30 January 2020
According to a survey carried out by ProdegeMR, around 35 per cent of respondents spent (on an average) between Rs. 701 and Rs. 1,700 per month on ethnicwear, as of May 2019. Even as the segment commands a pretty impressive market share, the much needed transformation in the ethnicwear category has brought to the fore an entire new segment which is a mix of Indian and westernwear – fusionwear.
While the trend is new and is witnessing new experiments on a very frequent basis, the majority of women ethnicwear brands are now entering into the segment in one way or the other.
“Fusionwear or Indo-westernwear has been making its way into the wardrobes of Indian women over the last few years. We are seeing new styles in fusionwear, and experimenting with existing ethnic silhouettes. Brands and designers are also now experimenting more than ever with this trend. Fusionwear can be anything from kurtis worn over simple jeans to sarees with crop tops and lehengas paired with shirts and T-shirts. Given its versatility and ability to go from day to evening, casual to dressy, we see an increasing trend of women experimenting with fusionwear to define their unique sense of style,” asserts Vinay Chatlani, CEO, Soch.
While the emergence of fusion is being seen as an evolution of the ethnic segment, it is more like a show of adaptability by the category to the latest trends, an effort to revive its collection and give it a fresh and modern twist, thereby attracting today’s women who are on a lookout for an altogether new range of collection. This cult of Indo-westernwear is proving to be a boon for the ethnicwear industry.
Malini Chawla Saigal, COO, Ravissant, a relatively new player in the category, maintains, “Fusionwear leaves ample room for getting as creative as one can be with their choice of clothing. It allows the person to break away from the shackles of set clothing norms and mix and match the top and bottom and if getting it customised, even mix and match the cut and style of an outfit to have a heavy western as well as Indian influence in one outfit.”
With western elements influencing the fashion market to a large extent, the younger population of the country is embracing ethnicwear by going for traditional styles in modern silhouettes, which essentially is the essence of modern fusionwear.
The sheer factor of fusionwear being a combination of style and comfort helps the category excel among its discerning consumer base.
Vinay avers, “At Soch, we have seen an increasing trend towards wardrobe modularity – consumers want garments that they can not only wear as a full ensemble, but also the option to take parts of different ensembles and create a new outfit from the same.”
While the segment is proving to be a critical market for fashion-savvy and spirited women in metros, it has not stopped from entering the Tier-2 and beyond areas as well. The segment has very well caught the fancy of women across all demographics, not limiting the trend to urban cities only. Even as Soch and Ravissant have a larger presence in Tier-1 cities, the brands believe that the growing demand from Tier-2 and Tier-3 regions will attract retail firms offering fusionwear options there.
As we talk about the popularity and acceptance of fusionwear category, the point of concern remains the designing of fusionwear merchandise without crossing the thin line between western and Indian clothing. Fusionwear is a critical market where brands are required to balance the fusion of ethnicity and western influences and yet provide exclusivity to customers in terms of design.
“Picking the right trends to take to the consumer, ensuring right product availability in the appropriate micro-market at the right time and winning the consumer away from discount-driven consumption behaviour to thoughtful and purposeful consumption, we believe these are a few challenges that need to be solved for consistently growing,” informs Vinay.
However, Malini concludes on a positive note, “The perception for fusionwear has undergone a sea change as women are more receptive to experimenting. The fusion styles have actually revolutionised the industry in many ways as they are a quintessential blend of modern and traditional in a comfortable and elegant way.”