Fusionwear, a blend of ethnic and western wear often mixed and matched in different style is now most in demand across age groups. The versatility of fusion wear allows it to match any casual or semiformal or even work wear sometimes. “Fusion wear market in India has been growing remarkably since the last few years. This trend allows women to break away from the shackles of set clothing norms and mix & match their garments,” explains Deepa Surekha, CEO, Be Indi.
A mix of East meets West styles, designs
“Earlier known as the aspirational sub category of ethnic wear, fusionwear has evolved into a separate category by itself,” notes Sreyashee Haldar, Design Head of brand women’s brand W. The idea of fusionwear is to combine two different cultures as it fills the gap between ethnic and western clothing. “Innovation and styling rules this segment as it relates to every niche market that we target,” says Rakesh Moradiya, Director, Divyanshi Fashion. For the upcoming season the brand has included a lot of flared cuts paired with gold embellished fabric embroidered palazzos, dhotis, and pencil fit pants.
The innovative designs by W have, over the years, defined Indian fusionwear fashion. “For this season, we have amalgamated western prints and silhouettes with Indian sensibilities, giving a modern appeal to Indian wear,” adds Halder. Another popular brand in this segment, Be Indi, believes in customising its designs and marketing them as per customers’ demand. “We aim to make women look the best in a crowd by adding a hint of western silhouettes to our garments. For this season, we have tweaked the ethnic lehenga cholis into capes, transforming the traditional banarasi to crop tops and maxi dresses that cater to all sizes of women,” adds Surekha.
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 the western culture, fusion wear is likely to play a vital role in future,” he adds. The brand has created a niche for itself in the segment by providing a premium feeling to its customers.
The fusion wear segment has gone through various transformations over the years. Originally confined to categories like saris, kurta sets, etc. “It has gradually transformed to kurta sets having no dupattas, the salwars switched over to leggings, palazzos, straight fit pants etc. Many brands have also evolved with long kurtas to be worn as maxi dresses with scarves which can also be used as a workwear,” adds Surekha.
Eco-friendly fabrics and a splash of colors
Given India’s climate, awareness about eco friendly fabrics is on the rise. W has launched eco friendly sustainable “Liva- Eco” fabrics this season apart from regular cotton, rayon and natural flax that are predominantly a part of its range. “We have defined fusion dresses as a very acceptable fashion category with the launch of our ‘Yolodress.’ Our summer suits -- a three-piece set in cotton with a short kurta, cropped pants and a layer of a light voile long jacket- mostly in monochrome makes women look formally yet fashionably dressed,” adds Haldar.
Even the color palette for this season is vivid with unusual combinations such as mustard, tomato red, earthy fresh shades. “Natural textures are the calling on voile and cotton fabrics. For upcoming festive season, we will see growing demand for flared cuts and embroidered fabrics in bright colors such as olive green, gold , tomato red, mustard and earthy shades,” says Morvadiya.
Global brands add variety
Fusionwear 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,” said Haldar. The entry of big designer labels and brands offers customers a wide variety of styles to choose from. These labels are influencing the growth rate of fusion wear in India. However, they need to create a niche and identity as only differentiated and unique brands are likely to survive in this rapidly evolving market.
The future of fusion wear in India is bright as the highest spending power will be in the hands of teenagers. This age group will be the main driving forces for the growth of this category which will evolve higher in future. “Only those brands that will be able to scale up will emerge as winners,” adds Haldar.