Fashion is 'highly personal' for Myntra's Mukesh Bansal
Myntra moved into a fashion-themed office in Bengaluru recently. Mukesh Bansal, CEO, is not lagging behind in the style stakes either.
Meeting rooms are named after fashion brands (Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Louis Vuitton, etc.), fashion elements (aviators, stilettos, LBD, etc.) and fashion magazines. There is even a high street and studio room, where fashion shoots are done on occasion.
The three-storey building also has literature on Marilyn Monroe's iconic white dress and the history of denims adorning some walls. Employees literally live and breathe fashion. This seems in sync with CEO Mukesh Bansal's own transition from being indifferent to dressing to a stylish, fashion-loving boss over the past three years.
During his last interaction with ETPanache, Bansal, dressed in a white T-shirt paired with a beige jacket, rustcoloured pants and dark brown moccasins, spoke, not surprisingly, fashion. Only, this time, the conversation revolved around the evolution of his personal sense of fashion and not the business.
After all, this fashion boss, who is also fashion head for Flipkart, now dresses his business. Bansal's look was put together by Myntra stylists. "This (the outfit) is outside my comfort zone," the reticent Bansal said. He may have had some help just that once. But heading the business has sharpened his fashion senses and he doesn't always have to rely on expert advice for striking a sharp pose.
Bansal's style evolution is also benefitting the other Bansals over at Flipkart. Speaking of Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal's sartorial styles, Mukesh Bansal says, "Sachin's look is more casual and Binny's is sporty. Someone was telling me that Sachin was at some event and people were commenting about how well-dressed he was compared to the past. So there seems to have been some impact."
When the Flipkart-Myntra deal was announced last May, Myntra gifted the Flipkart Bansals a makeover. A fashion show was organised for the entire Flipkart team, with Chitrangda Singh as showstopper. But the real showstoppers of the hour were the Bansal trio, as they walked the ramp in their acquisition announcement best. "Three years ago, I couldn't have imagined dressing up like this," says Bansal.
"Over the last few years, my understanding and appreciation for fashion have gone up. That also reflects in the clothes I wear." Apart from more pronounced likes and dislikes, there are other changes. As he confesses, "My wardrobe has increased significantly in the last few years." How significantly? "I didn't own any jackets until three years ago. Now I have at least 10. I used to have three or four pairs of shoes. I now have about 40 pairs."
Bansal regularly features on the website's list of top shoppers. Mostly, he shops for casual wear brands like Benetton, Gas, Pepe. This year, the portal also started selling Tommy Hilfiger. The bent towards casual wear is partly because Myntra is still building their formal wear collection and partly because it's plain practical. "Our office environment is quite casual. Most days, I wear casuals to work. There isn't much opportunity to wear formal wear. 80-90 per cent of my wardrobe is casual wear," says Bansal.
Fashion on others
You draw a blank quizzing Bansal on his fashion icons. Much probing throws up names of Hrithik Roshan, George Clooney and Lisa Haydon. He likes Hrithik's T-shirt and trouser combinations as well as his experiments with T-shirts. Vis-a-vis Clooney, he likes his understated, effortlessly chic style.
Fashion for Bansal is highly personal. "Everyone can look good in their own right. It all boils down to what image one is trying to project," he says.
In an initiative last year, Myntra's staff, involved with packaging deliveries at the Bengaluru warehouse, were given makeovers. The results were astounding. Surely, just a few years in the business, he understands fashion's transformative powers quite well. The insight must be personal.