" He was tempted.But he didn't go. Or we ladies would have lost one of the pioneer of the brassier in india. Kishanlal RAmji Damania's European clientele could not convince theri ledies dress maker to shift shop . If he had, there would have been no birth of bridal form in 1947.
Bridal form the leading brand in indian brassiers celebrates its golden jublie in this year. Its office is in kandivali is modest but permeates an air of permanence. Bridal form is part of our tradition proclaims its ad and features women from three successive generations of a family. An appropriated. Like the three generations of Damania's involved with Bridal form.
Bridal form has seen the winds of changes. from women's casual interest in as item of necessity to that of extreme consciousness of a garment of fashion. From garment of fashion. From Krishnlal Damania to his three sons Monharlal , Ranjit and Pradyuman and their offsprings. It is a complete family affair here at Bridal form. Everyone's involved in the family business. Manharlal, the eldest, went to london for two years training in the bra manufacturing unit to gain more knowledge and also took tips to kuwait and dubaito study the market trends there. All administrative activities are handeled by Ranjit, who is also in his late 50's. He co-ordinates production , marketing and sales to ensure smooth running of the form. The credit for the modernization also goes to Ranjit.
Kirit, is the production guy out here. The manufacturing of each piece of bra , from scratch to finish is supervised by him. In times of breakdown , Kirit doubles up as the repairman and gets the machinery going. The Daman unit is Pradyuman's domain.However even though the work territories are divided, bridal form is one thing that's close to everyone's heart. Like its founder father Kishnalal , one of the first to set up a bra manufacturing unit in india.
Krishnalal, born in 1908 in the small town of Daman migrated to Bombay when the economic constraints back home became too difficult to hear. Having lost his father at the age of five, even studying up to the seventh grade had proved to be struggle. In Bombay, Krishnalal joined as as assistant ladies dress maker. Quick to learn the ropes. by 1937 he had mastered the art of dress making and started independently. however it was the Britishera that Krishnalal was living in and only the European and indian women belonging to the higer echelons of society wore dressed. And krishnalal observed that ladies wore an imported garment called the bra. shrewd , astute and enterprising (as all pioneers must be), he lealized that the day was not far when indian ladies too would damour for this garment.
Thus , in 1947 he set up one of the first bra manufacturing units in Lohar Chawl in Bombay that comprised of about three workers and ten simple sewing machines and double needle machines.(Today flat lock, over lock machines etc have taken over.) Business prospered abd Bridal form(named after the bridal dresses that krishnalal tailored for his Anglo-Indian , Europian and Parsi Customer) became a household name. Krishnalal was innovative and inventive. He introduced new technology in bra manufacturing whilst other around were still grouping, trying to get a grip on the production of brassiers.
In 1954 , he introduced the American finished bra and other ladies inner wear garments like the panties , slips. He kept abreast of the happenings world over. When the world enjoyed a stretched cloth revolution in 1968 ,his customer could also get themselves a full stretch bra. Krishnalal introduced the seamless moulded cup bra in 1977, bra-penty set in 1984 , divided slip and sports bra in 1987. All of these were instantly saleable products.In 1991, the Damanias added another feather to their cap. They pioneered the bra slip and bra nighty in india.
Where do they get these brain waves from you may well ask. And Ranjit doesn't mind admitting with a big laugh, " creative ideas , foreign magazines. Sometimes we pickup a desing from a foreign magazines and create something new out of it." THeir latest introduction , the choli bra amd jogger bra aslo show good sales record.That too without aggressive adverticing. Success was with the Damanias all the way. The average yearly sales in the 50's was Rs. 1,20,000/- and grew to over Rs. one crore and over the years they moved from one unit in lohar chawl to two units in Kandivali and one in Daman. Bridal Form continues to grow. In fact , Bridal Forms bras are exported to Ceylon , EastAfrica , Fiji Islands and Kuwait. Two of their cotton bras have also been selected by the Indian goverment and sold at all the Canteen Stores Department. And that's no mean task. Specially in the face of such stiff compitition as exists today. Ranjit reveals, " We have seen many bra manufactring companies open and shut shop, but we have maintained our position in the market."
THe secret of survival and surviving successfully accroding to Ranjit lies in " Strict quality control and attention to fitting. we have never compromised on quality." Motriam Partener who has been with the family since the 60's keeps the workforce, (always comprising of women) on their toes. Nearly 80 but he has a hawla's eye that ensures nobody cuts corner where quality is concerned. Even the smallest details are important. The plastic buckles prove the point. "They are made of DUrlin powder and are heart resistant and do not break even afer umpteen munber of washes. Expensive, they are butof a superior quality," emphasize Manharlal.
Ranjit explains, " The brassiers starp are "fused straps" that gives a soft and smooth feel and are manufacturing in our factory for the past 25 years. simlarly selected cloth is used for the pipe in and the 60-80 varieties of bras that are manufactured from good quality rubia and jersey materials of Thackersey and Morarjee Mills. Silk and synthetic bra materials are tabll reveals the Damanias , "About 15 years ago we manufactured there bras but sales were not encouraging. They are not suited to the indian climate." But it is the ccotton bras that Bridal Form is considered the master of"Surprisingly" says Ranjit. simple cotton bras are more difficult to make in contrast to fancy bras like "Charming" since it requires more precission. To get trained workers for cotton bra manufacturing is also a task "Round" and "Elegance" are two cotton bras which reamin Bridal Forms most wanted products despite other materials 'appearance and disapperance'.
The 90's saw BRidal Form giving a fancy look to their cotton bras by using double book eye tape which also gave a better support, comfort and proved to be longer lasting. " Our sales really shotup after that" Manharlal informs. Sales , The all important business aspects has never been a worry aspect has never really been a worry for the Damanias. "Initially our bras sold only in upmarket areas like COlaba, BReach Candy , Pedder Road. But now bridal form being very affordable is the brand of choice of middle class women to. The foreign invasion of fashionable lingerie has had no impect on bridal form sales.cheap but attractive brands from Thailand and south East Asia had flooded the market earlier. However, their ill fit and lack of comfort spelt their doom and they stood no chancce" say Ranjit and shrugs off competition. what about a threat to their sales when foreign manufacture get into mass prduction and stat selling at a starlingly affodable price. The reply is nonchalant. " we have nothing to worry about as long as we maintain our quality and fit we will stand the windsof change". Stand the winds of change they will as they have over the last 50 years. They have withnessed remarkable changes not only in style, color , design or women's attitude. There have been equally dramatic changes in the way of adverticing and ad budgets. Since 56 sketches of sharply women in Bridal form lingerie appeared in leading magazines like Illustrated weekly , Dharmyug , Eves weekly and famina and in black abd white form used slides in Cinema houses to drow attention to their product.