From the ever-growing use of western outfits to the way one drapes a saree, India has seen a massive transformation in the fashion industry over the last couple of years. With a growing global popularity of Indian fashion designers like Sabyasachi, Ritu Kumar, Manish Malhotra, Anita Dongre and many others, India is gradually becoming the powerhouse for fashion.
When we talk about the fashion industry as a whole, the wedding business in India has seen a tremendous growth over the years, weddings, fashion and career in India is an interdependent trio. If we go by the sheer number of wedding fashion shows in the country – the Vogue Wedding Show, BMW India Bridal Fashion Week, Bridal Asia and Shree Raj Mahal Jewellers India Couture Week to name only a few – it seems that all our designers are doing is creating wedding lehengas. Luxury designers have altered their production and marketing budgets as free-spending Indians take to year-round weddings!
The ‘Big Fat Wedding’ Scenario
The Big Fat Indian Wedding is estimated to be worth over Rs 1,00,000 crore, and wedding apparel makes up about Rs 10,000 crore of that. No wonder designers will do anything to crash the wedding party!
“Many young designers start with a more prêt approach, but in India, you have to go bridal,” says Varun Bahl, who began a decade ago with boho chic day wear and occasion separates but has been focused on bridal wear for the past couple of years. About 80 per cent of his business turnover comes from the bridal market, of which 40 per cent comes from wedding lehengas.“It is a cultural thing and we should be proud of it,” says Bahl, who justifies his move into the bridal market with the argument that designing innovative bridal wear is very challenging.
But money is the biggest motivator, says Sabyasachi Mukherjee, one of India’s most commercially successful designers and India’s leading couturiers. Tastes are changing, and weddings are now being held year-round, according to him,“Confident millennials want to get married when they do and have the weddings they want in a certain budget,” says the designer, who diverted his business away from ready-to-wear and now focuses almost entirely on bridal and occasion-wear.
Depending on whose numbers you believe, there are somewhere between one and ten million weddings in India each year. According to 2012’s reports in November, on a particularly auspicious date on the Hindu calendar, a staggering 60,000 weddings took place in New Delhi alone — all in one evening — bringing traffic in the city to a standstill!
The Fashion Aficionados In The Indian Wedding Industry
The exclusive bridal wears have a never-dying market as people opt for unique and exclusive designs for their wedding outfits. Here we round up a few of the best Indian Bridal-wear designers across India:
- Abu Jani Sandeep Khosla bridal wear- “Our quintessential bride is a woman who knows both her mind and her heart. Her wedding is a joyous celebration, which calls for fantasy and fabulosity, as defined by her,” says Khosla.Jani believes that this bride’s ensembles are a testament to her aesthetic sensibilities, personality, spirit and soul. The venue, mood and season of the event should determine the bride’s wedding lehenga.
- Anamika Khanna bridal wear- The typical Anamika Khanna bride’s endgame is sophistication, not overzealous ornamentation. Hence Khanna’s creations are a nod to the bride’s lifestyle as a world citizen, allowing her to pay homage to her roots without compromising on her global outlook.
- Anita Dongre bridal wear- The Anita Dongre bride is well-educated, well-travelled and fiercely independent. It’s important for her to create her own individual style statement rather than following the herd.
- Gaurav Gupta bridal wear- Gupta’s muse wears her personality rather than simply following seasonal trends. Her alter ego is curious, explorative, self-aware, philosophical and progressive. He doesn’t endorse trends. He’s all about styles the bride is comfortable in and that accentuate her body type.
- Manish Malhotra bridal wear- Unsurprisingly, the quintessential Manish Malhotra bride is, “distinctive, confident and modern while also taking pride in her legacy. She uses fashion as an expression of her personality. While she marries tradition with modernity, she is not afraid of experimentation either.”
- Sabyasachi Mukherjee bridal wear- The quintessential Sabyasachi bride is, “self-assured, confident, sensitive about art and craft, and likes to wear beautiful clothes but not just to look good.” She has an inherent appreciation and understanding of craftsmanship.
- TarunTahiliani bridal wear- His archetypical bride is a self-aware woman of substance and style, with a modern consciousness. “She is not after a pretentious royal look. Instead, she wants to blend glamour with her personality. This bride is the new voice of tradition, and values the finest quality, as that is what she is accustomed to.”
- Ritu Kumar- She is designing for a bride who not only appreciates meticulous craftsmanship but also has an acute understanding of it.
- Shantanu & Nikhil- The idea is to break stereotypes about Indian traditions and fashion by giving it a contemporary treatment with their use of silhouettes and colours. They have a penchant for reinventing Indian history through their bridal creations.
- Falguni and Shane Peacock- The Peacock bride is well-travelled, well-informed, and leads the crowd rather than following it. She has a clear vision for her wedding repertoire, which is not dictated by the opinions of those around her.
Here we’ve rounded up the top fashion stylists cum bloggers in the wedding game. High-on-style, experimental, contemporary yet traditional and absolutely steal-worthy, these stylists are here to give you the best tips, hacks and more when it comes to dressing up for your big day:
- Archana Walavalkar
- Chandni Sareen
- Priyanka Kapadia
- Divya Arora
- Ria Kamat
- Summiyya Patni, House of Misu
While you’ll spend countless feet-numbing days to try on that perfect designer lehenga, make-up comes in at the last moment so here’s a list of the top 10 bridal make-up artists in India:
- Ambika Pillai (Delhi NCR)
- Chandni Singh (Delhi)
- Daniel Bauer (Mumbai)
- Michelle Montes (Delhi)
- Vidya Tikari (New Delhi)
- Bharat and Dorris (Mumbai)
- Aliya Baig (Hyderabad)
- Jasmeet Kapany (New Delhi)
- PakkhiPahuja (Mumbai)
- AakritiKochar (Delhi)
Career Prospects In The Wedding Business – Wedding, Fashion And Career In India And Interdependent Trio
As people are spending more and more on weddings, the business has become a huge industry in itself. Ranging from event planning to wardrobe styling, there are a plethora of options open for people in the industry. Here are the top 10 career options in the wedding business:
- Wedding Planner- From deciding the venue to the menu, it all comes under your reign. In a nutshell, you are responsible for creating a theme, decorating, dealing with vendors, finding a caterer and planning the music.A bachelor’s degree is typically required. Past experience in the hospitality industry may be expected for some positions. Good conversing and management skills are a bonus! Payout can vary between INR 20,000 – 60,000 per month, depending upon your work and popularity.
- Relationship Counsellor- It is basically a type of psychotherapy in which you help the couples of all types recognize and resolve conflicts and improve their relationships.A bachelor’s degree is a must, followed by a master’s degree in Marriage Counselling. Prior experience is required too. Payout can vary between INR 25,000 – 60,000 per month.
- Makeup Artist- Your glam skills are required to make the bride look glam ready for her big day! Professional makeup artists require graduation from a state-approved cosmetology program, followed by passing a licensure exam. Prior work experience enhances your resume. Payouts range from INR 15,000 to 50,000 per month.
- Caterer- If food is your game, then this profession might be it! From selecting the menu to serving it, it’s all under your control. You have to provide the table settings and additional staff that hustle to get all the courses in front of the guests in a timely fashion.A high-school degree and experience in the food-service industry. Post-high-school education—such as college or culinary school—may be expected. Remuneration varies, from INR 14,000 – 80,000 per month.
- Dance Choreographer- If grooving is your jam and you love to pass on your skills to the world, a future in choreography might be it! There are generally no explicit education requirements, but years of training and practice are likely to be expected. Payouts range from INR 6,000 – 15,000 and more per month, depending on your skills, training and services.
- Fashion Designer and Stylist- Professional fashion designers require graduation from a state-approved fashion designing program, followed by passing a licensure exam.Salaries can vary from Rs.30,000 – 80,000 per month.
- Wedding Photographer- Your job is to capture the various moments during the various events and ceremonies. You might even be asked to capture shots and videos before the wedding for a pre-wedding shoot, depending on how reliable and impeccable your services are. Photographers and videographers are expected to have a few years’ experience shooting and editing weddings.Payouts vary from INR 25,000 to 40,000 or more per month.
The High-End Wedding Market
Each year, around 2,000 high-end weddings take place in India. These are multi-day extravaganzas that defy the Western imagination, complete with pyrotechnics, performances by gyrating Bollywood actors and international music stars, and thousands upon thousands of invited guests.
“The Indian wedding is the Indian wedding is the Indian wedding. There is nothing that comes close to it,” says superstar fashion designer Rohit Bal. “Where else can you show off your extravagance, your opulence, your wealth?”
And, each year, these weddings seem to become more and more over the top, as prominent families aim to outdo each other with even more elaborate events, more exotic destinations, more expensive clothes and fine jewellery.
The $50 billion Indian wedding market has had to revamp. The reward for getting it right is immense: Half of India’s 1.3 billion-strong population is under the age of 30, incomes are growing, and the ubiquity of social media has led to a showcase of aspirational weddings on Instagram. Euromonitor International forecasts that India’s $1 billion luxury fashion segment will register a 20.3 per cent compounded annual growth rate over the next five years.
Bridalwear designers now need to create clothes that work year-round and cater to more informal tastes. Decadent lehengas, a type of ankle-length skirt, are being ditched in favour of toned-down looks. “I am tired of hearing how the most expensive couture clothes in India are so uncomfortable that brides weep because they are miserable and cannot walk,” says TarunTahiliani, one of the country’s more established designers.
Also, it is increasingly common for affluent Indians to spend on outfitting family members and even guests for the occasion — all the better to show off on Instagram. Brides are becoming more conscious about how weddings are documented, and with the aim of a uniform aesthetic, close family will also choose looks from the same brand. For example, Padukone and Ranveer Singh’s nuptials in Lake Como saw the bridal party in a variety of creations by Sabyasachi.
According to Alex Kuruvilla, president of Condé Nast India, the average Indian spends a staggering one-fifth of the wealth accumulated in his lifetime on a son or daughter’s wedding, second only to the investment made in the family home.
From The IKF Desk On Wedding, Fashion And Career In India – An Interdependent Trio
The revolution of modest fashion to high-end to luxury fashion has seen a tremendous growth, especially within the Bridal market. While fashion prides itself on being democratic, there is no doubt that its elitist elements give it sheen and allure. And for now, in India, fashion depends on weddings to create a feeling of fantasy. How do you feel about the wedding business, as an overview? Do let us know in the comments below!