Chalo Holding is a historic, family-run company specialising in the design and production of leather goods for men and especially women (fashion bags, belts, wallets and small leather goods). Building on the experience gained by his father since 1977, Rishi Gulati started his business in 2008 under the name Chalo Holding, based in Dehli, India. The production of women’s leather bags, both under its own brand and for private labels, became the company’s distinctive feature, but it also proved itself to be able to evolve in tune with the market, and over the last few years leather has gradually been accompanied by the processing of recycled and natural fabrics, which give an increasingly fashionable and sustainable imprint to the products on offer. This is how the new OddCat brand was born in 2023, previewed at the last edition of the Riva del Garda trade fair and then at other major international fairs. We talked about it with the founder, Aanchal Gulati, who believes sustainability is the future of fashion.
What characterises a Chalo Holding bag?
Our production ranges from quality leather to fashionable fabrics such as denim, but over the last few years we have wanted to be the interpreter of consumer sensitivity towards a more natural and sustainable product, and we have increasingly focused on the use of natural materials such as canvas, cotton, raffia and recycled & other natural materials.
What are the pluses of your product compared to competitors?
We try to always be one step ahead of new trends and to offer our customers a fashionable and up-to-date product. This is why we travel a lot and try to capture the changes taking place in fashion, offering new collections every three months, at a favourable price. All collections are designed on the inside of our offices in Delhi.
Can you give us some ‘numbers’ of your production?
We have three factories in India, between Delhi and Calcutta, employing around 800 people. We take care of the entire production process – from design to prototyping, production to distribution – . We work both with private labels for large chain shops and department stores such as Lloyd’s in the UK or Outfitters in the USA, and with our own brands. Starting in 2023, in fact, we have launched our eco-fashion brand Odd Cat, specialising in high-end leather goods, which we previewed at Expo Riva Schuh.
What is the origin of the name Odd Cat and what is its personality?
ODD stands for Overdressed. CAT for Conscious At. Its meaning is: fashion is a form of expression and we believe in self-expression. We can define it as a conscious and sustainable brand, which looks to the future of the new generations, and which knows how to be fashionable while respecting man and the planet. Each bag, in fact, is made with surplus leather from our factory and natural materials such as raffia or organic cotton, while for accessories such as zips or fasteners, we use leftover stock. The aim is to propose an attractive, young and fashionable article, but at the same time to reduce material waste. We are talking about an exclusive product, designed for boutiques and small chain shops, proposed at a price that if it is high level for the domestic market, proves to be very competitive on the international one. We are talking about bags that do not exceed 150 euros. ‘Fashion can be comfortably luxurious and conscious’ says the brand’s claim.
Does the new brand have ‘green’ certifications?
The fabric we use, as well as the denim, is sustainable because it is recycled, and GRS (Global Recycle Standard) certified. In addition, the leather we use comes from LWG Leather Working Group tanneries – the world’s first environmental certification for the leather manufacturing industry – and we are working towards obtaining GRIHA factory certification, which is equivalent to the European LEED, which we expect to obtain within a year.
What is the target audience?
Young women, mainly in the 25 to 45 age range, who have the purchasing power to buy high fashion items made of genuine leather, but who are also very attentive and sensitive to conscious consumption that respects the future of the next generations and the planet.
What launch activities have you planned for the new brand?
The brand is already online at shopoddcat.com, but the first presentation to international buyers was at the June fair in Riva del Garda. Then, after the appointment in Japan, it will be the turn of New York in January 2024, where we also plan to open a flagship shop. We know the Japanese and New York markets well, because we have been working there for many years, and we believe that Odd Cat can receive good feedback from customers. As for the Indian market, we have hired a company to take care of online promotion and all our social media activities.