Stylish On The Beach

The beach­wear and re­sortwear seg­ments are mov­ing at a break-neck speed, which has even prompted open­ing of ex­clu­sive re­tail out­lets for the cat­e­gories. Trends for travel and relaxation have evolved man­i­fold and so re­sortwear and des­ti­na­tion cloth­ing have

Business of Fashion - - Contents - -By Me­her Castelino

The beach­wear and re­sortwear seg­ments are mov­ing at a break-neck speed, which has even prompted open­ing of ex­clu­sive re­tail out­lets for the cat­e­gories. A re­search.

Decades ago there were just two cat­e­gories in fash­ion – In­dian and western wear. Then a decade ago these two cat­e­gories were fur­ther di­vided into bridal and ca­sual wear. When the first fash­ion week started in In­dia in Au­gust 2000 in New Delhi, it was termed as just a fash­ion week but when two an­nual fash­ion weeks were sched­uled after the part­ing of ways be­tween the Fash­ion De­sign Coun­cil of In­dia in Delhi and Lakmé in Mum­bai in 2006, it was de­cided that they would fol­low the western for­mat of spring/sum­mer and au­tumn/win­ter.

But in March 2010 Lakmé Fash­ion Week in Mum­bai cre­ated a new cat­e­gory in fash­ion called re­sortwear and so the spring/sum­mer sea­son ti­tle was re­placed with sum­mer-re­sort in Fe­bru­ary/March each year. The re­sortwear cat­e­gory gave In­dian de­sign­ers the per­fect plat­form to show­case their cre­ativ­ity since a ma­jor part of In­dia has a sunny cli­mate that is ideal for re­sortwear.

In 2012 the re­sortwear cat­e­gory prompted a full-fledged fash­ion week called In­dia Re­sort Fash­ion Week with Goa as its base. Pallav Ojha cre­ated the In­dia Beach Fash­ion Week brand in 2015 and in 2018 the beach­wear and re­sortwear seg­ments are mov­ing at break-neck speed, which has even prompted the open­ing of ex­clu­sive re­tail out­lets for these two cat­e­gories.


The pioneer of re­sortwear in In­dia has to be de­signer Wen­dell Ro­dricks who set up his stu­dio in Goa, his home state in 1993 and brought the lan­guid, easy, style on the ramp from his first fash­ion show for the Glitterati fash­ion house in 1990.

The re­laxed, uni-size fash­ion, Wen­dell pre­sented was loved by both sexes and nearly two decades later has in­spired many de­sign­ers. Keep­ing his beau­ti­ful sur­round­ings Wen­dell ex­plains his de­sign phi­los­o­phy.

“After I moved to Goa in 1993, re­sortwear be­came one of the foun­da­tion stones of my fash­ion phi­los­o­phy. It was no easy feat to trans­late ab­stract themes such as sea breeze or the ocean into cloth­ing. But we man­aged to live up to the chal­lenge and to­day the con­cept of re­sortwear and beach­wear are very much a part of the Wen­dell Ro­dricks la­bel that is en­forced in ev­ery col­lec­tion by my suc­ces­sor Schu-

len Fer­nan­des. Re­sort has been a trend in In­dia since the mid 90’s. With the ac­cess and pop­u­lar­ity of In­dian beaches, de­sign­ers and the pub­lic re­alised that what they wear in a re­sort hol­i­day des­ti­na­tion is very dif­fer­ent from what they would wear in an ur­ban set­ting. I know clients who have a Goa wardrobe. They feel these clothes suit a place like Goa and they would rather wear it in a place near the sea. On the other hand, I ap­proach the clothes in such a way that who­ever wears the clothes, if they shut their eyes and dream, they are on a Goan hol­i­day be­cause of the light feel of the gar­ment in a crowded city.”

Wen­dell’s clients are var­ied as he states, “Age has noth­ing to do with re­sortwear. Ma­ture ladies may pre­fer a kaf­tan and a younger mil­len­nial may like a cropped top. Re­sortwear cov­ers a wide range of gar­ments from a gypsy gha­gra skirt to a chif­fon sari.”

The ben­e­fits of re­sortwear Wen­dell feels are, “Be­cause it is light on the body and on the purse, the best part of re­sortwear is that you can pile on the ac­ces­sories. From chunky bracelets to bright strappy footwear, gold, sil­ver and metal­lic tones for shoes and bags, re­sort wear and beach­wear show off the best of beach, breeze, sun and surf.”

The best fab­rics for the col­lec­tions ac­cord­ing to Wen­dell are “Light cot­tons, linens, breezy silks, chif­fons, crepe and satin all make the mark. We don’t do prints but other de­sign­ers who do prints tell me that prints sell well. As for colours-ev­ery­thing goes. From ba­sic white to all the rain­bow hues, and from the pas­tels to neu­trals and black.”

Ken Ferns is an­other de­signer who con­cen­trates on re­sortwear with hints of swim­suits creep­ing in. Colour and a pro­fu­sion of flo­ral and ab­stract prints are the high­light of Ken’s cre­ations that com­prise maxi skirts, bralets, ruf­fled mi­nis, cool cov­ers, sarongs and shrugs.

As­mita Marwa is known for her re­laxed cool re­sort looks, which of­fer an al­most Zen like ap­pear­ance with drapes and lay-

ers in solid hues but with sheer or­ganic fab­rics be­ing a favourite. Kaf­tans, dhoti pants, an­gu­lar to­gas, lay­ered maxis, beach robes and long lay­ered dresses of­fer a fash­ion­able choice.

The Ve­ran­dah la­bel by An­jali Pa­tel Mehta is a spe­cial­ist with a hol­i­day wardrobe and so the gar­ments have fun prints for skirts, strappy blouses, printed hal­ter maxis and floor length shrugs. De­signer Sou­nia Go­hil has a great line of re­sortwear with white as its base for short cov­ers, will-power midis, biki­nis with shrugs, long slit skirts, off-shoul­der blouses and sheer beach robes over swimwear.

Aniket Satam keeps it young and trendy with sim­ple shift dresses, sheer maxis over play­suits and baggy shorts with cropped tops.

Anu­pa­maa Dayal is an­other re­sortwear spe­cial­ist whose la­bel is known for the bright, vi­brant, prints and colours. Launched in 2004, since then Anu­pa­maa is seen at most fash­ion weeks in In­dia and abroad with her fluid, carefree, fun filled, col­lec­tion of beach­wear and re­sortwear cre­ations that ap­peal to In­dian as well as western buy­ers.

“I think we strad­dle re­sortwear as it is a big chunk of what we do. While most of what we make also works well for ur­ban lives in cities with warm climes but as a cat­e­gory to tick, it would be re­sortwear. The need for travel, relaxation, ex­pe­ri­ence, es­capism has in­creased man­i­fold in the last decade and so it is mostly the ma­ture woman who loves the con­cept of re­sortwear,” in­forms Anu­pa­maa who cre­ates two col­lec­tions a year and keeps them re­ally happy with large flo­rals, mixed prints and bold graph­ics.

Anu­pa­maa agrees that In­dian de­sign­ers are cre­at­ing more re­sortwear as, “It is our strength. Our fab­rics are light and we han­dle fluid sil­hou­ettes much bet­ter than struc­tured. Also our strengths of colour, print, tex­tile and crafts are very well suited to sea­side wear needs.”


Cre­at­ing quite a sen­sa­tion, de­sign­ers Shivan Bhatiya and Nar­resh Kukreja for their la­bel Shivan-Nar­resh be­came the

first In­dian de­sign­ers to make a splash on the In­dian and in­ter­na­tional fash­ion scene with their swimwear line in 2008. Since then their vi­brant beach and re­sort wear col­lec­tions have daz­zled Bol­ly­wood, Hol­ly­wood and celebri­ties.

Ev­ery col­lec­tion from the de­sign­ing duo has an in­no­va­tive theme with in­ter­est­ing con­struc­tion and fab­rics used for the beach­wear and re­sortwear. The one­piece swim­suits, biki­nis, monoki­nis and trink­i­nis have unique de­signs, while the colour­ful re­sortwear prints are used for the amaz­ing maxis, sarongs, and even re­sort bridal wear trousseaux like lehen­gas, blouses, sa­ree gowns and du­pat­tas. Of­ten in­spired by well-known artists and re­sort des­ti­na­tions their spe­cially cre­ated fab­rics are the USP of the brand. Be­sides us­ing Ly­cra and neo­prene, they also have techno for­ward fab­rics that can act against chlo­rine, sand, peel­ing, curl­ing, sun­screen and oil. The de­sign­ing duo is also known for their colour block­ing and the choice of hues they use, which are bold and dar­ing.

Nidhi Mu­nim is an­other de­signer who has de­voted her brand since 2012 mainly to swimwear with colour­ful beach cov­ers added on. Her cre­ations have been fea­tured for the King­fisher cal­en­dar and also for the Miss In­dia con­tests.

“The swimwear and beach­wear cat­e­gory is be­com­ing a life­style seg­ment, mov­ing out of its niche cat­e­gory to be­ing a main­stream cat­e­gory in In­dia. For me, it’s def­i­nitely a life­style that I thrive in. The In­dian mar­ket has be­come more con­scious and ac­cept­ing swimwear and beach­wear as a cat­e­gory. In­dian women want to make an ef­fort to look their most gor­geous selves dur­ing their hol­i­days and are will­ing to work to­wards build­ing the right wardrobe that suits their body type. The con­sumer pro­file for this cat­e­gory is very var­ied. Right from the teenager to the ma­ture women, any age and any size have be­come more aware and con­fi­dent with body pos­i­tiv­ity to sport the right swimwear and beach­wear that suits their body type. With the evolv­ing con­sumer who is more of a globe trotter and a well trav­elled cus­tomer, the need for swimwear and beach­wear has grown and ma­tured and so has the mar­ket.”

Nidhi cre­ates four col­lec­tions a year driven by the fes­tive and travel sea­sons. “Pops and mono­tones are clas­sic ‘must haves’ in this cat­e­gory. Our USP is our ikat print se­ries, which makes for our sig­na­ture state­ment print ev­ery sea­son,” in­forms Nidhi.

De­signer Aakriti Grover’s flir­ta­tious la­bel is to­tally de­voted to swimwear in bright solids as well as multi-coloured stripes since 2013. From swimwear to play­suits, body­suits and biki­nis, Aakriti has them with tiny cov­ers or sarong saris for evening glam­our.



With beach­wear and re­sortwear turn­ing into very im­por­tant cat­e­gories the re­tail in­dus­try has re­alised its need, which prompted Pallav Ojha the name be­hind the In­dia Beach Fash­ion Week con­cept in In­dia since 2015 to start a beach and re­sortwear store COMO in Goa to fill this void in 2017. The 2000 sq.ft. ul­tra mod­ern out­let is a big at­trac­tion in the re­sort state.

“The cat­e­gory of beach­wear and re­sortwear is tak­ing cen­tre stage lately with the global travel trends. Across the globe there has been a shift in mid­dle, up­per mid­dle and higher in­come con­sumers plan­ning min­i­mum 2 travel trips to a max­i­mum of 8 to 10 in­ter­na­tional and lo­cal travel des­ti­na­tions across the year. With so­cial plat­forms be­ing su­per-ac­tive, re­sort and des­ti­na­tion cloth­ing has be­come an es­sen­tial tool to flaunt one’s style while trav­el­ling. From long va­ca­tions to short trips, des­ti­na­tion wear is a key driver to ex­press one’s in­di­vid­u­al­ity and fash­ion state­ment while trav­el­ling,” in­forms Pallav.

Ac­cord­ing to Pallav, “A sur­vey, in 2014 shows the global swimwear and re­sortwear mar­ket was worth USD20.9 bil­lion. By 2019, this num­ber is ex­pected to hit USD 28.3 bil­lion. In re­cent years, ma­jor fash­ion brands like Stella McCart­ney, Ralph Lau­ren, Roberto Cavalli, Louis Vuit­ton, Ver­sace, Moschino, Tony Burch and Givenchy, have all started of­fer­ing lux­ury swimwear apart from in­de­pen­dent de­sign la­bels who see this as an op­por­tu­nity to build numbers as well as ex­press their de­sign sen­si­bil­i­ties for this cat­e­gory.”

The COMO - De­sign­ers Col­lec­tive fo­cuses on des­ti­na­tion wear as a com­plete pack­age with day prêt, swimwear, evening and party wear, while one is hol­i­day­ing, at­tend­ing a des­ti­na­tion wed­ding or cruis­ing along and it has a holis­tic ap­proach to­wards the en­tire cat­e­gory with state­ment cloth­ing, trendy jew­ellery, edgy ac­ces­sories, footwear and other

key es­sen­tials. COMO has also cre­ated op­por­tu­nity for over 60 de­sign­ers from In­dia and abroad to be fo­cussed to work un­der this cat­e­gory. The price point has been con­trolled with en­sem­bles start­ing at `3,000 on­wards, jew­ellery and ac­ces­sories start­ing at `1,500 only.

Pallav adds, “Travel and hol­i­day­ing has be­come a part of ones to-do-list now and it’s not only sub­jected to the up­per in­come groups. The world is grad­u­ally mov­ing to­wards the new age trav­eller phe­nom­ena like the 60’s and 70’s how­ever with a dif­fer­ent style and so­phis­ti­ca­tion. Boho-chic is not only a fash­ion­able word for the blogs; we see it ev­ery day while our con­sumers shop at COMO. As men­tioned ear­lier, so­cial me­dia has be­come a key driver to push this life­style and to­day flaunt­ing stylish travel pic­tures is part of one’s so­cial man­date. This has also built a com­mu­nity like ex­pe­ri­ence to share ex­pe­ri­ences, travel de­tails, places to visit and shop, while they travel. This phe­nom­e­non is only get­ting big­ger and prom­i­nent across age groups, in­come groups and in­flu­encers.”

The pop­u­lar fab­rics for re­sortwear vary from chif­fons, geor­gettes to li­nen and com­fort­able cot­tons. Unique blends of cot­ton, vis­cose, ny­lon, polyester-mesh, polyester-stretch, mesh cot­ton, polyester ny­lon, polyester mesh, ny­lon taffeta, polyamide and scuba amongst oth­ers.

“An im­por­tant key driver is the com­fort, hence span­dex and stretch ma­te­ri­als have been largely used across cat­e­gory to en­sure style, so­phis­ti­ca­tion along with move­ment. An­other in­ter­est­ing cat­e­gory we have just launched is the de­signer fit­ness cloth­ing, while you travel, which is the be­gin­ning of an­other unique cat­e­gory by it­self. Ma­ture women love this cat­e­gory! While they may have a more re­fined taste, we en­sure cus­tomi­sa­tion as per their choice of de­signer, fab­rics and size spec­i­fi­ca­tions,” ob­serves Pallav. The pop­u­lar­ity of this cat­e­gory is spi­ralling up­wards as Pallav notes, “This is a cat­e­gory, which helps de­sign­ers ex­press their in­di­vid­u­al­ity in the most in­ter­est­ing man­ner. In­dian de­sign­ers are ex­port­ing re­sortwear and beach­wear in huge numbers across the con­ti­nents. The buy­ers have started lov­ing the de­sign sen­si­bil­i­ties of In­dian de­sign­ers lately as it’s only get­ting ma­tured ev­ery day. The colours, shapes, sur­face or­na­men­ta­tion, fab­rics, sil­hou­ettes have grad­u­ally be­come more re­fined. The cul­tural and art in­flu­ence of In­dia is now be­ing de­picted keep­ing in mind the global con­sumer. While In­dian and bridal wear has been build­ing huge rev­enues for de­sign­ers in the last 35 years, the de­sign­ers now want to break free and fo­cus onto a new global cat­e­gory, reach out to more au­di­ences, even if the in­spi­ra­tion is In­dia. Re­sort and des­ti­na­tion wed­dings con­nected to this cat­e­gory are a huge rev­enue churner for de­sign­ers. Both es­tab­lished and young de­sign­ers have started fo­cussing on this cat­e­gory for both tra­di­tional In­dian and western brides. The col­lec­tion for a des­ti­na­tion wed­ding is de­signed, keep­ing in mind the jour­ney across the days from cock­tails, pool par­ties, beach wed­ding and other key oc­ca­sions.”

Hav­ing been con­nected with re­sort and beach fash­ion for so many years Pallav sees a bright and grow­ing fu­ture for these seg­ments. “This cat­e­gory will only get big­ger and bet­ter in the years to come as the con­sumers across the globe with var­i­ous ge­o­graph­i­cal chal­lenges have re­alised the way to Nir­vana is travel. They are look­ing at ‘beach-to-bar’ so­lu­tions while they travel and it’s not lim­ited to a spe­cific style or sil­hou­ette. As con­sumers travel more of­ten, the swimwear cat­e­gory is ex­pand­ing be­yond bathing suits and es­padrilles and giv­ing birth to a new genre of hol­i­day des­ti­na­tion wear that works in the city as well as on the sand and in­cludes items like cro­chet shorts, palazzo pants, cot­ton kaf­tans, em­broi­dered cover-ups, beach hats, can­vas bags, Bo­hemian sandals and fringed tu­nics,” con­cludes Pallav.

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