Brands sharpen fo­cus on men’s oc­ca­sion wear

With grow­ing awareness of global fash­ion trends, in­creas­ing brand awareness, a grow­ing mid­dle class and ris­ing dis­pos­able in­come, the men’s oc­ca­sion wear mar­ket in In­dia is wit­ness­ing ag­gres­sive growth in both metro cities as well as ru­ral ar­eas…

Business of Fashion - - Contents - By Rosy N Sharma with in­puts from Gur­bir Singh Gu­lati

Images BoF takes a look at the men’s oc­ca­sion wear mar­ket in In­dia, which is wit­ness­ing ag­gres­sive growth in both metro cities as well as ru­ral ar­eas.

The men’s oc­ca­sion wear mar­ket is wit­ness­ing a great pro­gres­sion. The way men ap­proach fash­ion and per­sonal style is evolv­ing from what it used to be. To­day, men are far more aware of their choices. Pre­vi­ously, they lacked op­tions and had no choice but to opt for sim­plic­ity when it came to oc­ca­sion wear. This trend has changed dras­ti­cally and come fes­tive and wed­ding sea­sons, the men’s for­mal wear mar­ket will be brim­ming with ex­haus­tive fash­ion and ac­ces­sories col­lec­tions.

With grow­ing awareness of global fash­ion trends, a grow­ing mid­dle class and ris­ing dis­pos­able in­come, the men’s oc­ca­sion wear mar­ket in In­dia is wit­ness­ing ag­gres­sive growth. Do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional brands are tak­ing ad­van­tage of this growth, with do­mes­tic brands be­com­ing stronger and in­ter­na­tional brands rais­ing the bar with bet­ter pric­ing and prod­uct of­fer­ings.

The men’s oc­ca­sion wear mar­ket is trans­form­ing into a very de­tail-ori­ented, fash­ion con­scious seg­ment. The seg­ment that can be clas­si­fied into eth­nic and western wear. These in­clude sher­wa­nis, Jodh­puris, band­hgalas in eth­nic and suits, man­darins, tuxe­dos, shirt co­or­di­nates and for­mal party shirts dom­i­nat­ing the western for­mal men’s wear seg­ment.

Surya Suri, Founder, Steele Col­lec­tion says their col­lec­tions are al­ways in line with cur­rent mar­ket trends and are de­vel­oped af­ter a thor­ough un­der­stand­ing of cus­tomer needs.

“The men’s for­mal wear brand that was launched last year is an ex­per­i­ment with new trends and prints in our suit­ing range, which are ap­pre­ci­ated a lot by younger cus­tomers,” he says.

One trend which is quickly catch­ing on this sea­son are mul­ti­tude trans­former suits which have con­vert­ible fea­tures and menswear brands are highly bank­ing on its suc­cess.

“Mul­ti­tude trans­former suits is the state­ment Black­ber­rys is mak­ing this Fall. These are multi-oc­ca­sion suits with de­tach­able lapels as their main sell­ing point. The fo­cal idea of the suits is to en­able men to make a swift tran­si­tion from the busi­ness look to the party look. The de­tach­able satin lapels en­sure the one out­fit meets both re­quire­ments,” says Su­varna Kale, Head of De­sign, Black­ber­rys.

Narinder Kaaur, Head of De­sign, Tur­tle, con­curs say­ing that their brand’s style state­ment for this sea­son is ‘de­tach­ables’ as well.

“A jacket or a suit with de­tach­able waist­coat, lapel and scarves gives a multi-util­ity fac­tor to an at­tire, and that’s our fo­cus this sea­son,” she says.

Key Growth Driv­ers

Ac­cord­ing to a study by Technopak, the In­dian econ­omy, one of the fastest grow­ing economies of the world, is wit­ness­ing ma­jor shifts in con­sumer pref­er­ences. In­creas­ing dis­pos­able in­come, brand awareness and in­creas­ing tech-savvy mil­len­nial pop­u­la­tion are the driv­ing fac­tors of cor­po­ra­tized re­tail within the coun­try. Over­all, In­dian re­tail sce­nario has shown sus­tain­able long-term growth com­pared to other devel­op­ing economies.

The study states that the In­dian re­tail mar­ket was worth `41,66,500 crore (US $641 bil­lion) in 2016 and is ex­pected to reach `1,02,50,500 crore (US $1,576 bil­lion) by 2026, grow­ing at a Com­pound An­nual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 10 per­cent. It is en­vis­aged that the cur­rent fash­ion re­tail mar­ket worth `2,97,091 crore (US $46 bil­lion) will grow at a promis­ing CAGR of 9.7 per­cent to reach `7,48,398 crore (US $115 bil­lion) by 2026.

One rea­son that the oc­ca­sion wear mar­ket stands out amid these im­pres­sive num­bers is the grow­ing awareness of global fash­ion trends has been fu­eled by deep In­ter­net pen­e­tra­tion and the fash­ion and life­style me­dia in In­dia. As a re­sult, the mid­dle class and the young pop­u­la­tion of the coun­try are ex­tremely trend con­scious.

“We are see­ing a shift, in the re­cent years, from the un-or­gan­ised and tai­lored oc­ca­sion wear mar­ket to the or­gan­ised, ready-made oc­ca­sion

wear mar­ket”

– Narinder Kaaur,

De­sign Head, Tur­tle

Ris­ing dis­pos­able in­come among in In­dia among the mid­dle class has led to a change in their pref­er­ences. In­dian con­sumers are now no longer lim­ited to shop­ping based on needs.

Also, need-based shop­ping has grad­u­ated to oc­ca­sion-spe­cific shop­ping. To­day, a con­sumer’s wardrobe has dif­fer­ent at­tire ac­cord­ing to spe­cific oc­ca­sions. The con­sumer is con­cerned about his im­age and is will­ing to dress up ac­cord­ing to the oc­ca­sion. This has re­sulted in in­creased spend­ing on oc­ca­sion wear.

Var­i­ous brands and re­tail­ers have also made sure that there are plenty of choices avail­able for the con­sumer across var­i­ous cat­e­gories, which was not the case tra­di­tion­ally. Most brands have ex­tended the prod­uct of­fer­ings to cap­ture a higher share of wal­let mak­ing it eas­ier for the con­sumer to find the prod­uct suit­able for a spe­cific oc­ca­sion..

Con­sump­tion Pat­terns

To­day’s men have started shop­ping for oc­ca­sion wear more reg­u­larly than hit­ting stores only dur­ing fes­ti­vals or wed­dings, once a year. Since In­di­ans cel­e­brate more than just fes­ti­vals, clothes play an in­te­gral role in ev­ery oc­ca­sion and there are brands upon brands to choose from for men, a change in their shop­ping be­hav­ior has been ob­served over the last five years Higher dis­pos­able in­comes, nu­clear fam­ily set ups and be­ing fash­ion con­scious have also brought about a great change in the spend­ing pat­tern of mod­ern men.

Ravi Gupta, Co-Founder, Gargee De­signer’s states that five years ago, the con­sump­tion pat­tern in met­ros and mini-met­ros was poles apart. “Thanks to the mall cul­ture, pop-up shops and on­line shop­ping plat­forms, the dif­fer­ence has re­duced to a large ex­tent. Now the peo­ple of smaller cities are equally ex­posed to fash­ion­able out­fits and more­over, they are ready to in­vest in such clothes. Smaller cities are grow­ing mar­kets for brands like ours. Mean­while, metro cities are at a sat­u­ra­tion point, they are ar­eas where we al­ready know our tar­get cus­tomers and cater to them ev­ery sea­son.”

Black­ber­rys’ Kale adds, “Met­ros cover all our ranges – from for­mal to oc­ca­sion wear. In non-metro cities, oc­ca­sion

“We have more con­sumers in met­ros than in mini met­ros but now even mini-metro con­sumers are do­ing

sub­stan­tially well”

– Rajnish Sethia,

Direc­tor, Suc­cess

wear suits lead sales. 40 per­cent of the con­sump­tion hap­pens in met­ros and the re­main­ing 60 per­cent con­sump­tion oc­curs in non­metro cities.”

Steele Col­lec­tion also re­ceives an over­whelm­ing re­sponse from metro cities, while Suc­cess ob­serves more con­sump­tion in met­ros than in mini-metro cities.

“The In­dian con­sumer is grow­ing con­scious of pre­mium and su­per pre­mium ap­parel prod­ucts and is more will­ing to pay for the same. Up­wardly mo­bile and wealthy In­di­ans for whom money is of­ten sec­ondary to look­ing their best are ea­ger to dress in a sig­na­ture style. We pro­vide such cus­tomers with sig­na­ture styles,” says Suri.

Ac­cord­ing to Su­mit Dhin­gra, CEO, Ar­row, the oc­ca­sion wear mar­ket is still dom­i­nated by the non-branded sec­tor and made-to-mea­sure stores, but brands are also pick­ing up fast on the op­por­tu­nity.

“We have seen Ar­row suits and blaz­ers sales show­ing healthy num­bers es­pe­cially dur­ing wed­ding and cer­e­mo­nial pe­ri­ods,” he says.

Mar­ket Size

The In­dian men’s wear mar­ket is ap­prox­i­mately `1,51,551 crore to­day. This in­cludes ap­parel such as shirts, trousers, suits, win­ter wear, t-shirts, den­ims and oth­ers in­clud­ing in­ner­wear, ac­cord­ing to Steele Col­lec­tion’s Suri. Of this, ap­prox­i­mately `1.51 lakh crore is the size of the for­mal wear seg­ment which is 10 per­cent or a lit­tle over `15,000 crore.

“Over the next eight years we ex­pect the size of the men’s for­mal wear mar­ket to ex­pand by 15 per­cent while the size of the en­tire men’s wear ap­parel mar­ket is ex­pected to grow at a healthy rate of 10 per­cent. So, by 2026 the an­nual rev­enues gen­er­ated by the men’s wear mar­ket in In­dia will be `2.96 lakh crore and the rev­enues gen­er­ated by suits, jack­ets and tuxe­dos will be ap­prox­i­mately `44,000 crore,” he adds.

“Cur­rently the ma­jor­ity of men’s ap­parel sold in In­dia is sold in the unor­ga­nized sec­tor. But grad­u­ally as con­sumer de­mand for high qual­ity ap­parel in­creases we ex­pect the de­mand for branded ap­parel to in­crease. The unor­ga­nized sec­tor to­day is 60 per­cent of the en­tire men’s wear seg­ment while the re­main­ing space is oc­cu­pied by or­ga­nized and branded play­ers. To­day, the or­ga­nized sec­tor’s rev­enue from sales of for­mal men’s wear ap­parel in­clud­ing suits, jack­ets and tuxe­dos is 10 per­cent of the en­tire or­ga­nized or branded menswear ap­parel seg­ment,” he fur­ther states.

He adds that Delhi-NCR has tremen­dous po­ten­tial for a high-end ap­parel la­bel like his. Apart from the In­dian cap­i­tal, Steele Col­lec­tion has seen great po­ten­tial in cities such as Mum­bai, Bengaluru, Chennai and Pune. Chandigarh is an­other des­ti­na­tion, where Suri be­lieves Steel Col­lec­tion can serve fash­ion­ably as­tute clients.

Com­pe­ti­tion & Op­por­tu­ni­ties

“The size of the men’s for­mal wear mar­ket is ever grow­ing. In the present con­text the credit goes to Bol­ly­wood and more re­cently TV shows, which have al­ways played a sig­nif­i­cant

“Thanks to the mall cul­ture, pop­ups and on­line shop­ping plat­forms,

now peo­ple of smaller cities are also ex­posed to fash­ion­able out­fits and are also ready to in­vest in such


role in de­ter­min­ing eth­nic fash­ion trends. Bet­ter ac­cess to en­ter­tain­ment in ad­di­tion to the ex­plo­sion of e-com­merce sales means that peo­ple in cities of any size now have both trends and pur­chas­ing abil­ity. And that’s the rea­son the fu­ture of for­mal wear is bright and bloom­ing,” says Ravi Gupta of Gargee De­signer’s.

“As far as the or­ga­nized and unor­ga­nized mar­ket is con­cerned, the former is a long term player which un­der­stands the value of brand­ing and works with a set of skilled pro­fes­sion­als, while the lat­ter are sea­sonal play­ers who don’t last long in the mar­ket be­cause of their un­planned work and lim­ited scope of de­sign sense,” he ex­plains.

Rajnish Sethia, Direc­tor, Suc­cess adds that there is a huge growth po­ten­tial in this seg­ment. Both the or­ga­nized and unor­ga­nized mar­ket for oc­ca­sion wear is do­ing well, both the mar­kets run par­al­lel and they have their own set off cus­tomers.

Mean­while, Kaaur says that there has been a shift in the past few years from the un-or­ga­nized and tai­lored oc­ca­sion wear mar­ket to the or­ga­nized ready-made oc­ca­sion wear, where peo­ple are happy to come and chose from the va­ri­ety that re­tail­ers have to of­fer. More­over, with in­ter­na­tional brands com­ing in, the men’s fes­tive and oc­ca­sion wear seg­ment has got­ten more com­pet­i­tive though do­mes­tic brands have not been greatly af­fected.

“This is be­cause in­ter­na­tional brands do not specif­i­cally cater to the oc­ca­sion wear seg­ment, as this seg­ment’s needs are very spe­cific in terms of colours, cuts and tex­tures,” she ex­plains.

Do­mes­tic brands have the up­per hand where the cer­e­mo­nial oc­ca­sion wear seg­ment is con­cerned, opines Kale, since in­ter­na­tional brands have higher price points. Sethia agrees with this say­ing that in­ter­na­tional brands are more into busi­ness wear and ca­sual wear seg­ments, than oc­ca­sion wear.

“In­ter­na­tional brands have ac­tu­ally helped cus­tomers in ex­plor­ing readyto-wear of­fer­ing in the suits and blaz­ers cat­e­gory. Due to this com­pe­ti­tion, the ready-to-wear brands have im­proved their mer­chan­dise over a pe­riod of time,” ex­plains Dhin­gra, ad­ding,” Al­though in­ter­na­tional brands come with of­fer­ings at edgy price points and lat­est trends, but their re­tail pres­ence is lim­ited against lo­cal com­pe­ti­tion.”

Prod­uct Of­fer­ings: Cus­tomiza­tion & In­no­va­tions

Ar­row has a 167-year long her­itage of shirts and the brand has been known as an ex­pert shirt maker since 1851. It has been pi­o­neer­ing prod­uct in­no­va­tion and known for its con­sis­tency of de­liv­er­ing fu­ture prod­ucts to its con­sumers, be it auto press shirts, stitch-less shirts, iconic white shirts, auto flex trousers and even 4-in-1 shirts.

“We work on the con­cept of the shelf calendar which is very de­tailed from the be­gin­ning of the sea­son. We are not

into be­spoke tai­lor­ing as of now, but we give per­son­al­ized cus­tomiza­tion of­fer­ings,” says Dhin­gra.

Sethia on the other hands say that the USP of his brand Suc­cess is in­no­va­tion. “With an in-house pro­duc­tion unit, fac­to­ries equipped with state-of-art ma­chiner­ies and skilled labour, our prod­uct in­no­va­tions are so fast-paced that the time taken for a de­sign from vi­su­al­iza­tion to rack is very short com­pared to other brands,” he ex­pounds.

Mean­while, a brand like Gargee De­signer’s uses its tai­lor­ing process to com­bine tra­di­tional meth­ods with the mod­ern ap­proach in a bid to of­fer their clients a grand col­lec­tion of high-end suit­ing and fine shirt­ing. Ev­ery out­fit the brand pro­duces is cus­tomised with ut­most at­ten­tion to pro­vide the wearer with flaw­lessly crafted cloth­ing.

“We have quite a strong on­line pres­ence as well, with ap­prox­i­mately 12,000 and 2,50,000 fol­low­ers on Face­book and In­sta­gram re­spec­tively. Our out-of-box ap­proach with a touch of tra­di­tion­al­ism, pro­gres­sive vi­sion and tech­ni­cal strength has got us to a dif­fer­ent bench­mark of cus­tom tai­lor­ing,” |shares Gupta. For Black­ber­rys’, the fit what dif­fer­en­ti­ates the brand from oth­ers. The brand’s F3 range is one of its key in­no­va­tions and its luxe suits are crafted from Euro­pean fabrics with pre­mium lin­ings and fus­ing. “Our slim fit and Phoenix fit are per­fectly crafted for In­dian males,” says Kale.

Ac­cord­ing to Suri, Steele Col­lec­tions is all about sus­tain­abil­ity and eth­i­cal man­u­fac­tur­ing tech­niques.

“We try and utilise the most cost ef­fec­tive pro­duc­tion tech­niques that are en­vi­ron­ment friendly. We also em­ploy ecofriendly trims like corozo but­tons. We also of­fer made-to-mea­sure and made-to-order ser­vices for our pre­mium cus­tomers and have plans to com­ing up with MTM Events with the finest in­ter­na­tional de­sign­ers and pat­tern mas­ters,” says Suri.

No won­der then that the men’s ap­parel seg­ment is es­ti­mated to post an an­nual growth rate of 8 per­cent by 2020, grow­ing to US $19 bil­lion as per Euromon­i­tor In­ter­na­tional.

“Oc­ca­sion wear mar­ket is still dom­i­nated by the non-branded sec­tor and made to mea­sure stores but brands are also pick­ing up fast

on the op­por­tu­nity”

– Su­mit Dhin­gra,

CEO, Ar­row “The con­sumer is grow­ing far more con­scious of pre­mium and su­per pre­mium prod­ucts and is more will­ing to pay a pre­mium sum for

the same”

– Surya Suri, Founder, Steele Col­lec­tion

“Tuxe­dos is a big seg­ment for Black­ber­rys and is grow­ing at a good pace. Black­ber­rys has al­ways fo­cused on busi­ness and oc­ca­sion driven suits and that’s the sig­na­ture of the brand”

– Su­varna Kale,

Head of De­sign, Black­ber­rys

IMAGES Busi­ness of Fash­ion

Steele Col­lec­tion store

– Ravi Gupta,Co-Founder, Gargee De­signer’s (with his fa­ther &founder, Shyam Gupta)

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