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Category Archives: Fashion

Luxury to India

Industry feels the concept of ‘Make in India’ is the right direction to take, to make India the powerhouse that it can be. But for the initiative to be a success, issues of tax benefits, single window clearances, heavy duties on imports, imparting of skill-based training to the labour force and development of infrastructure need to be sorted out first. Manisha Almadi Midha spoke to head honchos of some Indian brands and upcoming fashion designers for their take on the initiative.

Monica Oswal

Executive Director, Monte Carlo

In 1984, Oswal Woollen Mills (OWM) in Ludhiana launched its signature brand, Monte Carlo and transformed the Indian garment sector. While its winterwear was developed from best quality pure wool such as Australian merino wool (certified with the Woolmark logo), the brand has emerged as the masses’ first choice when it comes to purchasing value-for-money products. Its apparel line is accepted as a trend among the fashion-savvy. Monte Carlo’s range of knitwear consists of over 500 designs for men, women and tweens. The brand’s tagline ‘It’s the way you make me feel’ is an expression reflecting the love, warmth and care that Monte Carlo has delivered ever since its inception. In 2006, the brand introduced the bold, energetic Alpha range in its women’s collection. Monte Carlo is available through 225 EBOs and over 1,200 MBOs in India and abroad. Monte Carlo has also marked its presence in UAE, Nepal and Bangladesh with exclusive outlets. The products are available online now, e-tailing through its dedicated website and other e-commerce portals.

Current turnover

₹ 600 crore

Target for next 5 years

₹1,000 crore

Top 5 steps to make ‘Make in India’ a success

� Manufacturers should get support on relaxation of taxes.

� Heavy duty on imports should be reduced.

� Emphasis on quality of production.

� To get skilled labour, government should promote imparting of skill-based training.

� Manufacturers should be provided with easy finance schemes at low interest.

Top 5 hurdles in ensuring ‘Make in India’ is a success

� Procurement of licence.

� Cheap and skilled labour/workforce availability.

� Basic facilities at Special Economic Zones (SEZ).

� Unavailability of low cost transport.

� Export policies
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.

Potential

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.

Malkha: A handloom with a certain identity

The malkha fabric is immensely appreciated for its unique qualities-the swing, the drape, the ability to breathe, to absorb, to hold colour. The fabric is catching the eye of many a designer, and production has jumped four-fold in the last five years, writes Sudha Passi.

Using the “strength” of Indian textile production traditions from the field to the fabric stage, malkha is capturing the fancy of its producers and wearers alike as a successful business model and a sustainable handloom textile.

Combining the softness of mulmul and sturdiness of khadi (traditional varieties of textiles), malkha fabric is immensely appreciated for its unique qualities-the swing, the drape, the ability to breathe, to absorb, to hold colour, say people who are involved in its production and fashion designers who have introduced it on world stage in the last couple of years. And it is not just for the high and sophisticated sections of society.

The growing popularity is reflected in its production which has risen nearly four-fold in the last five years from 2,500 metres per month in 2010 to around 8,000-10,000 metres per month in 2015. It is expected to reach 40,000 metres per month by 2017, says Uzramma, the septuagenarian doyenne of Indian handloom textiles, who has been assiduously involved with the Malkha Initiative (textile chain) in the Andhra-Telangana cotton belt since its inception in 2003. As malkha production is scaling up, it is foraying into womens’, mens’ and childrens’ garments, which were shown for the first time at its Bengaluru show in December.

“It’s in the embryonic trial stage only,” Uzramma says. “At present, our main buyers are in the middle and upper middle income segments in different regions,” she says, adding that “rather than the masses we look at market segments differentiated by region as well as by income.”

In the wake of rising demand and appreciation of the product, the Malkha Initiative has steadily increased the number of weavers and other pre-loom processors it engages with. Currently 100 producer families are engaged in the process. In the next two years, this number is expected to increase to around 400, according to Uzramma.

Given that there is a Malkha Marketing Trust that ensures successful marketing of the entire production, the figures on expansion and production assume significance as a veritable indicator of product popularity and consumer taste veering towards sustainability, quality and value for money. For a fabric that is considered to be summer-friendly, malkha has a unique capability of keeping the wearer warm in winter, points out designer Shilpa Reddy, who chose it to showcase her collection at the prestigious J-Autumn Fashion Show at Eiffel Tower in October 2014. Shilpa says malkha was her natural choice as it was ‘springy, breathable handwoven’.

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.

Potential

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 flyrobe.com, swishlist.in, stylebank.in, liberent.com and stage3.co. 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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Best fashion for women

With more women becoming confident and independent, it is now a norm to see that reflected in their dress, says Yashodhara Shroff.

“Don’t be into trends. Don’t make fashion own you, but you decide what you are, what you want to express by the way you dress and the way to live.” Thus advised the late Gianni Versace, celebrated fashion designer of the eponymous Italian fashion house. The thought certainly captures the essence of New Age fashion, which focuses on concepts of individuality and self-expression.

In recent times, many noted female personalities have begun to play a key role in transforming the way people perceive women’s fashionwear globally. Whether it is a classy and conventional look, or bold and over the top, contemporary women are not afraid of experimenting with their appearance or changing their style. This is evident in the way celebrities dress during award shows. This new-found comfort in wearing what one desires, irrespective of societal judgment, is gradually encouraging many women to ditch the norm and create their own fashion statement.

The 59thGrammy awards in February 2017 proved this. While the men looked dapper as always, women took dressing up to a whole new level. Be it Lady Gaga’s unconventional and dramatic look or Chrissy Teigen’s Gothic look, the ladies certainly made sure that bold is the way to go.

Let us explore the best fashion picks inspired by the unique dresses at the 2017 Grammy Awards.

Shades of emerald: Emerald green made its presence. Even British singer Adele, who won the most awards, sported the colour. The popularity of this shade is in alignment with the colour of the year, ‘greenery’, announced by Pantone Color Institute. According to some fashion experts, emerald green suits almost all skin tones. Emerald and black is one of the best pairings and looks extremely sophisticated and charming. Pair emerald attire with gold or platinum jewellery to complete the look. While it is advisable to wear light make-up, one can opt for bold, red lipstick to add a dramatic effect.

Elegant, feminine gowns: Jennifer Lopez’s pastel Ralph & Russo gown was one of the best dresses at the event. The multi-talented celebrity looked stunning. She paired it with diamond rings by Butani, heels by Christian Louboutin and a silver clutch. Feminine gowns are perhaps the most common and classiest dresses in fashion wear. They are also preferred by most as they accentuate the form, giving a soft, feminine and graceful look. A feminine dress is timeless and can upgrade one’s style quotient without much effort.

The latest fashion changes

The McKinsey and Business of Fashion Report on State of Fashion argues that the industry is in a flux. Technology, innovation, digitalisation, transparency, fashion immediacy, restructuring of supply chains and internal operations are the trends driving industry, writes Anjuli Gopalakrishna

“Uncertain, Changing and Challenging” were the top three words that executives used to describe the state of the fashion industry in 2016 in the recent survey conducted jointly by McKinsey and Business of Fashion. This is not surprising. We have seen multiple sources of turbulence in the recent past: the Brexit vote in the UK, terrorist attacks in various parts of the world, the US election campaign, the slowdown of the Chinese economy, overall volatility of the stock market, digital disruptions in various forms, rapidly evolving consumer expectations and behavior in the wake of technology advancements. These put together have resulted in tremendous pressures on the fashion industry.

The year 2016 experienced the worst sales growth rate of 2-3 per cent with stagnating profit margins. This is in stark contrast to the fashion industry’s performance in the previous decade of 2005-2015, which saw the industry grow at a 5.5 per cent annual rate, according to the McKinsey Global Fashion Index. The fashion industry interestingly still remains one of the key global value-creating industries in the world, with a staggering $2.4 trillion in total value. If it were ranked alongside individual countries’ GDP, the global fashion industry would represent the world’s seventh largest economy.

The top challenges and opportunities: 2016 vs 2017

What are the top-of-the-mind issues industry professionals are grappling with? Here is a quick snapshot of the top challenges and opportunities that the survey brought out for 2016 and 2017. Dealing with volatility and uncertainty is certain and here to stay. So are the changing consumer expectations driven by the digital and technological revolution. Today’s forever connected, well informed, discerning, customers with shifting loyalties to brands, seeking alignment of their purchases with their deeper values are that much more difficult to please and that much more unpredictable.

Amidst the challenges, we saw some opportunities emerge as well. Top-end players like Burberry, Tom Ford and Tommy Hilfiger successfully launched ‘see now, buy now’ runway shows to cater to the customer’s need for instant gratification. The reconfiguration of the entire design and product development cycle to enable the runway pieces to be made available instantly to end-customers across multiple locations and platforms is an entirely new concept. Whether this will be adopted on a wider scale and in a profitably sustainable way remains to be seen.

What is clear is that brands can no longer afford to ignore changing customer expectations. Only those who pay heed and listen seriously to offer better experiences to their customers will stay in the game. Whether it is in providing instant gratification or providing an overall ease of shopping convenience seamlessly across different channels via omnichannel integration, or in addressing the need for transparency and information via sustainability measures or digitisation of supply chain initiatives are the developments to watch out for. The fashion industry is ripe for disruption and change.

Fusion pants are the trend today

Curious and selective about wardrobe solutions, tweenagers today are as fashion conscious as adults and love to flaunt the latest trends, says Mohita Indrayan.

Guess what’s spilling out of the preteen wardrobe? Preteens or tweens expect more out of their closet than the already-popular ethnic wear and western wear. Over the last few years, Indo-Western wear, an exciting amalgamation of Indian and western wear, has topped the popularity charts for Indian tweens. This clothing trend appeals to tweens as it lets them experiment with different styles, express themselves and look quirky yet stylish.

Flaunting Indo-Western fusionwear has become the thing in preteen fashion wear. To make sure that your tween wears it right, here are a few tips.

1. In-trend outfits

The best way to combine a fusion outfit is to mix and match various clothing options. One of the most sought after trends this season is the dhoti look.

Pair a dhoti with a funky, printed T-shirt and boys have a whole new look to flaunt. Similarly, girls can pair a dhoti with a printed or solid coloured T-shirt with a scarf and amp up their style quotient. The ensemble is easy to create, looks quirky and is comfortable to wear. The best part is, it works for both girls and boys.

2. The jacket jazz

Topping the fashion charts every season, jackets are the best fusion wear hack for both girls and boys. While boys can pair a khadi Nehru jacket with a kurta and distressed jeans, girls can rock this outfit with a silk shrug. The combination is a tried, tested and loved fashion trend in the fusion wear category.

3. Embroidered elegance

Nothing can go wrong while experimenting with embroidery. Girls can try the classic Indian thread embroidery or mirror work on western dresses to look stunning. Boys can pair a self-patterned kurta or Nehru jacket with funky prints to up the fashion quotient.

4. Drape a dupatta

Dupattas are one of the most sought-after apparel trends in fusion wear. The statement is high on fashion value and works for all seasons. Pair a trendy dupatta with a dress or skirt or even over denims for girls and see the magic. Boys can wear a tie-and-dye or printed shawl with T-shirts and jeans/pants to shore things up. Scarves come in a variety of colours and fabric options.

5. Artistic accessories

Accessories can add to the bling factor of any outfit. However, overdo of bling is not the right way to go, though. Tweens love to move freely and their outfit should not interfere. Girls can just add a set of small traditional earrings like jhumkas or balis, a tribal beaded neck piece or colourful bangles to give any western outfit an Indian look. Likewise, boys can flaunt a brooch on the jacket or a kada on the wrist for the desi flavour.

6. Flattering footwear

When nothing else is around, footwear serves as the best fusion wear hack. A vibrant pair of kohlapuri chappals or juttis can push up the style quotient in any girl’s wardrobe. Similarly, boys can try a pair of Indian mojris with denims and kurta or T-shirt to rock the look.

About the author:

Mohita Indrayan is co-founder and chief creative officer of 612 League, India’s third largest clothing brand for preteens. She holds a postgraduate degree in apparel marketing and merchandising from National Institute of Fashion Technology, New Delhi.

Effect of fashion show on society

Fashion shows are a channel of communication between fashion designers and customers where designers showcase new ideas through merchandise on live models. Saranya looks at the impact these shows have.

Entry of fashion show in apparel industry

Once upon a time, designers showed new styles and designs to clients through sketches. After the dress was completed, it was displayed on a wooden dummy. Fashion dolls are said to be the first means of circulating the latest dress styles. Fashion dolls were used to show upcoming styles and designs to the customers. The dolls were illustrated with new styles and dressed up with jewellery as well as hair and dress styles.

Charles Worth, British couturier in Paris, came up with the idea of the living mannequin. When he opened his own store, his wife modelled his creations in the salon. When the idea worked, he employed mannequins who walked about in the salon or down the runway to show his collections to consumers. It was on early 1911, living models were used as a regular part of fashion promotions for retailers as well as manufacturers in the earliest fashion shows. Worth started his own salon in 1858. and on 1911 living models were used.

Apparel manufacturers need a platform to promote products to the target audience. Fashion shows play a vital role in marketing clothes and conveying recent fashion trends. Nothing is constant in fashion. Designs and styles keep changing. Fashion shows help in creating interest among the public to spread awareness about new arrivals in design and style. These shows help to draw public attention. Fashion marketing scrutinises fashion trends, coordinate sales and promote goods. It is necessary to grant exposure to various trends and styles of clothing. Fashion marketing is likely to notify the public about recent changing trends and about what is in fashion.

Fashion designers forecast trends. They attend trade shows or visit manufacturers to select fabrics and trims. Designers conduct fittings and adjustments on samples of their designs and the end product is marketed to clothing retailers. Fashion designers aim at inspiring the target audience to purchase the products.

Through these shows, fashion designers can express their creative skills and talent in designing various types of clothes. The individual talent of designers is exposed and they get an opportunity to promote their creations.

By involving themselves in these shows, retailers can gain various views of different designs and styles of clothes from designer shows. The knowledge gained from these shows helps retailers incorporate ideas into their boutiques. Using latest fashion software tools, designers can put designs on three dimensional images.

Impact of fashion show on society

Everyone likes to track everyday fashion. Fashion gives designers a chance to be independent in ideas. It boosts confidence in the wearer. Fashion is a form of expression for both the creator and the wearer. It helps people of similar aesthetics to bond.