From being a topic that should be kept secretive to becoming a bold sign of progress and freedom, lingerie in the past 200 years has come an extremely long way. Beginning with the painful corsets of the 80s to the outerwear underwear, lingerie modified by styles, latest fashion trends, as well as the culture and climate of a place. Lingerie just like every other garment has experienced huge transformation. Along with that, what changed is the lingerie market, the buying pattern of lingerie has gone through radical changes, too. As people started opening up and globalization & liberalization hit the world, women became less conscious of revealing their bodies. Women started celebrating and embracing their feminine power, today they want their curves to be visible and enhanced in a way that makes them look more graceful and confident. Flashing your lingerie has become a fashionable trend today, hard to believe but it has always been in fashion culture reflecting the latest fashion for women. Fashion culture is constantly evolving and the latest fashion styles keep bouncing, the trends that were once considered inappropriate are now celebrated as chic latest fashion trends. Read on further to know about the evolution of women’s lingerie and how it became such a big market.
The word “Lingerie” is derived from the French linen and the word came up with reference to the fabric from which underneaths were traditionally designed. The word became common only by the late 19th century, lingerie was widely used to depict underneath that moved beyond functionary to becoming a tool of gracefulness, read how lingerie has transformed through years and kept pace with the latest fashion for girls, men, and women-
The Earliest Form Of Underneath
The earliest form of underneaths arrives from Ancient Greece, women used to adorn a piece of cloth to support their breasts. This piece of cloth was wrapped around the front and was secured with pins in the back.
It’s in the books, that in Ancient Rome women with the larger upper body were considered unattractive, and due to this women adorned tight supporting garments, known as a “mamillare” or a “fascia.” These garments would limit the appearance of the size of their busts. Unlike today the purpose of underneath then was functional rather than aesthetics. Women would mostly adorn these during athletic and dance events.
The chemise was first designed during the Roman Era and they became acceptable during the Middle Ages. It was a loose undergarment adorned to save outerwear from sweat. They were not limited to women and were adorned by both men and women.
The first underneaths were corsets, and their appearance dates back to the 16th century. Their influence is sensed even in today’s latest fashion for women in the form of waist-trainers, lace-up lingerie, and even modern-day belts. Earlier corsets were available in wide varieties, with a sweetheart neckline and hip boning element for an exaggerated silhouette, with ribbon detailing on the front.
Initially, handmade lingerie was considered elite afforded only by the very few. Fashion designer Lucile (Lady Duff-Gordon), designed camisoles, and petticoats using lace, chiffon, and crepe which added appeal to the sense of touch, and evoked sensuality for the 20th-century women’s lingerie. The emergence of artificial fibers such as rayon in the 1920s led to a democratization of lingerie. By the 1990s the garment slip was utilized by numerous fashion designers as outerwear, John Galliano, and Dolce & Gabbana played an essential role in popularizing it. Californian companies Victoria’s Secret and Frederick’s of Hollywood in the 1990s attracted both male and female consumers. It’s speculated that Victoria Secret in 2000 sold 600 pieces of lingerie per minute.
Today lingerie falls in the ‘basic necessities’ chart, but in ancient India, there was no such thing as lingerie, and roaming around topless was common, all this could be witnessed into ancient Indian paintings and sculptures. In the Indian society, breasts weren’t as sexual back then, it was only with the arrival of the Britishers that blouses found a space in wardrobes across India. The British and Mughals brought the innerwear fashion culture in India, their belief forced both men and women to adorn underneaths. The west brought the corsets in the lingerie, but Indian women suffered a lot of pain in adorning them as ￼￼ they defied gravity by pushing the breasts higher than what the medical suggested. Although the corsets did provide the hourglass figure, they were so tight that women kept falling sick. The first revolution in the innerwear market of India took place when associated apparels introduced brassieres. And later in the 90s when globalization took place, the Indian market was suddenly flooded with foreign goods, lingerie was also a part of it. China-made fancy lingerie grabbed a lot of attention among the Indian consumers. Like in popularising every other latest fashion trend for girls, Bollywood has played an essential role in making the lingerie popular as well.
Today the women’s lingerie market is setting fashion trends in terms of fabric design, finish application, the introduction of wider color choices, and fitting. The wider availability of options in the Indian women’s lingerie market of categories like bras, camisoles, panties, tees, nightdresses, shorts, etc. has led to growth in the segment. The prospects for the lingerie market are enhancing at a rapid pace, and bras and panties contribute 85% of the total women’s lingerie segment. According to a speculated data lingerie market in India bloomed at a CAGR of 42.32% between the years 2014-2019.
In 2017 the total lingerie market size of India was 3 billion dollars, and before the outbreak of COVID-19, it was speculated to reach 6.5 billion dollars by 2023. Coming particularly to women’s lingerie market of India the figures in 2018 were INR 120 billion and before the crisis, it was expected to reach INR 275 billion by 2023.
Following is the list of all the most popular lingerie pieces you should be aware of that stay in the latest fashion for women-
It’s basically a combination of matching bra and panty set, they’re easily available in a fun print or girly colors, they are also available in soft satin or delicate lace styles.
It’s a tight-fitting underneath garment, focused towards shopping and accentuating figure. They are best to adorn under bodycon dresses and low-rise bottoms. There are several types of shapewear available body briefs, long leg shapewear, waist cincher, etc. each for a different purpose.
A Camisole is loose-fitting underneath garment for the upper body.
It doubles up as a top and is often adorned for style and comfort. It has thin, delicate straps, the design includes laces. It can also be worn as a top, it has topped as the most popular fashion item among celebrities lately. It is the latest fashion for girls.
It is a form-fitting intimate that pushes the bust-up, along with that it shapes the waist as well. It comes with options like strapless, seamless, push-up, and underwired bustiers.
The corset has been in vogue ever since it’s emergence, it’s a tight-fitting underneath garment extending from below the chest to the hips.
It’s an all in one underneath garment, combining the functions of a camisole and panties. This incredible garment covers the torso and crotch area.
Thong is adorned both as underwear or a swimsuit. It’s extremely tiny and covers just the crotch area and at the backside, the material is reduced to a minimum. There are 2 categories of thongs- the G-string and the C-string.
It’s a tiny slip dress that is simple to get into. It’s slightly tighter around the hips than a babydoll, it can be adorned under a dress as an underslip.
A babydoll is a short, mostly sleeveless, loose-fitting dress, mainly adorned as nightwear.
Brief About The Luxury Lingerie Market In India
In the era of globalization and digitalization, Indian people are becoming more confident and independent. This advancement is leading to the bloom of the luxury lingerie market in India. Earlier in the 90s, India mostly had a single mall or supermarket selling all the products together. But with the entry of some luxury brands, the country saw an incredible change in the lingerie market. Now the country’s market is changing to be a market that serves all the segments of society. Several luxury brands have totally changed the scenario of the lingerie market in India. Especially the younger generation is more interested in buying the latest and exciting collection of luxury lingerie. The growing awareness of using better quality is also influencing the people of India to shift towards the luxury lingerie brands.
The growing standards, income, consciousness about comfort, and style among the consumers have led to the growth of the Indian lingerie market. The fashion culture of lingerie in India is enhancing because of two factors, one that the consumers are excited and open to accept the latest fashion for girls, women and men in the lingerie segment, second reason international lingerie brands are stepping up and entering the Indian market. Along with these two major factors, the Indian fashion designers are also molding the lingerie market of India, they are breaking social stereotypes and taking baby steps to expand the luxury lingerie segment.
Madhumita Suhas- She’s been in the fashion industry since 2009. Madhumita pursued lingerie designing for almost 2 years and designed women’s Ed Hardy undergarments launch collection in India for Centaraus Lifestyle Pvt Ltd. She has also designed lingerie for Strawberry Lenceria.
Suman Chowdhury- He is the COO & Co-Founder of Clovia, he handles the entire product and product range planning.
Meghana Nyayapati- She has worked with the IHL Group in New York for almost a year and designed lingerie collections for different seasons.
The lingerie market in India is flourishing as people are becoming more confident and self-conscious. Over the past few years, the lingerie market has undergone many changes and is continuously being transformed to fulfill the needs of consumers. The changes in the market are seen due to the changing preferences and choices of people. Presently, there are many lingerie brands present in the Indian market. Some of the top brands are listed below-
Victoria’s Secret- This USA origin luxury brand is growing immensely in India. The brand is successfully attracting Indian consumers with their incredible designs and also the fabric they use. The brand has both regular and exotic collection for their customers which is present online as well as in the market stores.
Bwitch- Another flourishing lingerie brand in India is Bwitch. Their collection is a bit expensive but the brand’s quality never fails to satisfy its customers. With its amazing collection and variety, the brand is picking up pace since its launch in India a few years back.
Pretty Secrets- From regular to exquisite lingerie collection, Pretty Secrets has it all. The brand is well known for its satin collection. This brand too has its online portal and stores. The collection of Pretty Secrets may seem a little expensive but the eye-catching styles never disappoint its customers.
Amante- Every piece from this luxury lingerie brand is exquisite. The brand offers several categories of lingerie like activewear, nightwear, bridal wear, etc. The innumerable styles are attracting a large number of women creating the latest fashion for girls and women of lingerie since the brand was introduced in India in 2007.
Zivame- Launched in 2011, Zivame has gained a lot of popularity in a short span of time due to its amazing collection. This brand is basically online but it has offline stores too. The brand is loved by all due to the discounts offered to the customers.
There’s no alteration about the fact that the Indian lingerie market has changed beyond recognition in the past few years. Lingerie in India has witnessed wide use of innovative techniques in designing and technology further influencing this. The Indian consumers today are open to experimenting, still, there’s a possibility that the consumer may not find all variety within reach either aesthetic wise or price-wise. But it’s good to see how the Indian consumers have gracefully accepted the need and aspiration for lingerie. And now that consumers have started demanding more, the concept of “Lingerie Designers” in India will also grow at a good pace in the future. Would you like to know any more detail about the lingerie segment?
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