A Man With A Plan
In the first of our series on Young Indian Success Stories, we bring to you Sandeep Gonsalves of SS HOMME, one half of the husband-wife duo that founded the successful menswear label. Having met in Mumbai after Sarah’s stint in the UK, they decided to start a bespoke menswear brand to fill a gap they perceived existed in the Indian fashion scenario. Which they did-and how! The dynamic duo were the perfect combination, Sarah with a fashion and Sandeep with a business background. They went on to weave a success story based on passion, belief, hard work and talent. Get an insight into what went into the making of this refined, bespoke fashion label as the charming and suave Sandeep shares his story with EE’s Priyanka Sippy!
Q: What gave birth to SS HOMME?
A: While Sarah studied Fashion Design and Construction from the London College of Fashion and Wigan & Leigh,
I had formal training in business management after working with renowned MNCs in the country. We were intrigued
by the fact that exquisite detailing and the precision of bespoke offered in India could barely match the
standards of Savile Row, London. Our Eureka moment was when we realized that a bespoke menswear brand would be
hugely successful in India where even the most au courant men have versatile body types and share the love of
personalization with the rest of the world.
Q: What are the challenges you faced to bring it to where it is now
A: A major challenge was setting up a space with a high standard of luxury as the business started off completely
with our savings. The market had potential, but talent was lacking. Another challenge is some of the prospective
clients still do not completely understand the intricacy of the process but they are definitely willing to give it a shot. Also, since a formal suit is considered as work wear or occasion wear many clients wait for years before they can redo their wardrobe instead of making a suit as and when they shift body sizes. Other than that, even the distinction between bespoke and made-to-measure is something a lot of people have to be made aware of.
Q: What is it about the brand that makes it stand apart from the rest?
A: Our design aesthetic is minimal and largely symmetrical. We believe in creating unique pieces which celebrate the art of geometry. While starting the brand, we were clear that we want to provide the Indian gent with a bespoke experience that is second to none; one that is in keeping with international standards.
Q: With a plethora of international brands on India, why the need for a homegrown bespoke menswear luxury label?
A: At the end of the day, the idea is to make a suit which is perfect and celebrates exemplary craftsmanship. Having various global labels available in the country, SS HOMME differentiates itself due to its design aesthetic and the quality and fit that it provides the customer with. Creating complex silhouettes along with extreme personalisation is what separates homegrown luxury from international labels.
Q: What is the entire range of products at SS HOMME?
A: Over the years, SS HOMME has grown gradually and expanded to a range of products. The idea is to create a one-stop
shop destination for the modern gentleman. We create Suits, Tuxedos, Overcoats, Trench Coats, Sherwanis,
Bandhgalas, Bandi Jackets, Kurtas, shirts and trousers. Alongside, we have mastered the art of handcrafted Italian
bespoke leather shoes. Adding to the accessories, we have a range of handcrafted accessories such as lapel pins,
cuff links, tie pins, bow ties, pocket squares, ties, bags etc.
Q: Which brands do you admire in menswear in the international luxury space?
A: Tom Ford is a brand that practices clean and slick ensembles which I really admire.
Q: Any more product lines for men in the offing?
A: Currently, we have an entire range of products which easily set us as a destination for the modern gentleman.
However, experimenting with casuals is something that we have not thought of for the time-being.
Q: What about women’s wear? Are you planning to foray into that? If so, when
A: Not for now as we are focused on creating exceptional menswear. However, we do not know as to what the future
holds and it might just happen.
Q: What are the future plans for the brand?
A:For starters, we plan to expand as a brick and mortar store to Tier-1 cities like Delhi where we have the correct
target audience who understand the aesthetics and the range of products offered by the brand.
Q: Do you plan to go international?
A: We cater to a lot of international clients since the design aesthetic really speaks to them and when the time is
right, we will be looking to diversifying and taking the brand global.
Q: Name an entity whose dress sense you admire?
A: Jude Law and Lionel Messi. From the younger lot I’d say the upcoming tennis sensation, Milos Raonic.
Q: Who are some of your well known clients?
A: We can’t mention specific names, but we’ve catered to all the main HNI’s in India. In terms of Bollywood, we’ve dressed all the tops stars like Hrithik Roshan, John Abraham, Ranveer Singh, Ranbir Kapoor, etc. We’ve also
personally styled the new lot of stars like Vir Das, Vicky Kaushal, etc.
Q.When a client walks into SS HOMME, what is the experience you offer
A: The bespoke experience at SS HOMME is a metamorphic one. Every suit starts its journey as a notion. A design
that is eager to be realised on a piece of cloth. In the beginning of the process, the fabric swatches are shown
to the client. After which, the measurements are precisely taken by the team to make sure the suit is well-fit.
Thereafter, customized patterns, drafted from scratch, are carefully cut and painstakingly hand stitched to
construct the rudimentary silhouette of the garment. It is at the ‘Baste fit’ that the customer can discern how
his suit will feel and fall. By the second fitting, our adept craftsmen sew the fabric into perfect contours,
giving it shape and ascribing it a structured identity. At the last trial, the suit in its immaculate form is
paired with accessories to complete a perfect ensemble.
Q: If you could style 3 well known personalities in SS HOMME who would they be
A: It would definitely be – David Beckham, Roger Federer and Jude Law.
Q: If not men’s fashion what would you do
A: I think I would never do anything but men’s fashion. Design and construction fascinates me and the passion can
Q: What do you do apart from your work
A: Sarah & I are travel enthusiasts and we love to explore new places together. Some of our favourite
destinations are the Maldives, Vietnam, Turkey and Venice. On the personal front, I love playing tennis, reading
and understanding art.
Q: Your favorite mantra
A: Don’t take life too seriously. All I can say is find something you’re passionate about and do everything in your
power to make it your livelihood.
Q: Advice to young entrepreneurs?
A: Always keep a vision, know your market and find your passion, the rest will follow.