-up disrespectful.

Before you say "That’s just how it is, if you don’t like it then stop", I would be doing this even if I wasn’t making a living from it. Even if I sold one garment a month while working a 9-5 I would still be doing this, and I can say that with confidence because that’s exactly how it was in 2015. This is the only thing that sustains my interest. GARUDA has saved me from me many times, I owe it to GARUDA to continue regardless of what the odds are. GARUDA has given me everything I ever wanted, and for that, I will always give it everything I have.

As I said at the start, this is meant to get feedback and open discussion. Is there something I’m missing? Is there a blatant reason India doesn’t support GARUDA that I am just not aware of?

Another thing I said at the start was that "I am not bitter", and believe that. I am not. I know for a fact that I am running circles around designers here, and I dare anyone to step up. Even with zero sales in India, I will die as the greatest Indian designer of all time. Just Watch.

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