Saturday, August 27, 2011: 08:32:42 PM

Retail Trend

Retailers cashing in on women’s wear

With urban women’s wear market rapidly growing, retailers are enhancing stocks to tap market

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As more and more women enter the corporate sector and Indian businesses go global, western formal clothes have seen a great surge in demand. Retailers are known to research on the market trends to decide on their collections and it looks like women’s western wear is likely to occupy the maximum shelves in the days ahead.

Some of the major retailers have revealed that they have increased the ratio of western urban wear to ethnic wear to 50:50 keeping in mind the increasing demand of these clothes.
Growth drivers
Globalisation of Indian businesses, which is a key growth driver in the retail industry, also demands women to wear clothes with an international touch. With video conferencing making the world visibly smaller, the right attire is more important than ever today.
Market surveys indicate that though the women’s wear market is dominated by traditional wear like sarees, kurtis and salwars, urban western apparel has shown rapid growth. The changing outlook of the society towards working women has also played a key role in the transformation. Women today are opting for clothes that are comfortable, hassle-free and more fashionable in the international context. Foreign apparel retailers and lifestyle brands entering the Indian market have also played a crucial role in changing the tastes.
More money in the hands of the urban working woman has also enhanced their purchasing power and this is reflected in the best sellers of some of the formal wear brands like Van Heusen and Allen Solly. According to US based fashion designer Jyoti Khaitan Goel, “Indian women today are more exposed to Western ideas than ever before. The rise in the demand of formal western clothes like shirts, trousers and formal dresses is understandable because a large number of Indian businesses today have global clients.”
Comfort factor
In the Indian business space, women employees today are realising the benefits of western wear as well. These clothes offer more flexibility and comfort. Fusion wear has also risen in popularity in tier II and tier III cities. Combining traditional ethnic tops like kurtis and short kurtis with jeans and other western bottoms has also propelled the retail growth of women’s western wear in these regions.
Enakshi Kundu, brand expert and business development manager at Ideazfirst, an established event management and experiential marketing firm in Kolkata, explains, “In jobs such as PR and corporate communication, where there is a lot of client interaction, formal urban wear has become an absolute necessity. I think they are more convenient for everyday wear. However, when it comes to formal occasions and even certain important corporate parties, wearing a saree is most appropriate, as it is the ultimate Indian formal wear.”
Retailers have already understood the huge potential that the women’s urban wear has in the Rs 65,000 crore women’s wear industry. While the collection just ahead of the festive season may not be the best indicator, it is clear that retailers will shift to their new western to ethnical ratio in the months ahead.

Tias Chakraborty

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