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Ethnic Retailing at its Best

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The ethnic market has grown largely in the last decade. Keeping up with the ever-changing consumer demands and preferences, the ethnic wear industry for whom India has become highly competitive. This has led to proliferation of brands riding on the burgeoning middle-class that has benefitted by rising incomes and fast urbanisation. Malls and select shops, which earlier catered to only western wear clientele, today have dedicated floors for ethnic fashion. With the introduction of new fabrics, rising awareness through fashion shows, advertising and more, the demand for ethnic wear is growing steadily. Owing to rich cultural and religious diversity, a wide range of occasions are celebrated. On festive occasions, consumers tend to purchase ethnic wear for both personal use and for gifting purposes.

This is another factor that drives the growth for women’s, kids and men’s ethnic wear. Be it professional or even casual get-togethers, there is nothing more comfortable than the ethnic wear. In fact, most non-resident Indian (NRI) women dress ethnically and prefer the sari or the salwar kameez over the pant suit or skirt, no doubt to display the pride being an Indian in a foreign land. The sari, initially considered a messy garment, when pinned and pleated neatly gives women a different aura itself. Some Indians take pride in their clothing, food, music and literature in order to keep their heritage alive. Surprisingly, this pride is something which is shared by the foreigners in India as well. No wonder, ethnic retailing is the best bet! Now if we were to closely observe the Indian ethnic wear industry, one might fi nd that the rush in the early 90s to wear all things western and look cosmopolitan has fizzled out. By the late 1990s and the 2000s, the Indian ethnic fashion was back in vogue, after a reinvention.

The sari and the salwar kameez got a makeover. Even khadi, which had loss its charm and was limited to certain sections of the society, has got an image makeover to become a symbol of stature and style. Modern designers have given Indian saris a new lease of life when they were once neglected and were worn only during weddings and formal functions. They have experimented with fabric, embroidery and length and voila, so that every Indian woman now wants to fl aunt chiffon, satin or a net sari. Bollywood, too has popularised the sari concept and provided great impetus. The salwar kameez met with the same fate. While they were shunned earlier for being baggy, shapeless and only garment that one had to wear, they were transformed into beautiful and silhouette-hugging fashionable clothes by  designers. The Anarkali, which is now a rage in the market has helped it come back. Now, no television serial bahu can be found without an embroidered Anarkali or chiffon or a net sari in their wardrobe. The Anarkali became the Indian ball gown, a trend that was soon picked up by the masses in general. Ethnic wear segment, which was considered to be the domain for Indian women, has now extended to men’s segment as well. Initially men were stuck with grey and drab colours and had the kurta pajama as their friend.

Through a little innovation, the once-royal ensemble became the talk of the town with their avatar as the sherwani. Men could now resort to elegant bandhgalas, well tailored jackets and even the kurta pajamas come in different colours and now they have accessories like the brooch. The rapid growth in this segment has attracted a lot of major apparel retailers, such as , ’s and Lifestyle to the metros, tier-II and tier-III cities. Hyderabad is one of these markets. Brands like Neeru’s and other leading brands in the city have grown as a result of trend. Neeru’s is a brand close to home and has been a major contributor to this trend, especially in the south. Since its inception in 1971, the brand has carved a niche for itself in ethnic fashion industry. It was one of the most popular and fi nest brands in women ethnic wear. One of the reasons for the popularity of ethnic wear in the Indian fashion and retail industry is the perfect balance that it creates between traditional values and sense of style and Neeru’s caters to that perfectly.

The Neeru’s , Wedding Galleria( the world class store with 30,000 sq.ft. area ) is a brilliant example of this. It has a mix and match of western and ethnic wear for both men and women, in varied colours and styles. In fact, most NRIs prefer Neeru’s as their ultimate shopping destination. Ethnic wear was initially a category that was largely restricted to the older age segment. However, it is now fi nding acceptance even among the younger generation, especially women. The young college going girl usually teams her kurta with leggings or jeans, making it a mixed ensemble – a touch of traditional and the modern. At Neeru’s the services offered cater to this sentiment. With the launch of Neeru’s Menz, now men no longer go looking for the plaid trousers. They are willing to shell out money for the elegant looking sherwani or bandhgala. Our product offers a lot of choices to every buyer for every occasion irrespective of their age group. It is this very aspect that makes Neeru’s a much loved shopping destination. It has already strongly entrenched itself as a leader of exquisite ethnic wear in South India, and its clientele list is not only spread from across the country, but also overseas – the UK, the US, Canada, Middle East and other countries.

The fashion industry in the country is constantly trying hard to break out of the traditional costume mode, experimenting with edgy designs, different silhouettes and new colours. In short, it is an established fact that ethnic fashion works best in India and has very bright future.