Fashion and India - Part 1

Ritu Kumar Bridal Photoshoot
Fashion and India have recently got into the passionate affair that is burning quite bright all over the country, and may have started to shimmer internationally too, only recently. It is not as old as Paris, London, or Italy, despite having a population that is much-much bigger than all these countries’ put together. It is a rather new phenomenon. Although, it cannot be denied that there have been some stolen glances and some shared kisses with people like Ritu kumar and Rohit Khosla treading in, seemingly eons ago.

Nevertheless, Indians have been rather ignorant when it comes to global trends and truth be told, per capita, they still are. Still the change is obvious and the Indian industry is now increasingly becoming a cut throat, merciless competition like in other industries. With so much that traditional crafts have to offer and such a rich history in textiles the modern Fashion Industry as we know it today isn’t something that had caught on till about a decade ago. The industry ran slow, designers unlikely to take risks, and technically challenged, and brands were still not the majority of the population was going for. There were master tailors in each area for stitched garment needs and the rural populatiom still used only woven fabric (saree and dhoti) as their primary garment of choice.

However, a lot has changed with the advent of Internet, TV and Mobile phones in the urban, suburban and rural sectors in India. The urban sectors have now started looking it luxury and semi luxury brands, and a growth in YUPPIE culture has been seen in the last decade. India is considered an attractive market for luxury brands; about 50 premium and luxury brands, including Jimmy Choo, Gucci, Christian Dior, Chanel, have opened stores in India in recent years.  Not only that ‘branding’ is now a major puller to this money making bunch of people who are much more fashion conscious than their previous generation was. Unlike the yuppies in America in the late 70’s and 80’s, the Indian young population is much more aware because of internet, international TV networks and global tightening. Consumer spending on fashion products has grown at 7.1% annually from 2002 through 2007.
Image Courtesy - Vogue

The neighborhood tailor who was an expert on making Indian pattern now faces challenge from not only Indian brands that have come up with better designs at lower cost but also in more European (western, to be politically correct) silhouette being demanded by the people who have now started looking at the fashion leaders (the one thing that hasn’t changed in the last 60 years, namely Bollywood actors). These tailors are now being fast replaced by marts and malls which offer easy access and no-jhanjhat shopping experience for the women. Urban metropolitans like Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Gurgaon have seen an entire generation sporting brands and readymades, and buying material and getting it stitched from a local tailor is now a passé, something that our parents would swear by, and have long discussions about.

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About Aparna Mudi

Aparna is a fashion graduate from NIFT, New Delhi. She has a passion for writing about everything under the sun, especially about fashion and lifestyle.

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