When we talk about fashion on social media, you will find ample of content creators showcasing their shopping hauls, fashion hacks, styling under a budget and more. Fast fashion came into India and swooped up the market, especially the Millennial and Gen Z crowd. Some of the most popular brands include Zara, H&M, Forever 21, Only, Vero Moda enjoyed the top spot when it came to premium shopping by providing the latest fashion trends for shoppers. But not everyone can afford those prices. There’s been a surge in cheaper alternatives for fast fashion ever since, prepared to beat these big names in the market. Tata Group‘s Zudio and Reliance Retail‘s Azorte are upcoming fast fashion brands that are proving to be quite disruptive.

fashion store zudio azorte zara h&m

The Indian population’s ‘sense of fashion’ has evolved, especially over the last three to four years due to smartphones and Internet data penetration,” said Abhijeet Kundu, an analyst with Antique Stock Broking Ltd. “Every consumer wants to wear the latest fashion. Even if that consumer is from a smaller town, he will try to dress like a movie actor.” This is why fashion brands are now entering the mass-priced retailing segment. Brands like Zudio and Azorte are deemed to be Indian Zara, but at half the price.


Tata Group-owned Trent Ltd. is an Indian retail company which runs Zudio along with its flagship brands Westside and Landmark. Founded in 2016, Zudio is an affordable fast fashion brand that traded profitability for growth, where nothing costs more than Rs. 1500. Their target audience is a young consumer population that is newly trend-conscious and globalised. “Now that we’ve built this capability and this model that’s working so well, it’s time to grow faster” said chairman Noel Tata. Trent is hoping to position itself and Zudio to be as omnipresent in Asia’s third-largest economy as Zara is in the West.

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For nearly a decade, Tata Group has been Inditex SA’s partner in running Zara stores in India which has turned into a $90 billion empire. Now, the country’s largest conglomerate is building its own apparel empire which is as trend-focused as Zara – but at half the price. Tata Group’s retail arm, Trent Ltd., has fine tuned its local supply chain to deliver “extreme fast fashion” which can get runway styles to customers in just 12 days, the same compressed timeline as Zara-like brands. Zudio is on an aggressive expansion spree and is planning to add to the existing 350 stores in this year.

Digital Strategy

Zudio has already captured the youth’s intrigue by offering Zara and H&M-like quality at a much lesser price. They took a unique approach by not heavily investing in traditional marketing and advertising strategies. Their efficient supply chain and low-cost marketing strategies such as influencer marketing and word of mouth maintain profitability. Zudio effectively leveraged the power of influencers and content marketing to amplify its brand message.

Recognising the significant impact of social media and influencers on consumer behavior, they carried out a massive influencer outreach campaign rather quietly in the last few weeks. Creators have been posting on platforms like Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn about their fashion hauls, how Zudio is super affordable without compromising on quality, and how it is proving to be a tough competitor to global fashion brands like H&M, Zara, and UNIQLO. The Zudio stores are strategically placed across the country, also making for regional visibility by local content creators on social media.

Zudio’s Game Plan

Once a month, they turn a trend spotted on Instagram or a foreign catwalk into a limited run in select stores in 12 days. If the product does well, it goes into a full run, which usually takes 40-60 days to go from designer’s sketches to store shelves, using Zara-inspired tricks like holding fabric stock itself. Trent is hiring employees who can pick the next trends and introduce 300 new styles across its stores each week, by spending 65% more on personnel per square foot than its Indian competitors. All 11 analysts recommend buying Trent’s stock that has advanced 13% this year, thanks to Zudio, while comparable Indian fashion retail chains such as Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd. and Shoppers Stop Ltd. have either lagged or declined.

Pitched at a younger audience, we recognise it is critical to be fashion forward and closely synchronised with evolving trends. The emphasis is on minimising lead times and landing fresh collections in stores as quickly as possible. The aspiration is to constantly shrink the time window between the initial design concept to being available on shelf,” Trent said in its FY23 annual report.

Zudio follows a direct-to-customer approach, which eliminates the need for any middlemen. It sells its products directly to customers through its retail stores and online channels, which proves to be cost-effective. The seven-year-old fast fashion brand has been a huge hit out of Tata’s retail ventures. A lot of competitions are watching Zudio’s success and are trying to replicate the model.

Same Same, But Different

Another brand that came to light with its fast-fashion and competitive pricing strategy was Reliance Retail’s Azorte.

Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries is on a spree when it comes to expansion and acquisition along with his daughter Isha Ambani. Over the past few weeks, the billionaire father-daughter duo has invested heavily in new and growing brands from the rapidly expanding fashion and beauty industry in India. Ever since Isha was declared the head of Reliance Retail in August 2022, she’s been on a mission to bring a fashion revolution to India. She started off her ambitious journey by acquiring stakes in big fashion brands and then, went on to launch her biggest business AzorteReliance Retail’s first in-house fashion brand. With Azorte, Mukesh Ambani and Isha Ambani are planning to emerge as the biggest player in India’s luxury market.

Know Azorte

Azorte boasts of housing the ultimate wardrobe must-haves and terms itself as the go-to destination for fashion-forward customers in new India. Their collection is a unique blend of high-street apparel that brings together the best of contemporary Indian and international fashion. From on-trend pieces to reinvented classics, they’ve got everything you need to keep your wardrobe current and chic. Apart from clothes, they also offer a wide range of fashion accessories, beauty products, and more. It gives you the option to shop online at azorte.ajio.com or in-store, which is made super convenient with tech-assisted features like smart trial rooms, mobile scan-and-go, fashion discovery stations, endless aisles, and self-checkout kiosks.

The mid-premium fashion segment is one of fastest growing consumer segments as millennials and the Gen Z are increasingly demanding the latest of international and contemporary Indian fashion,” said Akhilesh Prasad, CEO of the Fashion and Lifestyle arm of Reliance Retail. He added: “Designed with fashion-forward consumers in mind, the new store format includes several tech-enabled interventions that would make shopping more enjoyable.” 

Their USP

Dedicated Azorte stores have already been opened and are operational in metro cities like Bangalore, Gurugram, and Mumbai. These are fully-automated stores where you can shop with almost no human interactions. You can order whatever you like while in their smart trial rooms itself. These clothes will then be delivered to you by the sales staff. You can also generate bills and make payments without interacting with anyone. Even though Azorte is being marketed as a premium brand, the prices have been kept quite low to compete with Zara, H&M and other similar brands.

azorte fashion reliance retail brand shopping store zudio

Reliance’s Strategy For Azorte

Devangshu Dutta, Chief Executive at Third Eyesight, pointed out that a part of Reliance’s strategy is to be larger than life – to be as big as possible and present in as many segments as possible. Reliance already has a notable presence in the high-end retail brand market, with its international brands portfolio. Now, it is targeting the segment below that, which is growing with people’s increasing disposable incomes. “If you look at the brands that take up space on the ground floor of shopping malls – they are mostly international and luxury brands. India should have more homegrown luxury brands to compete with. We have a large young population and a strong manufacturing base. The number of brands we have, in comparison to these two factors, is actually minuscule,” Dutta adds.

What brands like Zudio and Azorte are doing to break the market, that has been dominated by global giants like Zara and H&M, is peculiarly interesting to see. These newly emerging fast-fashion brands aim at providing you similar quality products at a much lesser cost, along with a seamless shopping experience. They view trendiness as its main advantage over these competitors. We look forward to see how this changing market trend takes shape.