The pandemic has changed our definition of fashion, ensuring that even the most fashion-conscious of people now stress on comfort over trends. Delhi-based FREECULTR, a homegrown innerwear, sleepwear, activewear, and loungewear brand, was quick to cash in on this shift in basic sartorial needs. Having begun in 2020 by exclusively manufacturing high-quality men’s innerwear, they have now expanded their product line and are all set for growth. In a candid chat with The Daily Guardian, co-founders Shrey Luthra, who is also the Chief Strategy and Product Officer, and Harshit Vij, the Chief Executive Officer, share insight on what their brand stands for. Excerpts from the interview:
Q. Tell us about your journey into this business and why you chose this line.
Shrey: I graduated in Business and Entrepreneurial Management from Amity University, Noida, then pursued an MSc in Finance from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, but I had this desire to return to India and positively impact society here. Hence, I ran a B2B and Brand catalogue business for over 12 years, before partnering with my friend Harshit for FREECULTR.
Harshit: I completed my Master’s in Strategic Planning and Business Administration, after which I went to The London School of Economics and Political Science. This led to me working with Fortis Healthcare where I took charge of the Business Operations and Strategy team.
We chose this line because of our passion for entrepreneurship and our desire to introduce sustainable solutions to basic problems. Comfortable clothing made with imported plant-based fabric from Austria was a game-changing breakthrough in our journey.
Q. Why did you decide to create an innerwear/loungewear brand?
Harshit: That’s an interesting story! We had a ‘car-o-bar’ eureka moment—an evening where the two of us were sitting in our car sharing a few drinks. We saw a young man struggling to adjust his underwear in public. Laughing about this common sight, we wondered why this practice continues only in India. And the rest, as they say, is history!
Shrey: We wanted to provide comfortable innerwear to men, as we felt they had been denied this for generations. Men have been dealing with persistent and recurrent infections or irritation due to hygiene issues, because this area has been largely neglected in the clothing sector. Markets are laden with the usual hosiery cotton / polyester cotton innerwear for men but the concept of anti-microbial, skin friendly, sustainable and odour free innerwear is new to the segment.
Q. What sets you apart from your competitors?
Shrey and Harshit: Our USP is to provide comfort through sustainable and eco-friendly blends. This also helps to reduce carbon emissions and water consumption. The carbon credits that we save are our contribution to save Mother Earth.
Our focus is on new age branding that resonates with consumers of today. Our product offerings are multifunctional and based on consumer psychology research, which make them very popular.
Q. Apart from inner and loungewear, do you offer other products to your patrons?
Shrey: Our face masks are made with sustainable blends, and are therefore, the most comfortable ones on the market. We also offer multifunctional premium bandanas and gripped hand-in glove arm sleeves made with sustainable blends in our activewear category.
Q. Tell us about your latest collection.
Shrey: After launching the loungewear collection and witnessing the effects of the second Covid-19 wave, we launched our proprietary technology driven ‘BreathPro Face Masks’. We also launched ‘All-Day Boxer Shorts’.
Our research is constantly ongoing, based on new age demands and we keep launching new products in different categories that fall under A.S.L.I (activewear, sleepwear, loungewear, and innerwear).
Q. How did you weather the challenges of the pandemic?
Shrey and Harshit: The micro modal fabric was new to the consumers who were used to cotton, which was a challenge for us initially. However, we noticed that after the pandemic, people didn’t want to wear standard briefs or trunks at home. The purchase pattern had shifted towards garments designed for at-home consumption. We studied and analysed this change in consumption behaviour and quickly changed the product plans, pushing forward the launch of certain collections and categories, which we felt were the need of the hour.
Q. Where do you manufacture, and on what platforms do you retail?
Shrey and Harshit: We are a proud made in India brand. Our partner manufacturing units are strategically located in different parts of the country. Since we are a digital first company, we retail on our own webstore freecultr.com and other marketplace channels like Amazon, Flipkart, Myntra, etc.
We receive orders from all parts of the country. We also get queries from abroad, but our focus is on growing in the Indian market before going global, keeping our brand ethos and vision intact. We aspire to expand our distribution to the offline channel as well and have plans to venture into offline retail once the brand hits a few significant milestones.
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SUNIEL SHETTY AWESTRUCK AFTER MEETING BIG B
MUMBAI: Believe it or not but even celebrities also get star-struck after they meet their favourite actors. The same happened with veteran actor Suniel Shetty after he appeared on the show Kaun Banega Crorepati hosted by megastar Amitabh Bachchan.
Taking to his Instagram handle, the evergreen actor shared a picture with the megastar from the sets of the game show Kaun Banega Crorepati. Sharing the picture, Suniel penned a note reflecting his visit to the show and how he got ‘wonderstruck’ and already a ‘crorepati’ after meeting Big B.
“Wonderstruck as always at the knowledge and discipline one can imbibe from the legend the mighty Mr Bachchan. After that you always walk away a #crorepati. Thank you for the moments Amitji. #KBC #KaunBaneCrorepati #sony @amitabhbachchan @apnabhidu #lockkiyajaye #mahacomputerji.”
NICOLE KIDMAN OPENS UP ABOUT DIVORCE FROM TOM CRUISE
WASHINGTON: Hollywood star Nicole Kidman recently gave some brief insight into her marriage and subsequent divorce from actor Tom Cruise.
Though typically both are shy about commenting on the end of their marriage, however, according to Fox News, speaking to a fashion magazine for its upcoming October issue, Kidman was willing to discuss the immense media scrutiny their relationship invited in the 1990s. Kidman and Cruise got together after meeting on the set of ‘Days of Thunder’. The actors married just six months after the movie came out in 1990 and remained together for more than a decade before finally splitting in 2001.
The outlet reported that Kidman’s acting career started to be eclipsed by all the attention surrounding her personal life and marriage. However, looking back now, she sees only her culpability in the media narrative. With a laugh, Kidman told the interviewer, “I was young. I think I offered it up? Maybe I’ve gotten a bit more trepidatious, but I’m always trying to be as open as possible. I just prefer to live in the world that way.”
She further added, “I’m wary at times, and I’ve been hurt, but at the same time I much prefer a warm approach rather than a prickly shutdown approach.” Kidman went on to note that the experience left her heart “open” when she finally met her now-husband, country singer Keith Urban.
BOLLYWOOD STARS SHOWER BIRTHDAY WISHES ON KAREENA
MAHARASHTRA: As the ever-gorgeous Bollywood star Kareena Kapoor Khan turned 41 on Tuesday, several of her family members and fellow celebrities from the film fraternity, poured in birthday wishes for her.
Kareena’s sister Karisma Kapoor shared pictures from their childhood on her Instagram handle and wrote, “Will always be by ur side. Happy birthday to the best sister in the world.. my lifeline. love you the mostest. #birthdaygirl #sisterlove #beboisthebest #happybirthday.”
Filmmaker Karan Johar, one of the closest friends of Kareena, shared a selfie with the birthday girl and wrote, “We are pouters and posers in crime! So much love for my favorite girl on her special day! Happy birthday to my poo for life (that can sound wrong on many levels but bolna banta hai!) Love you so much.”
Actress Kangana Ranaut extended her birthday wishes by sharing a collage featuring stunning pictures of Kareena. She wrote, “Happy Birthday to the most gorgeous of them all.”
Kareena’s brother-in-law Kunal Kemmu posted an adorable picture to wish her on her special day. Malaika Arora on her Instagram shared a clip of the ‘3 Idiots’ actor and wrote, “Happy Birthday to my most stunning n beautiful Bebo. Keep Glowing n shining… Love you.” Kiara Advani, who shared screen space with Kareena in ‘Good Newwz’, also shared a stunning picture of the birthday girl and wrote, “Happy birthday to the most iconic superstar! Love you, Bebo.”
Actress Jacqueline Fernandez also shared a picture of the ravishing beauty while sending her greetings on the special day. “Happy birthday Kareena. Wishing you the best in your life and adventures. From Jackie,” she wrote.
ARJUN KAPOOR ON VENTURING INTO FOOD & FITNESS SPACE
MUMBAI: Bollywood actor Arjun Kapoor, who battled obesity since childhood and has gone through a remarkable physical transformation. Recently he said that he will soon be venturing into the food and fitness space. Talking about how fitness has changed his perspective, Arjun revealed, “People have been kind enough to notice my transformation. My fitness journey has not only changed the way I look at food, nutrition and fitness but it has also changed the way people look at me. The opportunities and offers coming to me have also changed.” He further spoke regarding wanting to venture into the food and fitness space and said, “I have definitely initiated multiple conversations to explore myself in the food and nutrition space and I’m excited for some of the things that will materialise soon. I will be in a position to share more concrete details in the days to come. I want to be a part of ventures that are aiming to revolutionise the fitness space!” In August, Arjun had opened about his battle with obesity in an interview with a leading daily, wherein he said how his “underlying health condition has always made it a struggle for him to constantly stay a certain size”.
Later the 36-year-old actor had disclosed that he joined forces with world kickboxing champion Drew Neal to push himself to get the correct body type, and seems like his commitment to fitness is reaping benefits for him.
‘THE CROWN’ TAKES THE THRONE AT EMMYS 2021
LOS ANGELES: Netflix’s ‘The Crown’ won big at the Emmys 2021. This show which follows Queen Elizabeth’s life throughout the decades of her reign was declared winner of the Outstanding Drama Series award at the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards. It also bagged awards for best actors (drama) and best actors in supporting roles. The show also took home the best writing and directing award.
On such a remarkable win, the team of Netflix took to the streaming giant’s official Twitter handle to congratulate the members of the show. “Congratulations to the cast and crew of The Crown for their 11 Emmy wins — including Best Drama Series, Best Actress for Olivia Colman, and Best Actor for Josh O’Connor https,” the tweet read. Apart from ‘The Crown’, ‘Ted Lasso’ also registered a golden win at Emmys 2021. It racked up four wins, including for best comedy and star Jason Sudeikis. Emmys moved to an indoor-outdoor venue this year due to the pandemic. It was held on Sunday at the Event Deck at LA Live.
SHAH RUKH BIDS ADIEU TO LORD GANESH
NEW DELHI: Superstar Shah Rukh Khan, on Sunday night, bid adieu to Lord Ganesh, with a pray to seeing him again next year. Khan took to his Instagram handle and shared a picture of Lord Ganesha’s idol at home. Sharing the picture, the Padma Shri winning actor wrote, “May Lord Ganesha’s blessings remain with all of us until we see him again next year… Ganpati Bappa Morya!!!”
The picture accumulated love from more than one lakh fans within a few minutes of being shared. For the unversed, in 2018, SRK was trolled for making his youngest son AbRam Khan pray to Lord Ganesha during the Ganesh Chaturthi festival. At that time, the superstar posted a picture on his Instagram handle which saw AbRam praying to Lord Ganesha at home. Sharing the picture at that time, SRK wrote, “Our Ganpati ‘Pappa’ is home, as the lil one calls him”.
Currently, SRK, who was last seen in Aanand L Rai’s ‘Zero’, has been shooting for ‘Pathan’ which co-stars Deepika Padukone and apparently, John Abraham too.
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