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Keeping it Warm in the Winters with Thermal wear

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As people in India get more and more fashion conscious, the rise in thermal wear comes as no surprise. No doubt trendy overcoats and cardigans sell like hot cakes during winters but irresistible outerwear is pushing people to indulge in thermal wear with growing propensity as compared to sweaters and cardigans. Images Business of Fashion speak with top brands to find out about the dynamics in the thermal wear industry in India in terms of acceptance, demands and trends.
Setting the context for the story, Saket Todi, Director, Lux Industries, shares, “Considering the frequency of social and cultural events in the winter season, thermal products are the preferred choice. People are becoming increasingly fashion conscious and as a result they have to take care of trends and comfort both. Indian consumers are always eager to keep abreast of the latest global fashion trends and this is the trigger for demand and purchase.”
According to Todi, this has led the brand to modify its production and a step towards this direction is accentuated with the launch of Lyra winter leggings. Citing the changing market dynamics for thermal wear in India, Kapil Pathare, Director, Maxwell Industries Limited, says, “The demand for thermal wear has increased over a period of time. In last two years in particular the number of branded thermal wear players have increased. More new brands have launched their thermal wear categories, within which the demand for light weight thermal is increasing faster as compared to traditional thick thermals.”
The demand for thermal wear can be gauged from the production by the brands. At Lux, the overall production of thermal wear is 10 million pieces (approximately) annually which comprises of men, women and kids. At VIP, since last two years, approximately two lakh pieces of thermals for men and 30,000 pieces for boys are being manufactured.
Brand story
Taking note of the growing fashion consciousness amongst people irrespective of the season, Dollar has spiced up its thermal wear collection giving it a designer look. Shares, Vinod Gupta, Managing Director, Dollar Industries Limited, “We have introduced the most stylish designer range of thermals this year by the name Dollar Ultra Premium. Available in black and white, the new range is being pitched as ultra-luxurious thermals with superior fit and comfort.”
In the thermal wear category, VIP known for its innerwear range has a premium range of thermal wear (tops and bottoms) for men and boys both. Elaborating on the range available, Pathare shares, “VIP offers two different types of thermals for men named Ray and Trans. Both the products are made of cotton polyester with difference in the texture of fabric. Ray has a brushed effect fabric and Trans has smooth and velvet effect. For boys we also have top and bottom named as Infy which has a smooth texture, snug and tailored fit.”
According to Todi, the buying cycle for thermal wear mainly starts from September and lasts till January. The highest sales are generated in the pre-winter season. Elaborating on the buying cycle, Pathare shares, “Usually consumers buy thermals in winters only and as in India the winter season is of four months, the retail buying cycle is once or twice in a year. The buying cycle changes for overseas flyers that travel to temperate regions.”
Accepted trends
Where white, black and antra rule the roost in terms of preferred choice for colors, brands dealing with thermal wear also offer more options which includes off white, grey, antra mélange, denim mélange and grey mélange. Shares Gupta, “Usually thermals are worn under shirts so natural shades are very useful for all day usage.”
Todi feels, “There is a marked change in colour preferences in India and bright & dark colours such as black and melange are in vogue in thermal wears.”
In terms of neck style, for men the most accepted is the v-neck and for women round neck is most preferred though again this has some regional overtones to it. Explains Todi, “Thermal wear is very region specific. Urbanites choose dark colours and v-necks with a nice fit, whereas in rural areas round-necks and stone-washed thermals are preferred.”
From neck styles to colors and the use of fibres and fabrics, the thermal wear range from each brand is undergoing changes. Elaborating on the range by Dollar, Gupta shares, “As mentioned earlier this winter we have introduced our premium range of thermals. The product is a stretch fabric to fit all body contours. It has a state-of-the-art grid layer that improves heat retention throughout the body. It is specially made with an amino silicon softness that gives excellent elastic properties, exceptional softness and silky finish. It is also capable of withstanding repeated washing cycles.”
At Lux, great emphasis is laid on research and development. Todi adds, “We have laid great emphasis on research and innovation through cutting-edge technologies for which specially made machines have been installed which are specially imported from Germany and USA, to meet the growing demands and aspirations of our valued customers.”
He elaborates, “We have successfully introduced anti-microbial technology specially treated with ‘SILVADUR’ (from the US) which eliminates bacteria, stops the growth of micro-organism and prevents discoloration of the fabric and unpleasant odour. We plan to use this technology in all our products and have begun with ONN Thermals. In this method, the fabric’s outer portion is divided into two different parts which gives warmth and lustre and the inner part is knitted with two different yarns which provides warmth as well as softness. Flat-sim is a unique technology which gives high strength to thermals.”
Regional variations
In terms of regional preferences, Gupta drives home a point stating how the choice of fibre and fabric needs to be kept in mind based on the climate. He shares, “Changes in climate and region give variation in selection of winter wear products. So the manufacturers give stress on region specific products. For example in the chilly northern climate wooly cot are more helpful than light weight thermals. And as the products don’t meet very frequent wash, the colour preference is dark like black, brown, stone, maroon and so on. Thermal are more preferred in cities for its fuzz free, light quality and colours are more like natural and black.”
With online retail spreading far and wide, thermal wear brands have at their disposal a powerful tool to reach out to their target audience. Besides this, social media can be effectively used as well. With winters in the northern regions of India getting colder, the demand for thermal wear brands is only set to rise.

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