Rein­vent­ing Dress­ing

Ap­parel in In­dia is a huge mar­ket sim­ply be­cause of the mas­sive pop­u­la­tion. There is also a dif­fer­ence in the way that peo­ple dress, es­pe­cially women, based on the city they live in. How­ever, this dif­fer­ence is slowly van­ish­ing and women in tier II and ti

Apparel - - Contents -

A look at the chang­ing styles of In­dian con­sumers

Over the past years, ev­ery­thing has changed, es­pe­cially when we are talk­ing about ‘In­dian cul­ture’. No mat­ter whether you are in Delhi or Kolkata or even Bi­har, peo­ple have switched from In­dian saris and suits to western cloth­ing.

NEW VIS­TAS

What ap­peals most to the global fash­ion cul­ture as far as In­dia is con­cerned is, ‘the beau­ti­ful and fash­ion­able In­dian woman’. To­day’s In­dian woman, hail­ing from metro cities as well as tier II and III cities, is self-styled, con­fi­dent and in­de­pen­dent. There is a dras­tic change not only in her body lan­guage but also in her cloth­ing style. “With the chang­ing times, the num­ber of work­ing women has in­creased and this has given them more free­dom to spend on their cloth­ing. Fol­low­ing the rise of the In­ter­net and smart­phone us­age, more women liv­ing in tier II and III cities are now able to stay au courant of lat­est fash­ion trends, and have be­come smart con­sumers who know what they want,” avers Naina Jain, Owner/Founder, Naina Jain. The sari, which was con­sid­ered reg­u­lar wear at one point, has now mor­phed into oc­ca­sion wear. Not just in the cities, even the women in the hin­ter­land to­day have ex­po­sure and ac­cess to fash­ion, thanks to their mo­bile phones that open up the gates to the In­ter­net and e-com­merce. Even though the in­ter­pre­ta­tion of ‘mod­ern’ in ru­ral ar­eas might be re­stricted to team­ing a kurti with a pair of jeans, there is a de­fin­i­tive change in the way cloth­ing is be­ing per­ceived—it is not tra­di­tional any­more. Man­ja­ree Pathak Ban­er­jee, Di­rec­tor, UR Style File says, “With the open­ing up of mall cul­ture, the cities have adapted to the western cul­ture very eas­ily. Even in ru­ral In­dia, In­dian wear has been re­placed by the more western tu­nics and jeans. Per­haps con­ve­nience is also to be taken into ac­count—where the cus­tomer has sur­ren­dered to his/her con­ve­nience.”

RE­SEARCH R MAT­TERS

Ac­cord­ing A to a study by Naina Jainain mak­ing a strong case for tier II and III cities,es, fac­tors like l ris­ing in­ter­na­tional air­port con­nec­tiv­ity ti it across a cities such as Luc­know, Kochi, Bhubaneswar B and Nag­pur to name a few, and a ris­ing lev­els of dis­pos­able in­come have prompted p var­i­ous global and lo­cal brands to t plan their ex­pan­sion plans in these cities. c It has been seen that with chang­ing times, even the most tra­di­tional ap­parel has been mod­i­fied to hold an ur­ban look with­out com­pro­mis­ing on tra­di­tion. Man­ish Dhawan, CEO & Founder, Be­yond Pink avers, “After crit­i­cally eval­u­at­ing the kind of clothes women pre­fer in tier II and III cities, I ex­am­ined that Indo-western cloth­ing has be­come a trend now. Wear­ing jeans, t-shirts, miniskirts and es­pe­cially party or evening gowns has be­come com­mon among ev­ery In­dian girl now. As per the sur­vey con­ducted by Fash­ion For­ward 2020 in March 2017, the de­mand of western clothes will rise by 60-70 per cent in the mar­ket, which is four times growth by 2020. As per the sur­vey of sta­tis­ti­cal growth of Be­yond Pink, it has a vi­sion for 100 per cent growth all over In­dia and abroad in the next five years.” Priyanka Modi, De­signer, AM:PM by Ankur and Priyanka Modi ex­plains, “Over the years, in­creas­ing per­sonal dis­pos­able in­comes, a young pop­u­la­tion and in­stant ac­cess to global fash­ion trends have re­sulted in the grad­ual rise of as­pi­ra­tion amongst In­dian con­sumers. I truly be­lieve that fash­ion is a pri­mary in­di­ca­tor of the zeit­geist. It re­flects the way we live, think, and be­lieve—at home and in en­vi­ron­ments out­side of it.”

DE­MAND DRIV­ERS

One of the big­gest driv­ers of this change is e-com­merce that has not just reached the tier II and III cities in In­dia but is also trans­form­ing them by giv­ing small-town res­i­dents an op­por­tu­nity to buy goods on­line at a cheaper price than the lo­cal mar­ket. It also pro­vides re­mote ar­eas with big-city con­ve­niences and the lat­est prod­ucts. Con­tem­po­rary fash­ion items that can­not be found in town are eas­ily shipped. More­over, more and more brands are look­ing to in­crease the pen­e­tra­tion of their smaller for­mat re­tail stores in tier II and III cities in a bid to in­crease

their th to­tal sales. With fi­nan­cial in­de­pen­dence and a free­dom to make their own de­ci­sions, the res­i­dents re of smaller towns and cities are the key to the growth of fash­ion as an in­dus­try in In­dia. In­creas­ing In house­hold dis­pos­able in­come is an added a cat­a­lyst for the growth of value added prod­ucts p in the fash­ion space. The as­pi­ra­tions of o In­dian con­sumers have en­abled the shift from ‘nneed’ to ‘want’ and the in­crease in the share of wal­let w for dis­cre­tionary spend­ing has em­pow­ered the th lo­cal peo­ple to spend more on fash­ion. Soma Ban­er­jee, B Di­rec­tor, UR Style File adds, “I think the th pur­chas­ing power amongst the masses re­mains re the same be­cause it got neu­tralised with w higher ex­penses. Per­haps the smart­phone has h done the trick—e-com­merce is just a click away. aw More and more e-por­tals are giv­ing this op­tion o to re­place the prod­uct in case it does not fit or it is not liked, so the dam­age is not borne by b the client, and more­over it (e-com­merce) comes c with the con­ve­nience of sit­ting at home and a pay­ing through COD at a much cheaper price.” p Dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion of fash­ion along with mul­ti­ple touch­points to of con­tent con­sump­tion has changed the th fash­ion land­scape in tier II and III cities. “DDe­ci­sions re­lated to fash­ion are made based on the th mi­lieu which is in­creas­ingly be­ing in­flu­enced by b in­ter­na­tional trends along with a tar­get group (TTG) that is more fash­ion con­scious. This change is fur­ther fu­elled by a rise in pur­chas­ing power and a brands in­creas­ing their foot­prints in tier II and III cities, mak­ing the lat­est trends more ac­ces­si­ble to con­sumers there,” says Srini­vasa Rao, Sr Vice V Pres­i­dent, Mar­ket­ing, Life­style. Like­wise,

so­cial me­dia aware­ness is also con­tribut­ing to a spiked de­mand. De­signer Bhu­mika Grover says, “I would def­i­nitely say so­cial me­dia has played an im­por­tant part in the evolv­ing fash­ion sense and with so many young new age de­sign­ers com­ing in, the whole con­cept has changed; peo­ple un­der­stand less is more and it’s not just the clothes, but also the ac­ces­sories that play an im­por­tant part in the whole look.”

TREND CHECK

In­dia is a geo­graphic lo­ca­tion, which con­sists of a mix­ture of peo­ple from dif­fer­ent cul­tures and re­li­gions, set­tled in var­i­ous cities, towns and vil­lages. Ini­tially, the sense and style of fash­ion var­ied on the ba­sis of their sur­round­ings. But with the rise in tech­nol­ogy, in­come and other fac­tors, peo­ple hail­ing from tier II and III cities have adapted them­selves to western clothes. How­ever, the eth­nic form isn’t far be­hind too. But the coun­try most cer­tainly has seen an evo­lu­tion of western wear and the mar­ket is grow­ing by the day. The mar­ket for women’s wear in In­dia has prob­a­bly be­come ex­tremely lu­cra­tive in terms of va­ri­ety and scope. This has been the key rea­son for in­ter­na­tional brands to fo­cus on the im­mense po­ten­tial for growth in this seg­ment. The mil­len­nial women are very adapt­able to changes and they love ex­per­i­ment­ing with any­thing that is new and at­trac­tive. The over­all women’s wear mar­ket in cities as well as smaller towns is heav­ily dom­i­nated by eth­nic wear like saris. Ca­sual wear brands are tak­ing note of the ris­ing in­ter­est in western cloth­ing in these ar­eas. So, they are com­ing up with a mix of eth­nic and western wear that is fu­sion wear to ful­fill the dual de­mand. “For ex­am­ple, denim along with a straight kurti with a high waist slit to com­plete the fu­sion look. Once con­sid­ered a niche mar­ket, the Indo-western fu­sion wear seg­ment is wit­ness­ing dou­ble digit growth. Fur­ther tweak­ing the prod­uct to ap­peal to the sen­si­bil­i­ties of the young In­dian women in tier II and III cities will go a long way in dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing and not merely be­ing a me-too brand,” says Jain. De­signer Hema Kaul opines, “Den­ims are very pop­u­lar. Glob­al­i­sa­tion has also im­pacted the way women dress, as women are more fash­ion con­scious and more aware of their fash­ion trends and styling. There is also a huge de­mand for western wear amongst women. Women are look­ing for fu­sion wear, Indo-western and eth­nic, all kinds of ap­parel.” The dy­nam­ics of women’s wear are cer­tainly chang­ing and this is au­gur­ing well for man­u­fac­tur­ers and con­sumers alike.

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