Popularity of denim among Indian women is well established. It’s more about brands making inroads and women looking for latest trends in line with their western counterparts. The overall women’s wear market is in India is pegged at Rs 78,500 crores, and expected to grow at 9 per cent for the next five years. Women’s denim wear on the other hand is growing at 17 per cent year on year, says a Technopak Study. In fact, over the last decade, denim has penetrated deep in the metros and mini metros, especially among the younger generation. What’s more, working women in small cities have accepted denim as a casual outfit. Growing focus of retailers and brands on women’s denim have also contributed to its penetration in the country.
“Denim is among the fastest growing categories in women’s casual apparel segment in India registering a growth rate of approx 18 per cent or more. Various factors have contributed to its growth a huge amount of innovation in styling, new technologies, new trends and opening up of new territories have worked I tandem. Denim is a high growth casual wear category its versatile, fashionable, and comfortable, with vast choices available in fabrics, finishes, looks, fits, colours and functionality. Women in Tier II, III towns are also adapting to the changing trends and opting for denim wear,” says Narinder Singh Dhingra, Chairman & Managing Director, Numero Uno.
Sharing similar views Sameer Patel, chairman & Managing Director, Deal Jeans, says, “For a majority of Indian women, denim is not just casual wear it is more fashion statement. Among all types of denim wear, jeans are the most popular among Indian women. Different groups and of women in all shapes and sizes prefer denim as it is comfortable, functional, and durable. Also, many are not comfortable with western wear have taken to wearing jeans pairing them with ethnic wear. Mix and match style is gradually picking up, particularly in small town women from a traditional background, this is fuelling growth in this segment.”
Rise of fabrics and fits
Denim has gone through several fashion phases and now is more versatile. “First, it has high elasticity in fabrics. Second, the fabric is thin and lighter when compared with men’s denim. It revolves around eight and half, nine and nine and half ounce, while in men’s segment, 11 to 12 ounce fabric s are used which are less stretchable. Though now the use of stretchable fabrics has gone up in men’s denim also the fabrics are thicker and heavier,” says Masum Khandur, MD, Clench Denim. He further adds “fashion denim makes up 60 per cent of the total consumption. Basic denim is always less explored with colours, less experimented with in design and washes. It is priced less also.”
Giving insights, he adds “The women’s denim segment is huge in India. It offers a lot of scope and that’s why we don’t want to get into any other segment. We focus on design. Currently, torn and ankle length denim are in demand. Many unconventional colours are in. Washes have undergone a transformation. Mid waist denim runs majorly. At the same time, multiple types of fabrics are available in denim today – cotton denim, knitted denim or indigo hosiery denim. Embroidery has been gaining traction after a gap of three to four years. Prints are completely out.”
One of the major characteristics of the domestic market is its price sensitivity. Economic factors such as increase in personal income, interest rates, and job growth play significant roles in the fashion industry and consumer spending. But irrespective of this fact, women’s denim segment will contributes 9 per cent to the market and in the coming years, this category is expected to grow at a higher pace. Explaining the market potential, Dhingra says, “Branded is not just an acceptance in urban areas but also in rural areas as aspirational consumers seek better quality and brand image. With branded tag gaining importance, the numbers of players in this segment are expected to grow in.” India is a big market with a lot of untapped potential for women’s denim despite the fact that the industry has been growing robustly over the past few years.