Rising fashion enthusiasm among Millennials, increase in the number of emerging fashion designers and the advent of digital and mass marketing strategies by fashion brands have substantially transformed the men’s ethnic wear market in India. Various men’s wear brands and fashion designers have reintroduced and recreated the concept of traditional men’s ethnic wear that exudes an appearance of tradition and charm.
Brand promotions by celebrities and influence of TV serials and Bollywood have impacted the consumption of ethnic wear among Indian audiences. Deepak R. Ajwani, Proprietor, Leebas aptly shares, “The men’s ethnic wear market has been growing every year since the time we started out and it is becoming more glamorous. It’s major drivers are weddings, festivals, elections (to a certain extent), boost in economy, advertisements and also TV serials.”
According to PwC’s retail and consumer quarterly newsletter (third quarter 2018), the men’s ethnic wear segment constitutes nearly 6.6 percent of the total men’s wear market, which is largely restricted to occasion wear (i.e. weddings and festivals), as against 74 percent for women.
According to Ajwani, the segment has extremely bright prospects and is growing at a healthy rate every year. “If we compare the overall apparel index the share of the men’s ethnic wear segment it will not be less than 35 percent in consideration,” he says.
Mahendra Rathi, Proprietor, Rajshahi Poshak also confirms that there is huge scope in this category. “Till the year 2000, there were limited manufacturers in this line but the last 5 to 6 years have witnessed the entry of many organised as well as unorganised manufacturers in this segment,” he shares.
Leebas and Rajshahi Poshak are renowned men’s ethnic wear brands from the West and East regions of India. Laden with skill craftsmen, the brands off er captivating clothing collections which include accessories. They generally comprise of simple and designer kurta pajamas, Jodhpuri suits, traditional wedding sherwanis and wedding accessories (including mojaris, safas, stoles, etc.).
In India, traditional wear as a category plays a major role during festivities and wedding. Earlier men lacked options and had limited choices during festivities and when dressing up for weddings. Today, the way men approach fashion and personal style is evolving and hence, the men’s ethnic wear segment is brimming with exhaustive fashion and accessory choices. This in turn has created an exciting space for men’s wear brands to branch out into. There are garments available at all price points in various categories for men. Moreover, with the entry of many fashion designers into the men’s wear segment, innovation and creativity in outfits are also fueling this segment’s growth.
“The ethnic wear market is more or less a defined seasonal approach and the per capita consumption increases during festivities,” says Ajwani, “For us, the major business during the year starts with Eid, Navratri and continues till the wedding season. Besides, there are our regular customers who come to us for quality and reasonable rates for their regular wear suits too.”
Pertaining to wedding outfits – which is the most important part of any Indian wedding – and with the discerning male consumer getting more demanding. Wedding outfits are designed using high-quality fabric and efficient design methodologies. In the case of a destination wedding, where everything is planned according to the set theme, the wedding outfits need to do come together with the theme.
This encourages designers towards detailed awareness of suitable fabrics, design and styling methods. This is anticipated to enhance the demand for more exploration and product innovation in designing, which will stimulate the overall market growth. With this the rise in the adoption of innovative and customised designs offered by prominent fashion designers and stylists are anticipated to drive the market growth.
With a firm belief in quality and understanding the demands of its consumers, Rathi states that Rajshahi Poshak offers bespoke and customising facilities to customers at outlets located at Mullick Fatak in Howrah (West Bengal). “There is a very good scope in this field. We also do dress codes for many clubs, societies and company on various occasions,” he shares. On offer at Rajshahi Poshak outlets are kurta pajamas, dhotis, jackets, Indowestern clothes for men, along with the popular sherwani. The prices range between Rs 2,500 and Rs 3,500. Last fiscal year the brand achieved sales turnover worth Rs 5 crore and this year it plans to reach Rs 7 crore despite the volatile market. Furthermore, the brand plans to supply its products to global markets like Canada, the UK, and Bangladesh.
“The category works on the demand pattern where the most popular trends are kurtas and Pathani suits along with a dupatta/safa around the neck as a novelty,” explains Ajwani.
“Mojaris and dupattas to match suits are very popular combination and a regular choice for pairing with the outfit. Accessories like buttons are playing a major demand role. Nevertheless, pagri too has been in demand now to defi ne the complete ethnic took. The Indo-western, churidar-kurta with jackets are the most in demand.”
The Road Ahead Ajwani feels that the ethnic wear market is here to stay, with the men’s segment moving towards an organised setup with bigger and better brands addressing the need of new age consumers. “The brands which understand the consumer in this category have a bright future,” he says.
Growth in demand for varying styles of kurtas, sherwanis, Indo-western and Indian men’s wedding outfits is the primary factor driving the men’s ethnic wear market growth. Further, improvements in the quality of fabric and design techniques and stitching related modifications are expected to drive the ethnic wear market in India.
(With inputs from Gurbir Singh Gulati)