Op­por­tu­ni­ties In Oc­ca­sion Wear

The past decade has seen the emer­gence of pow­er­house home-grown ethno brands that have rid­den the festive boom. How­ever with all year round oc­ca­sion wear op­por­tu­ni­ties in preva­lence now, Team Im­ages BoF ex­plores how the broad­en­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties are playi

Business of Fashion - - Contents - -By Man­isha Bapna with in­puts from Rosy Ngai­hte Sharma

With all year round oc­ca­sion wear op­por­tu­ni­ties for pow­er­house homegrown ethno brands in preva­lence now, Team Im­ages BoF ex­plores how th­ese are play­ing out.

Rent a cock­tail out­fit for the most hap­pen­ing party in town, or a noth­ing to wear in this heat, then go and pick up Anita Don­gre’s hand-em­broi­dered, Made-in-In­dia dresses and shirts or pick up Sun­day ca­su­als from Manyavar. Be it Mother’s day, Fa­ther’s day, In­de­pen­dence day, Re­pub­lic day, an an­niver­sary, house warm­ing, a puja, or be it any oc­ca­sion or fes­ti­val, or even a no-rea­son party, all oc­ca­sions act as a pow­er­ful stim­u­lant for con­sumers to ex­per­i­ment and look their best. Add on birth­day par­ties, of­fice get-to­geth­ers, alumni meets, of­fice cel­e­bra­tions, kid’s school func­tions, light cock­tails, din­ing out, kitty par­ties, baby show­ers, grad­u­a­tion day, etc., and the op­por­tu­ni­ties are end­less. “The in­ter­est­ing fact is that, for In­dian shoppers, the wardrobe is shift­ing from need-based cloth­ing to oc­ca­sion spe­cific dress­ing and is grad­u­ally be­com­ing more de­tail ori­ented,” says Arindam Chakra­vorty, Brand Head, Aure­lia.

Yes, to­day con­sumers have started shop­ping more reg­u­larly rather than buy­ing fash­ion wear only dur­ing fes­ti­vals or wed­dings once in a year. “Higher dis­pos­able in­come, nu­clear fam­ily set up and be­ing fash­ion con­scious have brought im­mense change in the spend­ing pat­tern of mod­ern day cus­tomers. To­day, we have started cel­e­brat­ing in­nu­mer­able oc­ca­sions in our daily life and we feel that our clothes play an in­te­gral role in ev­ery cel­e­bra­tion,” says Sid­dharth Bin­dra, MD, Biba.

With an ex­ceed­ingly high number of hol­i­days, both tra­di­tional and global, be­ing cel­e­brated in In­dia the oc­ca­sions to shop are end­less. To­day, peo­ple even cre­ate oc­ca­sions to buy new clothes and cel­e­brate life. “Peo­ple now do not re­peat their oc­ca­sion wear and want to be re­mem­bered for the out­fit they wore and how well they car­ried them­selves. Ad­di­tion­ally, peo­ple want to share their mem­o­ries, sto­ries and spe­cial mo­ments with the world. They share about how they are cel­e­brat­ing, what clothes they are wear­ing and where they are trav­el­ling etc.,” states Sreyashee Datta, Head - De­sign, W & Wish­ful.

Oc­ca­sions give con­sumers am­ple space to ex­per­i­ment and in­dulge. And in this there is a def­i­nite shift to­wards fu­sion wear when it comes to oc­ca­sion wear shop­ping. “The en­tire con­cept of fu­sion wear has evolved over the last 10-15 years. Tra­di­tional sal­war kameez and du­pat­tas were slowly re­placed with kur­tis teamed with trousers and den­ims and now even palaz­zos and skirts. This has changed the en­tire look of the en­sem­ble. The ever-evolv­ing fu­sion fash­ion is the first choice for con­sumers who want to ex­per­i­ment with their look from top to toe,” says Chakra­vorty.

Trig­gers & Driv­ers

The well-in­formed con­sumers of to­day gen­er­ally seek ac­cep­tance from their peers and to blend with their so­cial sur­round­ing. Fac­tors like grow­ing me­dia, cinema and tele­vi­sion pen­e­tra­tion, celebrity in­flu­ence and ac­cess to fash­ion trends out­side the coun­try are the ma­jor in­flu­ence while shop­ping in this cat­e­gory. “Pen­e­tra­tion of in­ter­net in our day to day life, emer­gence of e-com­merce, pop­u­lar mar­ket­ing cam­paigns by brands have made shop­ping much more con­ve­nient and easy and th­ese have been the main rea­sons that this cat­e­gory has seen a growth,” says Bin­dra.

School go­ing teenagers, the col­lege youth, the work­ing class, and the new­ly­weds are the ma­jor driv­ers of shop­ping of oc­ca­sion wear and they all fol­low world trend re­li­giously. “Ad­di­tion­ally, the me­dia has been re­spon­si­ble for spread­ing aware­ness of the lat­est trends in looks and styles. And th­ese may be as di­verse as air­port looks, Gan­pati dress­ing, Deep­awali look, Pujo parid­han,” says Nameet Sri­vas­tava, Busi­ness Lead, Eth­nix (Ray­mond).

Also con­sid­er­ing that Bol­ly­wood and fash­ion go hand in hand, Bol­ly­wood celebs act as ma­jor in­flu­encers. “The ready-made in­dus­try man­u­fac­tures th­ese clothes and sev­eral ac­tors en­dorse de­signer col­lec­tions; walk the ramp for them which make the col­lec­tions pop­u­lar. This is the rea­son peo­ple are more aware about de­signer brands than ever be­fore,” says Datta.

Con­sumer Seg­ments

“The trends in oc­ca­sion wear can be at­trib­uted to to­day’s mil­len­ni­als; who are more in­clined to in­dulge in oc­ca­sion based shop­ping,” be­lieves Chakra­vorty. In In­dia, it is the women in the age group of 25-40

(be it un­mar­ried or mar­ried) who have dif­fer­ent oc­ca­sions to at­tend like-fes­ti­vals, fam­ily func­tions, of­fice cel­e­bra­tions, friend get to­geth­ers, etc., that do max­i­mum shop­ping. “Th­ese women are self-de­pen­dent and have a strong pur­chas­ing power,” feels Datta.

Along with con­sumer spe­cific de­mands, what re­ally fu­els the fash­ion pur­chase in met­ros are the lat­est de­signer col­lec­tions, along with their repli­cas for the class who can­not af­ford the orig­i­nal de­signer la­bel.

How­ever, the favourable growth in oc­ca­sion wear is not re­stricted to af­flu­ent cat­e­gories any­more. “Con­sumers across the eco­nomic strata tend to shop and in to­day’s day and age, grow­ing dis­pos­able in­come plays an im­por­tant fac­tor. Es­pe­cially, eth­nic wear for fes­tiv­i­ties and oc­ca­sions is bought across eco­nomic seg­ments,” re­veals Bin­dra.

With ex­po­sure from tele­vi­sion, so­cial me­dia, in­ter­net pen­e­tra­tion and mi­grant pop­u­la­tion, the con­sumers of tier -II and -III cities are in­creas­ingly fol­low­ing the lat­est trends and try­ing to be in sync with the life­styles of their coun­ter­parts in met­ros and tier -I cities. Datta be­lieves that small towns are emerg­ing as cru­cial mar­kets of growth for oc­ca­sion wear cloth­ing and a lot of brands are eye­ing th­ese op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Change in Sea­son

The beauty of fash­ion is that it flows and per­me­ates con­tin­u­ally. The trends of­ten re­turn cycli­cally over a pe­riod of time and with newer man­i­fes­ta­tions. “The Pathani kurta of the in­te­rior towns of Pak­istan have trick­led up and are now seen in most of the men’s wear col­lec­tions show­cased at ma­jor fash­ion shows. The same goes for printed mer­chan­dise, which was once the dress­ing of the movie stars. It has come back with a bang and is now avail­able at the price of peanuts in al­most ev­ery road­side store. The work­ing class is wear­ing and pair­ing them in the most in­ter­est­ing ways and cre­at­ing a new cat­e­gory of com­fort wear,” adds Sri­vas­tava.

Prod­uct Sales

Ex­ten­sive pro­mo­tional dis­count sales and mul­ti­ple new col­lec­tion launches both spread out all over the cal­en­dar year have im­pacted the shop­ping curve too. Be­cause of this the buy­ing is not only hap­pen­ing in festive sea­son but in the off sea­son too. Shilpi Modi, Di­rec­tor, Manyavar, ex­plains, “How­ever, wed­dings re­main the oc­ca­sion for which max­i­mum pur­chases are made since prod­ucts are not only be­ing bought for one or two in­di­vid­u­als but for the en­tire fam­ily which in­cludes the bride, the groom and their friends.”

It is an es­tab­lished fact that the In­dian festive sea­son, es­pe­cially be­tween Oc­to­ber to De­cem­ber, wit­nesses un­sur­passed fer­vour amongst In­dian shoppers. “Our like-to-like sales growth dur­ing this phase makes it our best­selling pe­riod, and our fo­cus is to­wards giv­ing the best to suit all oc­ca­sions and needs be it reg­u­lar wear, need-based, ca­su­als, fash­ion or of­fice. The of­fer­ings across cat­e­gories con­trib­ute to our over­all sales, says Datta.

“There has been a grad­ual in­crease in the past decade in the over­all sales. The pe­riod of Oc­to­ber to De­cem­ber fol­lows the same trend. Data sug­gests that around 35 per­cent of the sales oc­cur in the months from Oc­to­ber–De­cem­ber,” says Modi.

Al­ter­na­tive Chan­nels

The world is com­ing closer on­line. Con­sumers have easy ac­cess to trends and in­for­ma­tion on fash­ion. So­cial me­dia plat­forms like In­sta­gram are in­flu­enc­ing con­sumer choices. “So­cial me­dia and the cam­paigns are not just spread­ing aware­ness but with the in­crease in var­i­ous chan­nels, of in­for­ma­tion and sell­ing, fash­ion is now avail­able for all so­ci­ety ir­re­spec­tive of af­flu­ence,” opines Modi.

The In­dian con­sumer is clearly en­joy­ing the mod­ern shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence which is a com­bi­na­tion of shop­ping malls, tra­di­tional shops and e-shop­ping. De­spite the di­ver­sity in cul­ture and so­cial strata in In­dia as well as the high preva­lence of the mall cul­ture, there are still loy­al­ists of tra­di­tional stores when it comes to shop­ping for wed­dings and fes­ti­vals. “De­pend­ing upon the oc­ca­sion, pri­or­ity and their bud­get, con­sumers chose from buy­ing from a de­signer or a lux­ury or high-end re­tailer,” says Sri­vas­tava.

Fash­ion de­sign­ers and lux­ury brand out­let shop­ping is still lim­ited to the af­flu­ent strata in In­dia. But nev­er­the­less, a new con­sumers trend has been re­go­is­tered of late. “Cus­tomers are mov­ing from mid to high-end brands for this kind of shop­ping as th­ese buy­ing de­ci­sions are mostly impulsive and de­liv­er­ies have to be im­me­di­ate,” states Chakra­vorty.

De­sign­ing & De­liv­er­ing a “Look” for Oc­ca­sion Wear

To­day the growth of a brand de­pends on its abil­ity to bal­ance com­mer­cial vi­a­bil­ity with new­ness in trends. Also, de­sign­ing and de­liv­er­ing a ‘look’ for an oc­ca­sion be­comes ex­tremely cru­cial be­cause the en­tire gar­ment re­flects the per­son­al­ity of the wearer. To cater to the de­mands of the con­sumers brands have started cu­rat­ing stylish ap­par­els, look books to help their cus­tomers look trendy and fashionable ev­ery time. With the in­creas­ing pop­u­lar­ity of life­style blog­gers con­sumers can eas­ily try dif­fer­ent looks. “Nowa­days blog­gers cre­ate com­plete looks from head to toe for their read­ers and even pro­vide look cred­its to the brands mak­ing it easy for the read­ers to shop the de­sired look. Brands have also started ex­pand­ing their ar­ray of ser­vices and have started of­fer­ing jew­ellery, ac­ces­sories un­der their um­brella thus pro­vid­ing cus­tomers a com­plete shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence un­der one roof,” says Bin­dra.

WIM&AWGEisSh­fBuul

“De­sign­ing and de­liv­er­ing a ‘look’

be­comes ex­tremely cru­cial as it re­flects the per­son­al­ity of the women wear­ing it. To cater to the de­mands

of the con­sumers, brands have started cu­rat­ing stylish ap­par­els and ex­pand­ing their ar­ray of ser­vices, pro­vid­ing cus­tomers a com­plete shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence un­der one roof.”

-Sid­dharth Bin­dra,

MD, Biba

-Arindam Chakra­vorty, Brand Head, Aure­lia

“The key driv­ers of this trend are young and af­flu­ent peo­ple, how­ever

as ma­jor­ity of In­dian con­sumers be­long to the mid­dle in­come group,

we wit­nessed that this trend is per­co­lat­ing down to the mid­dle class

as well.”

Manyavar

-Nameet Sri­vas­tava, Busi­ness Lead, Eth­nix

“The choice of oc­ca­sion wear is trig­gered by the look of the par­tic­u­lar celebrity. Mostly the tier-II and -III cities, where the in­flu­ence of movie stars is in­com­pa­ra­ble. In metro cities, it is the lat­est de­signer col­lec­tion that fu­els the buy­ing be­hav­iour.”

-Shilpi Modi, Di­rec­tor, Manyavar

“Be ap­parel or any other life­style prod­uct, there is an easy ac­cess in terms of on­line mar­ket places as well as con­tem­po­rary show­rooms. Most brands make their pres­ence wide­spread as much as pos­si­ble.”

W & Wish­ful

Aure­lia

-Sreyashee Datta, Head - De­sign, W & Wish­ful

“To­day, we cre­ate oc­ca­sions to buy new clothes and cel­e­brate life. Peo­ple

are so­cial me­dia savvy; they want to share their mem­o­ries, sto­ries and spe­cial mo­ments with the world by putting pic­tures on so­cial me­dia. This trend makes them shop more of­ten to cre­ate new­ness and to be

talked about.”

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