Up Close With A Pioneer: Sweet Dreams
Sweet Dreams is among the first brands to enter the organised sleepwear market in India. Director Hitesh Ruparelia opens up about the brand and the current market dynamics.
The rapid rise of the sleepwear industry in India is an interesting story in itself. Until a few years back, Indians were not even aware of a separate fashion category called sleepwear. Sleepwear consisted of plain old, comfortable clothes, preferably soft cottons. But the newfound penchant for fashion amongst Indian consumers has bolstered this neglected category into a booming fashion segment that is now considered much more than a fad or a passing trend. Today, sleepwear and lounge-wear are an integral part of every wardrobe around the country. Moreover, they are no longer limited to be worn at night but are also seen being flaunted as underpinnings, or as casual wear during weekends, travel or home.
But, one brand, with a steadfast vision and unflinching dedication was shelling out sleepwear in India, long before Indian consumers were even aware of the term. The brand – Sweet Dreams – which was founded by Hitesh Bhai and Utpal Bhai Ruparelia, over 28 years back, is arguably the pioneer brand in India as far as getting into organized retailing of the sleep and loungewear category. And then, as appreciation for healthier lifestyles matured further, the categories blended smoothly with the rise of athleisure, as
“Both lounge wear and sleepwear definitely hold BIG scope in the next 5 years. But while the category is growing multifolds, it still faces a slew of challenges; the biggest being
the fact that about 80 percent of this market is unorganized. All in all, we see a growth of about 15 percent
CAGR in this category”
Managing Director, Sweet Dreams
one holistic good-living concept. Befittingly, Hitesh Ruparelia is fondly addressed in the industry today as the Father of Sleepwear in India. With about three decades of experience, the brand is today a key contributor to the Indian casual and lounge wear industry. It also is one of the few brands in India that produces over 300+ bottom wear separates for travel, leisure and workout for men and women.
Taking to IMAGES BoF about the drivers of this change, Hitesh Ruparelia recollects, “Do you know what we had to compete with initially — old clothes. In many ways, we Indians were very laid-back about our attitude to rest. The most welcome change that has now come about is a result of the change in overall lifestyle attitudes of the new consumer and how the industry has reacted to that change. Today’s discerning consumer demands suitable clothes for various occasions and activities. Lounge wear-sleepwear now even encompasses active wear, athleisure, travel wear, yoga wear, gym wear, etc. This has increased the category bandwidth. The loungesleepwear segment now provides for the clothing need of almost 128 hours out of a total of 168 hours per week.” Sweet Dreams has been the first organized, pan-India brand to identify and act on this opportunity.
The Product Range
As a family wear brand, Sweet Dreams targets men, women, girls and boys. It is specially focusing on young Indian couples as they are a major consumer segment today. Currently, their product portfolio comprises sleepwear sets, which are coordinated top and bottom in various fabrics and are in-tune with the latest trends of the international markets.
They boast a collection of 1,000 styles per season only of sets, which could possibly be the largest collection any Indian brand would be offering currently. They also offer a range of tempting intimate sleepwear, which is retailed under the brand name of Signature Collection.
The Signature Collection explores the sensuous side of sleepwear and offers an exquisite collection — from lux robes in satin fabric to sleep sets in modal fabric with cuts and fits that accentuate the right curves. Along with nighties in different styles, the collection also encompasses a wide collection of babydolls in short and long lengths, in a variety of prints and bold colors. Also a part of the collection are bridal sets; from 3 piece sets to 6 piece sets these are perfect for a modern woman’s trousseau. In addition, the entire range comes in bright pink boxes making it a perfect gift for every occasion.
Sweet Dreams also boasts of an exhaustive range of separates including tops and track pants, across 15-20 different fabrics for myriad purposes like travel, lounge, etc. The brand also has the distinction of producing about 300 styles of track pants per season across all genders.
The brand is well known for its range of exquisite athleisure that is made with specialized performance fabrics for the purpose of gym, yoga, dance etc. “Athleisure has become a way of life, be it the “Airport looks” that we spot celebrities in, or be it the youth wearing track pants and fashion pyjamas with almost everything. This is a trend, which is going far and wide. For our latest workout collection, we have focussed on a plethora of curves and cuts,” says Hitesh Ruparelia.
This season Sweet Dreams has introduced a variety of meshes, nets with the right amount of exposure for the modern consumer. Designed with technical elements that make garments both functional and adaptable for any events, the brand’s athleisure collection takes the form of a fashion-leisure line. Inspired by the fact that people were starting to want more out of their clothes Sweet Dreams makes versatile pieces that would work with consumers’ busy lives, helping them make the transition from home-commute-vacation-post work. Directional colours, fabrications and slim-fit shapes have been introduced, making them more acceptable to wear outside of gym as well.
More recently, the brand was also one of the first movers into a new category called Work Leisure. Hitesh Ruparelia
(L to R) Utpal Ruparelia & Hitesh Ruparelia,Managing Directors, Sweet Dreams