Kapil Batus on launching ‘d’hybrid’

As the contemporary man becomes more and more comfortable with the idea of grooming and fashion, newer platforms emerge to facilitate a dialogue. d’hybrid (available for download on Android as well as iOS via the link: http://bit.ly/dhybridapp) is an app dedicated solely to men’s fashion and grooming. A variegated curation ranging from personal care and fashion to accessories and more makes for pleasing browsing. A bit of lively text adds to the experience. The Telegraph spoke to Kapil Batus, the former fashion and creative director of Man’s World and Rolling Stone India, who has brainstormed the app.

Kapil Batus

What was the idea behind starting something so niche?

There is a rapid shift in the digital ecosystem that is leading towards content-led social-commerce creating the architecture for the future. With this change, we strongly see that there is a demand for an exclusive platform that can help urban and aspirational consumers in India discover brands under one channel. With d’hybrid we intend to tap into this demand and build a unique consumer-centric short-format platform designed to integrate with the future of social commerce. We are focussed on creating a credible product that simplifies fashion and grooming discovery under an organised platform.

Presently the landscape for the men’s segment is highly under-serviced. Information and consumer awareness are very much fragmented. Social platforms and e-commerce players mainly drive this brand amplification resulting in unorganised segmentation and pushed marketing. And as consumers evolve there is a void being created by the way consumption patterns and what the new-age consumer habits are.

The app looks fun. Can you take our readers through the contents?

d’hybrid is designed around the new-age consumers and their everyday habits of content consumption in ephemeral format. Through this innovative and engaging platform, the app aims to simplify discovery of brands and influence consumers’ fashion and grooming habits every day. A friendly designed app with minimally designed UI/UX is contemporary and offers an immersive personalised experience through unique feeds. This new-age platform is supported with AI tech for personalising feeds and creating segment-based community clusters. d’hybrid not only serves as a guide and inspiration for its users but also offers informative and engaging content, ranging from a style directory of essentials that every urban and aspirational consumer needs. The app is customised around the user browse pattern where every user will experience a personalised feed and curated content suggestions.

What kind of a man do you have in mind?

The app targets an evolving urban and aspirational audience that spans across the 18-to-35-year-old demographic, seeking discovery-led digital shopping experiences.

What has been the grooming trends for men in the last year-and-half?

Grooming no doubt has become an integral part of our lives now, something which was once occasion led has now become an essential part of our everyday life. Men are extremely cautious about the way they look and the kind of personality they possess. There have been numerous grooming trends lately, however, the love for facial hair is one trend that has been on demand and is certainly here to stay for long. While previously men didn’t prioritise skincare, the millennials and Gen Z have complex skincare routines and are investing a lot on skincare monthly. d’hybrid is very mindful about adding value in the kind of content that is put up and what people would want to read about. Therefore, you will often find content and conversations about such topics on the application.

Is there an overall shift in men’s grooming over the years?

Yes, of course! The male grooming segment in India was initially excessively influenced by celebrities, no doubt it still is. However, influencers and new-age bloggers are the ones who are heavily influencing grooming trends now. We come across numerous contents daily and the men’s lifestyle and grooming section are most widely consumed. While the consumers are extremely smart and mindful about what they want to see and read, they also understand their priorities and want to invest their money in the right place. There has been a growing trend for sustainable grooming routine; people want to be associated with brands that are into sustainable practices and contributing to the country socially and economically. The skyrocketing demands for men’s skincare and hair grooming products are the key reasons behind the shift in men’s grooming. Also, the growing obsession for young and youthful appearance is another driving reason for the overall shift.

Popular television presenter Samir Kochhar is the face of d’hybrid’s campaign

Who are your icons in terms of men’s grooming and fashion?

Our icons range from lifestyle influencers such as chefs or sportsmen to key opinion leaders such as new-age entrepreneurs. The world we now live in constitutes business owners who now understand the power of self-marketing. The growth of any industry these days is not just driven by numbers on the balance sheet but also by the personality of the top leadership. We these days see many young entrepreneurs coming up with disruptive business ideas, putting themselves out there in front of their consumers, and becoming brand ambassadors. And hence the products they consume and the lifestyle they live influence and create aspirations for the youth of the country.


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