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Monthly Archives: September 2017

Fashion India

India is a nation with an ancient tradition of clothing design, and it is as much an emerging fashion destination, says RC Dalal.

In spite of its overwhelming presence in newspapers, magazines and on television, the fashion industry in India is young. The first professional fashion show was held in this country just over 20 years ago.

The word ‘fashion’ brings on images of glamour. The onset of the worldwide fashion market in India has given a thrust to the fashion industry. This has attracted so many young people to this industry.

Today, there are a couple of hundred Indian fashion designers peddling designs and wares. Some are well known and are expanding, slowly but surely, into the international market. India’s romance with fashion design has just begun and is bound to grow by leaps and bounds. Glamour has caught on. Young women want to emulate models and the designer wear of Hindi film stars.

Fusion of Indian and western looks are all the rage. Then, there is everything from pure ethnic wear, highly suitable for Indian bridal collections to purely Western style designer wear for the red carpet. India loves fashion!

India hosts its own fashion weeks in Delhi and Mumbai which seem to be getting bigger and better every year. The names are getting known as well – Rohit Bal, Tarun Tahiliani, Ritu Kumar, Manish Malhotra, Ritu Beri, Manish Arora, Satya Paul, Rocky S — the list just keeps growing.

Market Size

The Indian fashion industry is expected to reach US$ 400 million in a couple of years with vigorous growth of over 10 per cent year-on-year. While this is tiny compared to the global industry, it is not too bad for an industry in this stage of infancy.

The reason India’s fashion industry will have a bright future is that it has a large young population. This, combined with increasing disposable incomes, has led to an increase in consumerism. So, those who can afford are looking for high quality and originality. They love brand names. Hence, we can say that the future of fashion industry in India looks promising.


This industry offers an abundance of opportunities for artistic, hard-working and enthusiastic people. The scenario for fashion design graduates looks good, thanks to the enormous and still increasing demand for stylish clothes and the quantity of exports.

After successful accomplishment of the graduate course, one can be self-employed. On the other hand, several garment store chains, export houses, leather companies, textile mills, boutiques, fashion show organizers and jewellery houses recruit professionals fascinated with a career in fashion designing.

Emerging global fashion

As the global population boom, there are inevitable implications on livestock. Demand for food and shelter have grown manifold resulting in an alarming scarcity of land meant for rearing animals, says Satyadeep Chatterjee.

Trends have to be predicted taking into consideration possible drastic changes. Fashion consumers are becoming more conscious of the environment. They prefer eco-friendly material, conservative use of resources, reduced emission of pollutants, greater social commitment and fair treatment of employees in production facilities.

The presence of a large number of players in the sector has intensified the competition to garner a larger chunk of the market share of this lucrative industry. On the demand front, consumers are rapidly aligning towards new designs and innovative leather offerings to ensure they are in sync with changing fashion trends. Another factor that needs to be taken into account is the rise of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) economies. Their dominant position in the labour-intensive textile and leather industries makes it difficult for other countries to match them.

Owing to high demand, the leather goods industry is on a growth spree. Forecasts are, this vertical will grow at a CAGR of 3.4 percent over the next five years and will touch US$ 91.2 billion by 2018.

The softest, most luxurious leather comes from the skin of newborn or even unborn calves. Sourcing this leather is unethical. Though it is a very durable and flexible material, the process of tanning leather is incredibly toxic. Most of it is chrome tanned, which results in carcinogenic chromium (VI) being pumped into the water table.

In many countries, quality standards are very high. Leather manufactures are trying to produce more sustainable products by prohibiting harmful dyes and chemicals. Unfortunately, only a few customers are willing to pay more for these ‘greener’ products. One pioneer of this trend is renowned fashion designer, Stella McCartney, who is using eco-friendly material for her shoes and handbags.

Innovation in luggage and leather goods with new technologies and design is the major driving force for the industry. LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA, Coach, Inc., Kering SA, Prada S.p.A, and Hermes International SCA are some of the major manufacturers of the luggage and leather goods industry.

Professors at the University of Delaware chemical department are developing artificial eco-leather that can be used to make shoes, handbags and other fashion accessories. Richard Wool, director of University of Delaware, said at the 17th Annual Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference in Bethesda, “We are basically taking aerospace engineering of highly complex materials and using it to make wearable items that offer a much better design for consumers, than the original design from an animal would be. And it is all green and sustainable.”

Renting Luxury: Indulge

The online fashion rental market in India, pegged at $3-4 bn, has been exploding with mushrooming startups and existing players even attracting seed funding. Obviously the fashionistas no longer believe in buying expensive designer wear when they can rent it at a fraction of the cost. Nivedita Jayaram Pawar explores this new trend in luxury clothing.

It’s not taboo anymore to turn up at a high profile luxury event in clothes that are rented and not owned. Instead, it’s considered practical and economical considering the sartorial demands of an increasingly busy social calendar. A hectic social life coupled with the onslaught of social media has made repeating ones clothing or accessory almost unforgivable and even social harakiri. So in such circumstances it makes little sense to invest thousands of rupees in clothes that will be worn once and be relegated to a corner of the cupboard.

What’s the buzz all about

A decade ago, renting high-end designer wear was more or less unheard of. Women who didn’t want to purchase an expensive dress for a one-time event were left to borrow from a friend. Designer gown and accessory rentals were the exclusive territory of celebrities and their stylists. But all that has now changed.

The allure of ‘no ownership’ is now moving beyond housing and cars. High end fashion is now one of the biggest rental industries on the rise. It makes perfect sense for people who can’t afford luxury brands but do appreciate the quality. The new generation raves multiple experiences and desires to be fashionable and trendy, without the pressure of permanent ownership. While the international market is huge for wardrobe rental services, with successful ventures like rent the Runway, Lending Luxury, Girl Meets Dress, etc, in India this trend is still in its early days.

Shilpa Bhatia, an erstwhile Hindi film stylist, was among the first few to tap into the potential of luxury rental as early as in 2005 when she launched The Clothing Rental in Mumbai. “It was always a herculean task to source garments for all the advertisements that I used to style. Brands would often request for Armani suits and red carpet gowns without a budget to support the request. I would run around crazy trying to create a fancy look and would be frustrated when the tailor didn’t get the right finish. That’s when I decided to invest a small amount on certain classic products that I would have a need for often. It started out just to ease my styling career. Slowly other stylists discovered us and started renting from us. They too noticed the value in our goods.” The Clothing Rental today has two stores in Mumbai apart from an online presence. Offering similar deals are a number of online fashion rentals, including,,, and Renting outfits has become common for those once-in-a-lifetime events (wedding, mehendi, sangeet, bridal showers, bachelorette parties) that require a level of luxury that’s not necessarily worth the long-term investment.

Tennis fashion

The connection between sports and fashion is intriguing, says A. Yaamini.

At a glance, many may believe that sports courts are far from the ramp. Reality shows that sports and games which started as a recreational or social event, had an influential effect on fashion.

The dress worn by men and women during these events were linked to their social status and traditional values. As sports became popular and accessible to most people belonging to various social segments and strata, the fashion associated with the sport also evolved.

Fashion in tennis

Tennis is associated with British aristocracy and it gradually spread to various other countries with British occupation. Then, it went further. Currently, there are four Grand Prix championships conducted for tennis: Wimbledon, US Open, French Open and Australian Open. Apparel, both off and on court, in the various tournaments has always grabbed the attention of the game’s fans on one side and fashionistas on the other.

White for Wimbledon

The very British Wimbledon is considered the most prestigious tennis tournament. It is the only tennis tournament that employs the strict all-white dress code while all other tournaments have relaxed theirs to a great extent. There are a few reasons for the preference for white.

● Wimbledon is a summer event and white is considered apt for summers.

● Tennis was started as a leisure game for British royalty and army men at social gatherings. The athletic activity of the game lead to sweat that altered the look of coloured garments. That was considered inappropriate, hence white was preferred.

Wimbledon claims to uphold this tradition with strict rules on dress, inner wear, footwear and accessories.

In England and France, women started playing tennis at social gatherings and events. Later, the leisure game evolved into a championship game, first for men and later, also for women.

It is interesting to note the changes in women’s tennis dress and the various social, cultural and political factors that influenced this evolution process. The World Wars, movies, celebrities, art movements, change in attitudes and economic factors have had a fair share of contribution to the changes.

In the earlier years of the Wimbledon championships, a woman player wore a long, ankle length skirt with a full-sleeve shirt tucked in, and a tie. This tradition was followed by all English players. The attire was formal and met the standards of English tradition.

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