The Outlook Of Fashion In India: The Indian fashion industry has great potential to make a mark on the world stage. Fashion traditions in India can be traced for decades. The outlook of Fashion in India is changing and growing at a rapid pace with international developments, such as the India Fashion Week, Lakme Fashion Week and other such annual shows gaining popularity in major cities of India.
The Indian fashion industry has progressed from a stage of infancy to a blossoming take-off. Fashion designers have contributed immensely to the awareness of fashion in India, both among Indian consumers and selected segments of the western market.
The major fashion designers who can now boast of their skilled craftsmanship, when compared to European fashion designers in their concepts, styles, and designs include mainly, Manish Malhotra, Ritu Kumar, Ritu Beri, Rohit Bal, Tarun Tahiliani, Gaurav Gupta, Amit Aggarwal, Shivan & Narresh, Varun Bahl, Ashish Soni, Manish Arora and many more.
Here’s a brief about how Indian designers are making their own identity in the global fashion industry.
1. Manish Malhotra– The designer needs no introduction, he rules Bollywood and the celebrity fashion in India with his creativity and elegant designs. From a small boutique in town to a top-notch fashion designer globally, Malhotra has come a long way. The designer always had an instinct that he wanted to foray into the world of fashion in India and abroad. While he was working in a small boutique he learned the knick and knacks of designing. His apparels hold a hint of Indian traditions perfectly amalgamated with an international fashion essence, and this is the reason his collection is well celebrated across the world of fashion. His designs are inspired by nature, architecture, landscapes, and art. The designer has even created garments for the legendary singer Michael Jackson along with a lot of pieces for Hollywood celebrities like Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell etc. In the year 2018, the Bollywood designer turned Merino wool into a red carpet collection and this transformed the audience’s perspective towards fashion. He brought the farm-to-fashion trend, by partnering up with Woolmark. Utilizing the merino wool he created saris for women and bandhgalas and sherwanis for men in pastel hues such as ivory, yellow and blue. The designer was globally appreciated for his traditional Indian approach with a renowned brand like The Woolmark Company.
2. Ritu Kumar– The designer pioneered the Indian fashion industry, she initiated investing in sustainable fashion in the 60s, decades before it became a trend. Ritu Kumar recognized that sustainability was intricately woven into the country’s consumption patterns, it only required to be polished and restored. The Padma Shri awarded designer, considers India to be one of the few countries where is green and not red, with an indigenous and traditional understanding of natural wear and climatic specific fashions. She has successfully expanded her business through the premium bridal wear brand ‘Ri’, traditional semi-formal designer wear brand ‘Ritu Kumar’, contemporary print brand ‘Label’ and home & living brand ‘Ritu Kumar Home’.
1. Ritu Beri– The designer’s name is synonymous with the explosive globalization of India’s fashion industry. A pioneer in the fashion world, she launched her label as early as 1990 when India was still awakening to the couture era. She was the first fashion designer to storm the catwalks of Paris with her label and was well celebrated as India’s Fashion Queen.
2. Rohit Bal– The fashion designer from the national capital, New Delhi. Rohit draws his inspiration from influences, wide and varied. From the traditional methods of design and village craft that the country is so rich in, to the urban landscape, the designer creates them all to life in his spectacular style. He has held fashion shows in London, Paris, New York, Singapore, Moscow, Jakarta, Colombo, Sao Paulo, Munich, Geneva and all major metro cities in India. His collections have been given an incredible and enthusiastic response. He promotes the fashion in India through his designs.
3. Tarun Tahiliani- Tarun Tahiliani hailed the title ‘ Karl Lagerfeld of India’ by the late super stylist Isabella Blow. Tahiliani is a brand that straddles the present while rooted in India’s heritage of tradition and artistry. He is well celebrated across the world for combining traditional Indian textiles with Western-influenced silhouettes. The ace designer is also a founding member of the Fashion Design Council of India, his designs are celebrated and stocked across the world, including the Middle East, Japan, the United States, and Australasia.
4. Shivan and Narresh- The Indian luxury swimwear market was non-existential a few years ago, but the duo designers decided to make a foray in the segment anyway. The young designers launched the one-piece maillot in classic silhouettes and color blocking as they debuted with their Winter/Festive collection in 2010. Their style is bold but the designs are still rooted in India depicting the fashion in India, with this amalgamation they launched their label at Cannes in 2008. Their idea of swimwear not limited to the pool caught the attention of the fashion world, they amalgamated the swimwear staple with the Indian drape which gave rise to their landmark creation: bikini saris. Draping it over the shoulder transformed it into a glamorous resort sari that could be widely worn at destination weddings and cocktail parties. The duo defined it as what swimwear from India can do to global fashion. The collection was embraced by Kim Kardashian West for Vogue which further gave new ways to get it in on the global fashion map.
5. Manish Arora– As one of the most celebrated Indian designers in the world of fashion, Manish Arora holds a huge amount of following, he was also invited by the French minister to exhibit his work for two months in the windows of the Palais Royal in Paris. He was appointed as creative director of French fashion house Paco Rabanne in early 2011. He was witnessed participating in various international fashion weeks, such as Miami Fashion Week in 2005 followed by London Fashion Week.
6. Amit Aggarwal– After graduating from NIFT, New Delhi this Indian Designer showcased his talent through various student competitions and later worked with Tarun Tahiliani. In 2008 he started his label Morphe in collaboration with the Creative Group. In May 2012 he started his eponymous label ‘Amit Aggarwal’. This couture line works towards the idea of sustainability. The designer aims to increase the shelf life of the products and keep them out of the landfills. He also looks forward to creating products that are globally unique. He firmly beliefs in a sustainable fashion as everyone has a responsibility towards the environment. His label was the first one to make an attire from plastic. He has showcased his label’s collection in France, India, Italy and the United Kingdom.
His collection is also available in the USA and UAE. Amit Aggarwal won the Marie Claire Fashion Award for the Best Western wear designer under 10 years and for his innovative collection. He has been awarded the title of Avant-Garde Designer by Elle. The designer was shortlisted to showcase at Design X Design. He was one of the 7 fashion designers who were invited by the Arken Museum of Modern Art, Copenhagen to showcase their creations. Aggarwal doesn’t believe in season-specific and according to him, colors can transcend between the seasons. He is well known for the use of industrial material and polymer sheets in his creation. Polymer or polymer-derived material is a constant component in his collection.
To Forbes India, global consumer spending on fashion crossed US$1.5 trillion in 2015. Fashion in India and India’s fashion retail market is set to grow to US$115 billion by 2026. However, Indian fashion and textile brands need to warm up as the new Indian consumer is well synced with the latest in trends and global fashion updates if they are to capture their due share of this growth.
Clothing brands are now made to embrace and create collections faster and at lower R&D costs. The previously conceptualized design processes with a 3-6-month time frame were incorporated for seasonal collections.
Monthly collections have now made their way into the new world using the strategy of ‘curation over creation’, with a shorter time frame of 2 months. Due to this, players across the textile value chain must reduce lead times.
Brands like Benetton, Zodiac, Z3, Zara, Vero Moda, Calvin Klein, Diesel, and Tommy Hilfiger have experienced good sales growth in the country, while names like Zara, Armani, Forever21 or Uniqlo appeal to the Indian audiences, attracting higher per square foot sales compared to the departmental or hypermarket stores.
On the other hand, Indian companies like the Arvind group, Madura Fashion and Lifestyle, Raymond Apparel, Trent Retail, Reliance Retail, and Future Group have launched their own fashion labels.
Emerging trends like wearable fashion (athleisure, sportswear), eco-friendly clothing (reducing the effect of textile waste in the industry), product personalization and 3D printed clothes are all the rage.
Trends like these are shaping the Indian fashion industry and preparing the nation in front of its competitors with the backing of a rich traditional and cultural heritage.
India’s fashion and textile industry needs to recognize that the modern Indian consumer is no different from their western counterparts. Domestic brands, who can become homegrown leaders are crucial for enhancing India’s garments industry competitiveness on a global stage.
In doing so, focus on product innovation and development, investing in brand building and customer engagement, savviness in embracing digital technologies is a must!
India is a population largely consisting of the ‘young’, combined with the growth in consumerism and disposable incomes, a bright future for the fashion industry awaits here.