COMFORT IS KEY: SHREY LUTHRA AND HARSHIT VIJ ON THEIR FASHION BRAND - The Daily Guardian
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COMFORT IS KEY: SHREY LUTHRA AND HARSHIT VIJ ON THEIR FASHION BRAND

The co-founders of FREECULTR explain how the pandemic has changed our definition of fashion and how his brand was quick to cash in on this shift in basic sartorial needs.

Noor Anand Chawla

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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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