The women’s apparel industry in India is riding a wave of momentum accelerated by relaxed dress codes, fabric innovations, and fusion dressing. Indian women are lucky to have a choice of both western wear and ethnic wear as and when their mood decides. Basically, it’s all about her sense of style as Yves Saint Laurent says, "Fashions fade, style is eternal."So whether it’s dressing up or dressing down, style is a way to say who you are without having to shout it aloud from the rooftops. This style sense percolates down from outerwear into innerwear, giving her a sense of confidence like never before.
Western wear growing rapidly
A Technopak study highlighted western wear takes about 25 percent of the Rs 78,500 crores worth women’s wear market in India. In fact, the growth of this market is much higher than menswear which is growing at 9 percent in comparison. The market is flooded with unbranded smaller players with the share of brands in women’s western wear segment estimated below 25 percent. However, the segment is expected to grow by a whopping 20 percent to eventually cross 40 percent by 2025.
“The market would see a six-fold increase over the next decade. It is faring well owing to the push provided by various e-commerce platforms. This negates the misconception that branded market, owing to its price range, has no takers,” points out Ashish Gurnani, Co-Founder, PostFold.
Fusion wear is the bestseller
Along with western wear, denim, especially 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 both tops, T-shirts as well as kurtis. Indo-western style was just the beginning of everything fusion. Earlier known as the aspirational subcategory of ethnic wear, fusion wear has evolved into a separate category by itself. The basic idea of fusion wear is to combine two different cultures as it fills the gap between ethnic and western clothing.
“In recent times, fusion wear segment has been flooded by international brands that have slowly pushed up the aspiration and purchasing pattern of Indians. However, the presence of these brands is restricted to western wear. Increasing purchasing power of the mid to premium segment is leading to many high-end designers launching their retail prêt sub-brands to push overall sales,” points out Sreyashee Haldar, Design Head of women’s brand W.
Kirti Shah, Director, Zola believes fusion fashion’s growth has just begun. “It still has a long way to go. With teenagers being highly inspired by western culture, fusion wear is likely to play a vital role in the future,” he adds. The brand has created a niche for itself in the segment by providing a premium feel to its customers.
Nothing sells like a good pair of denim jeans
One of the most popular apparel segment is western wear is denim jeans. Denim wear is evolving as a unique apparel category, largely driven by high fashion quotient along with durability and low maintenance costs. “The denim segment has captured not just big cities but also Tier I and II towns. These markets allow you to expand your customer base as not all competitor brands may be present in these cities,” says Neha Shah, Assistant General Manager-Marketing, Pepe Jeans London.
Growing demand for fresh styles and designs has redefined the denim market in India. The traditional blue denim has now been reinvented into a new avatar with more options in colors, finishes, looks and washes. “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,” Our brand has come up with Gymjns -- a pair of jeans with features of ath-leisure bottom wear. These jeans with their super stretch fabric and ergonomic construction offer unrestricted freedom of movement, making them ideal clothing for today’s fast life,” says Sanjay Vakharia, CEO, Spykar.
Innerwear shapes up segment significantly
Modern Indian woman’s openness to indulge in premium innerwear and her sense of style slowly filtering from outerwear into innerwear has given a huge push to the innerwear segment. There have been phases in the Indian apparel industry that have changed the way we dress up. Now is the time for the lingerie segment. Many premium brands are now rocking this niche segment with massive advertising and marketing propaganda. While some Indian women just want to feel comfortable wearing the right lingerie, others want to feel sexy and confident. Whatever the reason, spending on innerwear is now as important as outerwear.
One of the world’s largest intimate apparel companies, Triumph International recently expanded its Triaction Sports bra range with the launch of a new global high-performance collection. “Boasting of the best bounce control levels besides offering versatile fits and ensuring superior comfort, this range supports women effortlessly throughout the day,” affirms Shweta Verma, Head-Marketing of the brand.
Ethnic wear remains popular choice
Traditionally, ethnic wear has remained one of the top categories in women’s apparel segment. However, it has undergone a sea change and taken on a totally new identity with new form-fitting cuts and styles in a wide variety of materials and colors.
The ethnic wear market is largely ruled by unorganized players. Each region has strong players but at the same time, few brands have managed to build a strong presence across India on the basis of ethnic wear alone. “With an increasing move in this segment from unbranded to the branded segment and its resurgence as a garment of choice, I see this segment only growing from strength to strength. We believe we have not penetrated a large geographical spread and we also intend to increase touch-points where our consumers can experience and buy, across online and offline formats,’’ observes Manohar Chatlani, Managing Director of Soch, a leading ethnic wear manufacturer