As we inch closer to winter, the warm woollen wear lying in our wardrobes begins to see the light of day once again, while newer trend collections too make their way to the store shelves. Bindu Gopal Rao explores.
It’s that time of the year when the nip in the air is palpable. It is also that time when apparel manufacturers get out their warm fabrics and the season when woollen rules the roost.
There has been a spree of increasing fondness for the knitted wear market in the country. Unlike the usual designs in the usual fabrics, a range of hues and clothing materials has been introduced and is being celebrated widely.
Both knitted and non-knitted winter wear are in high demand, as they vary with the consumers’ budget and lifestyle. However, knitted apparel is witnessing a faster increase in demand compared to woven apparel. Rajat Wahi, Partner, Deloitte India, says, “Lightweight knitwear is a trending category and is expected to continue its growth in the coming years as it is more fashionable as well as comfortable. Many major retailers are emphasising on cotton sweaters and lightweight sweatshirts that deliver both fashion and functionality.” With the consumer going for smarter and functional wear, the Indian woollen wear market has stepped into the era of creating a balance between style and functionality. The choices are inclining more towards garments which, along with satiating the weather conditions, are feasible to carry. Leaving behind the need-based winter market, the share of woollen wear has increased by leaps and bounds now. Ashima Sharma, owner of Ashima S Couture says, “The latest launches in woollen apparel are woollen capes and ponchos which are to be worn over a top or a sweatshirt. Also, full-length woollen dresses with appliqué patches are a western trend which will be seen trending in India too.”
The advent of year-round woollen fabrics that can be worn not only in the winters, but also in the summers is a given today. Summer fabrics made of fine wool which is lightweight and of finer
microns are popular. “To increase mmarket reach in an already niche segment, product re-engineering is essential. The products are made with an optimum percentage of wool, blended with poly and/or viscose in fine counts/microns. The intention is to make the drape impeccable, the finish smooth and the price affordable, catering primarily to the mass premium segments. Grado from the House of OCM has recently launched these fabrics as part of the mid-season range. The products span across superfine 90s to 140s poly/wool/viscose blends,” says Vikram Mahaldar, MD, OCM. Finishes/treatments are applied to woollen fabrics to further enhance the performance of the product, such as the machine washable finish which is especially treated with a polymer to improve the after wash appearance. Wrinkle resistance is given through a chemical treatment that has a strong covalent bond, which replaces the weaker hydrogen bonds and gives more stability to the fabric. Aroma treatment on fabrics (particularly for special occasions) is coated with nano-capsules and emanates the respective fragrance.
Hand-woven stripes and abstract print stripes in weaves are a massive win this winter. This season could also be called aloud as ‘the season of blends and mixes’. Garments in cashmere mixed with wool, silk and linen are the newest launches in town. In terms of shirting, cotton shirts with flannel finish are also in vogue. TToday,day woollen wear has gone beyond the cliché jerseys. “The modern gentleman now is as precise as never before. Be it a casual day, a gathering or the wedding day, new heights of creating trends are touched at every aspect. Talking about the trends for this winter, it is all about asymmetrical cuts and blends of prints and embroideries. Detailing in terms of embroideries and quirky patterns is becoming a must. Talking about accessories, grooms are going for shawls instead of the regular stoles with sherwanis, thus adding a little quirk yet class,” says Saggar Mehra, Creative Director at House of Sunil Mehra. Consumers are moving towards a more versatile wardrobe space–the blazer has taken the prime role in a variety of occasions. “Although it is something that everyone wears, its importance is even more emphasised in the consumer’s wardrobe now. The new age urban customer is also seen shifting from off-the-shelf jackets to a more customised/ tailored solution. Blazers can be worn with contrast trousers and shirts to office, and worn down with a pair of jeans and sneakers and a t-shirt for an evening out. Another top trend is superfine 140s woollen shirting fabrics and kurta fabrics in fine wool blends, which are the top sellers in the northern and eastern parts of India,” adds Mahaldar.
HAND-WOVEN STRIPES AND ABSTRACT PRINT STRIPES IN WEAVES ARE A MASSIVE WIN THIS WINTER.