10 February 2020
Bespoke fashion, which was once a prerogative of wealthy style connoisseurs, is now fast becoming a trend among today’s men around the world and is taking over the apparel industry which quintessentially offers personalised clothing options to the discerning. This new demand for the perfectly suave pair of shirts, suits and trousers led to the emergence of an organised bespoke clothing segment which initiated in the high streets of metros like Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore and then was taken over by a number of start-ups, who are now excelling at what they offer to their target consumers.
Sandeep Gonsalves, Co-founder & Director, SS Homme, agrees, “Most of the Indian population has grown up wearing tailored clothing. Bespoke clothing in today’s world paves the way from past to the future, and it involves a rigorous process of careful measuring sessions, patterning on paper, cutting the fabric, rough stitching, trial fittings, final tailoring and alterations, if necessary. It was once a privilege of fashion connoisseurs with deep pockets, but over the years, it has evolved, and is becoming a growing trend among professional men due to its impeccable standards.”
While we definitely are witness to the growing inclination towards bespoke category, what really is fuelling this shift? The one word for it is FIT, but that’s just not all.“Retail clothing has fixed sizing available starting with at the most a size of 36 and ending up at 50. This certainly leaves customers unhappy with the fit of the garment, which matters the most. From extra pockets or no pockets to details and trends, you can make an item more suited to your personal style and body shape in a customised suit than in a readymade one. In a country like ours, diversity can never be put on a standard scale, which ultimately makes up for the need for bespoke category,” apprises Varun Sharma, Head- Marketing, Hubert Ozz.
The concept of bespoke fashion is globally understood as dominated by menswear, unlike the kids and women categories which are either not very sound value propositions or are too fragmented. Rohan Khattar, Co-founder, Minizmo, concurs, “We, at Minizmo, offer only menswear. But 15-20 per cent of our customers are women who buy accessory gifts from us, and request for women’s made-to-measure. We are evaluating on getting into that segment. And honestly, if we do, I think it would be as big as menswear, if not bigger because the best part of getting into this category is that there aren’t too many companies or brands that are doing it at the moment and this is the right time if we want to enter into the segment. I would agree that it’s a little more challenging because of the silhouettes, the cuts and patterns and our supply chain, etc. and all of that has to be created from ground up.”
Even as the start-ups are taking up the segment by storm, there are brand names in the segment offering bespoke clothing options with an already established market presence and experience of retailing for years now. The bigwigs like Raymond Made to Measure and Arvind’s Creyateare definitely giving a tough competition to the start-ups in the category. However, the start-ups are creating their own niche and rules to serve the customers.
Varun agrees, “We have 100-plus customisation options to choose from. With respect to competition, there are several brands which do customisations today; however, we feel that they are restrictive as they only cater to a certain segment of the target group, they do not provide such an exhaustive list of customisations as we are providing and customer service facilities wherein we alter any defects free of charge. Start-ups in the segment are young and evolving, and are introducing new designs, new styles and newer customisations to always meet the current trends.”
Talking about the core target audience of bespoke clothing, they include mostly men in the age bracket of 30-50 years who are corporates, high-level executives or grooms or anyone having their own personalised and unique style.
A slew of new brands, including regional players and online players, have emerged in the last few years, but the demand and potential for bespoke clothing has remained consistent which reinforces the fact that the market is here to stay and has growth prospects in the years to come. This growing market is not only catering to the metros of the country but has successfully penetrated the Tier-2 and Tier-3 regions also, where the consumers are opening up to paying a premium for that exquisite piece of garment which defines their individuality.