Fusion wear gives a modern appeal to Indian ethnic wear. “The basic idea of fusion wear is to combine two different cultures as it fills the gap between ethnic and western clothing. Even a few years back fusion wear was an evolving category and just the aspirational new subcategory of ethnic wear. But today Fusion wear is a clear category by itself and it is brands like W that have revolutionized this entire segment,” opines Sreyashee Halder, Design Head of W. Fusion wear is in high demand in Tier II and III cities as well as the metros.
Fusion wear is all about the right mix and match
The fusion wear segment has gone through various transformations over the years. Originally confined to categories like saris, kurta sets, and salwar kameez, it has gradually transformed to kurta sets having no dupattas, salwars have switched over to leggings, palazzos, straight fit pants, and tight trousers. It all depends on how the wearer combines it with a more leaning towards ethnic or western. “Fusion wear brands such as W need to put a lot of effort into building a brand identity, clearly defining its USP, making it differentiated from the mass and then finally being able to sustain that positioning. Constant and innovative changes in the product portfolio every few months, is just part of the brand identity,” explains Halder.
Given India’s climatic conditions, there is rising awareness about eco-friendly fabrics “This season we have launched eco-friendly sustainable ‘Liva- Eco’ fabrics apart from the regular cotton, rayons and natural flax that are predominantly a part of our range. Dresses today are no longer defined as western. We have launched ‘Yolodress’ with innovative prints, silhouettes, and colours to create a fusion dress. Our new range of summer suits comprises of a three-piece set in cotton with a short kurta, cropped pants and a layer of a light voile long jacket, mostly in monochrome. The colour palette next season is vivid and combined unusually to be unique,’’ points out Halder.
Designer wear push up middle class aspirations
The medium range is always the bestseller segment especially now when purse strings are tight. Summer months are hot and humid and heavy expensive garments are not popular. Premium and Super premium markets are definitely evolving but it needs to have its own niche and identity. Only differentiated and unique brands in this category will grow or survive as simultaneously the mass market is rapidly spreading and capturing majority. It is mainly during the festive or marriage season that the more expensive brands do well.
Halder believes big players and expensive designer wear have pushed up sales in ethnic and fusion wear categories. With higher purchasing power of the mid to premium segment, many designers have launched retail prêt sub-brand to push up overall sales. “In recent times we see the market is flooded with international brands that have slowly pushed up the aspiration and purchasing patterns of Indians. However, the presence of International brands is restricted to western wear so the other segments have nothing to worry about,” she observes.
As a leading fusion wear brand, W needs to constantly keep evolving this category and redefining fusion fashion. Just about any combination of the East and West that makes a woman look and feel like one is what the brand tries to achieve.