Demand for denim wear is growing among women globally, as a recent study by NPD Group done among US women revealed US women purchased 22 million more jeans in 2018 than in 2017. In India too, jeans have gained popularity amongst women of all ages, shapes and sizes because of their comfort, functional aspects and durability. Women comfortable with western wear have taken to wearing jeans pairing them with kurtis. “This mix and match style is picking up particularly amongst women in small towns. The women’s denim market, currently worth Rs 30,000 crore, is expected to grow at a CAGR of 15 per cent to reach around Rs 54,000 crore by 2023,” says Sameer Patel, Founder and Chairman, Deal Jeans.
Various industry reports indicate, the women’s denim market in India has been growing exponentially over the past decade. “Influenced by Westernisation, urbanisation and other factors such as new technologies, styles, finish, looks and trends, the denim segment has captured not just big cities, but also Tier I and II towns,” explains Neha Shah, Assistant General Manager-Marketing, Pepe Jeans. “Factors like higher disposable incomes are also contributing to this growth,” adds Patel. The entry of international brands in smaller cities is adding fuel to fire.
Market moves to small towns
More women in smaller towns are opting for denim over ethnic wear. This is luring many big and small brands to open stores in these towns. There are unprecedented opportunities for growth of women’s denims in these markets, say experts. And as Shah points out, “These markets allow you to expand your customer base as not all competitor brands may be present in these cities.” What’s more, looking at the growth opportunities, many global brands have made inroads in small town India. “Organised denim players are catering not only to the premium category but also to the upper-middle and mid-category of consumers. And not many super premium brands have picked up growth in India, with just a handful of stores,” adds Shah.
High-street inspired styles, embellishments rule
Growing demand for fresh styles and design has redefined the denim market in India. The traditional blue denim has now been reinvented into a new avatar with more options in colours, finishes, looks and washes. The availability of stretch denim in the last two years have taken the market by storm as it has addressed the challenges created by demand for a perfect fit and comfort.
More experimental than their male counterparts, women prefers varied styles in terms of, fits, colors, washes, etc. As Samresh Das, Design Manager-Denims, Shirts & Outerwear, Numero Uno notes, “Current style trends in women’s denim focus on high waist, skinny as well as wide leg and flared denims with opened hems, damages and a bit of ripping off.”
Numero Uno has created new high-waisted styles and wide leg fits that flaunt the feminine curves. “We have incorporated a lot of side seam details in printing, taping and laces. We also do placement embroidery enhancement and embellishment with laces,” adds Das.
“This season is also about embroidered, printed denims with ripped and unique washes. Studded and embellished effect denims are ruling with frayed and uneven hems adding the perfect amount of edge to the casual pair,” adds Sameer Patel, Chairman, Deal Jeans. “Classic jeans are being revamped this season with denim basics and work-wear being fine-tuned with assortments like subverted design details and concept cuts,” notes Sanjay Vakharia, CEO, Spykar. The brand has come up with Gymjns -- a pair of jeans with features of an ath-leisure bottom wear. “These jeans with their super stretch fabric and ergonomic construction offer unrestricted freedom of movement, making them an ideal clothing for today’s fast life,” adds Vakharia.
Another ongoing trend in women’s denim is personalisation. “People are looking for styles that define their personality,” adds Shah. The concept of sustainable fashion is also slowly catching on with Pepe Jeans London taking its eco-conscious focus as seriously as its designs for the future of denim.
Prices repositioned for mid-segment
Price plays an important role in influencing purchase decision especially among women. “Many brands are now repositioning their prices to cater not only to sec A but also to the mid-level segment. They are introducing denims across all price segments for a wider audience,” adds Shah. Pepe Jeans London too has introduced denims starting from Rs 1799 for its e-commerce partners. This denim-led Beat London collection is aimed at the younger Pepe Jeans customer, with a price point that is lower than the average Pepe Jeans price point.
Das says high-priced denims are not accepted in India as the presence of international brands dominates the domestic brands. People like to flaunt their money while buying similar products from international brands. “Economic imbalance also plays a big role as people who can afford high priced jeans move to global brands while those who can’t, stick to domestic brands,” he says. However, he points, out it is difficult to reign in denim MRPs due to an increase in cost of raw materials, labor and other economic factors. “Its felt more in denim wear as it involves expensive raw materials, a lot of embellishments and numerous laundry processes,” he says.
Due to the lack of good denim brands in the country, established players are optimistic about steady growth in future. To leverage this growth, these brands have made robust expansion plans. Deal Jeans, which recently launched 15 domestic and three international EBOs, will set up five more EBOs in the near future. “We will also explore overseas market by 2020 as we foresee immense potential there,” adds Patel. On its part, Pepe Jeans plans to create the best in denim wear that appeals to its target audience. “We will focus on sustainability by launching a new range ‘Wiser Wash’. This has minimal water consumption without compromising on the overall look and feel,” adds Shah.