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Evolved market, global style trends redefine denim in India

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The ever-growing denim market in India is on a roll, feel leading jeans manufacturers who credit evolved Indian customers and the influence of global style trends for this change. An organised retail sector, young population, online penetration of denims and increasing popularity of engineered or distressed pieces will continue to fuel the growth of this segment.

“Denims have been clearly witnessing an upward trend in terms of consumer preference over the years. Originally a product for the youth, it has grown to cut across geographies, gender and age groups,” Aamir Akhtar, CEO – Denims, Arvind Ltd, told IANS.

Parag Dani, Business Head of Gap India, feels the denim market in India and around the world has grown consistently, irrespective of macro or micro trends in the fashion world.

“Given the average age of the Indian consumer today, and influence of global style trends in the country, the industry can be expected to grow at a double-digit rate since more people are finding comfort in this evergreen product,” Dani told IANS.

Right from celebrities in the 1980s and 1990s sporting an indigo pair of denim, which was considered more of a fashion statement, to its evolution today — where CEOs and others feel comfortable wearing this product in more formal settings — the product has grown to fit into people’s lives.

Govind Shrikhande, Customer Care Associate and Managing Director, Shoppers Stop Ltd, agrees.

“Today, denim is considered a multipurpose fabric with it being used as casual wear, everyday wear, and is also gaining popularity in leisure form owing to the comfort provided by stretch denims. New-age companies and start-ups are relaxing the norms with introduction of Friday dressings and casual dressings to work, denims is increasingly becoming an acceptable attire at work,” Shrikhande said.

Shoppers Stop has come up with a ‘Denim to Work’ campaign, an initiative that encourages working professionals to include denims in their work wear wardrobes.

According to a study published on IndiaRetailing, the market size of Indian denim wear was estimated to be Rs 20,205 crore in 2016. The market is now projected to grow at a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 14.5 percent and reach Rs 39,651 crore by 2021, and Rs 77,999 crore market by 2026.

Ravi Sharma, Country Manager, Promod, feels India is a big market with a lot of untapped potential for the denim industry despite the fact that the industry has been growing robustly over the past few years.

“Currently, Asia enjoys a market share of 22 per cent out of which India contributes to nearly half of that market. I see a lot of influence of India in jeanswear in the coming years as the demand is increasing in all segments,” he said.

A wide range of consumer segments consider denim as an apparel of choice owing to its comfort and style. Also, increasing usage of denim products by women and youth are some of the most significant and noticeable changes we are seeing the world over in jeans wear,” he added.

Many brands are coming with lines focussing on denim.

“Brands have increased the number of jeans wear in their lines. A lot of brands which earlier were not involved in jeans wear have also added them as a part of their offerings,” said Akhtar, who also feels there is greater focus on value addition such as finish, hand-feel and fits.

“The amalgamation of science and technology with denims has created a space for smart clothing. Arvind has been the fabric partner for Google Jacquard project which saw Levi’s creating smart denims for its consumers,” he added.

Even Gap as a brand is noticing changes in the denim wear market.

“Among the most noticeable changes are how lightweight that can be worn all-year-round, irrespective of the weather. Given that jeans play such an important role in our brand, we measured the environmental impact of a pair of both men’s and women’s jeans. Using these results, we increased our efforts in areas where we have direct influence: raw materials selection, fabric development, garment production and finishing.

“Another key trend is the personalisation of your pair of denim,” said Dani.

Shrikhande feels the comfort of wearing denims, coupled with a variety of styles and prints in jeans, shorts and dresses that are available in the market has made denims the apt choice for consumers.

“Styles such as boyfriend jeans, flare or distressed denims are preferred by consumers in the country, especially during the summer season,” he said.

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