In field, Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli is ferocious. Off field, he is a fashion enthusiast, who aims to connect with his fans through his brand one8. He has augmented the brand by introducing one8 Select, an all-new formal footwear range for men. In an interview, the Indian skipper shares with us his vision for the brand, personal style preferences and the perks of foraying into entrepreneurship.
After venturing into sportswear and casual wear, what encouraged you to start a line of formal footwear?
One8 essentially is a representation of all the things I believe in, a way of life. Keeping that in mind, the choice to launch one8 Select was an easy one as I have always liked formal attire and accessories. With the experience of core team, it was easy to bring this project to life.
How involved were you in the designing process? How did you infuse your aesthetic sense into the line?
I have been involved with it right from its inception. I have given my inputs regularly regarding design or the material used or colour. The team has put in their best effort in designing and developing the products.
What makes it distinguished from rest? What is the USP of the brand, the target audience and the price range?
It is designed for people who lead an active lifestyle and are looking for shoes that leave an impression. The range varies from `3,999 to `11,999 that does justice to both aspects: affordable style and versatility. The shoes are made and manufactured
The brand currently has five different collections. What makes them distinct from each other?
We classified it into different collections depending on what kind of an environment these shoes work in. For example, Achiever is for corporate, Wingman is for a casual affair, Debonair is for gatherings and celebrations. Superstar will get you a guaranteed
second look and Alpha is for those who dictate trend.
How many collections will be launched in a year?
We have currently launched five collections for autumn/winter.
You have teamed up with your brother and brother-in-law for this line. How has the experience been?
It was seamless. My brother and brother-in-law have been in this line of work for many years. So, the exchange of ideas and opinions was harmonious. What helped most was the fact that all the directors are very well-versed with my tastes and preferences.
What was the most surprising aspect about entrepreneurship?
Entrepreneurship helps to build leadership qualities. It teaches you how to be patient and calm.
A pair of shoes can make or break an outfit. Do you agree?
I couldn’t agree more. I ensure that the shoes I wear take precedence and are in-line with the attire than the other way around.
What, according to you, is a perfect shoe?
Stylish as well as comfortable.
Style or comfort: your preference?
You walked the ramp at the launch of one8 Select in Rocky S. How was that like?
To be honest, I was a little nervous initially, but with such good support it became fun! Rocky is one of the most revered designers in the country so it was exciting to wear the collection that he curated around our shoes for the show.
Who would you like to see wearing a pair of one8 Select shoes?
Everyone! The target audience ranges from students to working professionals.
Of late, a lot of cricketers have launched their fashion brands and forayed into entrepreneurship. What’s your take on it?
A fashion brand by any celebrity is the reflection of their personality. It helps us to strengthen the bond with our fans.
*This article has been contributed by Kangan Gupta.