All it takes is just one look at today’s urbane and dapper man to realise that formal suits are his best personal style. Lately, a profusion of socio-economic factors have culminated in the proliferation of this savvy consumer base which exhibits a conscious inclination towards unique styles. IMAGES Business of Fashion takes a look at market growth drivers.
When menswear brand Peter England launched its suits and blazers collection for weddings and other occasions with Chennai Super Kings’ superstars MS Dhoni, Shane Watson, Dwayne Bravo and Murali Vijay sporting striking looks earlier this year, all the brand had on its mind was a high voltage fashion quotient.
Crafted with superior fabric, the collection featured suits and blazers with rich colour palettes that include lustrous wine tones, deep cobalt blues and vibrant earthy reds. The satin weaves along with the luxury fabric lend a touch of exclusivity to the collection. Reducing the heavy trims, the collection comprised three-piece suit sets, and blazers thoughtfully created to keep the customer’s comfort in mind. The high on fashion suits and blazers collection break the monotony by adding contrasting colours to the ensemble with perfection.
This collection by Peter England goes to show that men today are experimenting more than ever, wanting to look their finest on all occasions. “Standing out seems to have struck a chord among style-conscious men,” says Salesh Grover, Business Head, OSL Luxury Collections (Corneliani). “According to recent statistics, men are spending more on shopping than women, which indicates a change in trend. The men’s occasion wear market is transforming into a very detail-oriented, fashion conscious segment. It is all about getting noticed and being different.”
Celebrity endorsement plays a considerable role in setting fashion trends which are a crucial driver for suits market growth. It also helps to improve product and brand awareness. Additional growth factors include the acceptance of smart casuals in offices, rise of social media and new age digital media influencers, aside from the increasing workforce and growing disposable income of the middle class. And after witnessing a boom in the men’s suits wear segment, brands have upped their game.
The Indian economy is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Most of India’s young population – approximately 65 percent – is below 35 years of age, something which further stimulates the menswear market, with the new millennial man being a key growth driver.
According to Grover, the Indian menswear industry is valued at a whopping US $16 billion and is growing rapidly, and the size of men’s suits market is 8.9 percent of the total menswear market in the country.
In terms of volume, this market is 1 percent of the total menswear market and is expected to grow by 8 percent in the coming year.
Rapid urbanisation has spawned a modern class of consumers with more money to spend and a growing passion for current fashion. The demand for occasion-specific clothing is growing within the menswear segment. Modern age males are starting to prioritise personal grooming and fashion, further driving growth of the suits’ market. The demand for ethnic dressing at special occasions like marriages and social functions also gives a stimulus to the men’s formal wear segment.
“The segment has seen pretty good growth in the last couple of years. The young generation has a good chunk of income which is disposable and being exposed to international market, this generation wants to dress well. This has pushed the growth of suits and blazers market to new heights,” says Rajnish Sethia, Director, Success.
“The segment has been fueled by deep internet penetration and a growing awareness of global fashion trends thanks to the rise of fashion and lifestyle media. As a result, the middle class and the young population of the country are extremely trend conscious. And that’s the reason the future of formal wear is bright and blooming,” adds Grover.
Fashion & Trends
Features like nano-coating, quick-dry, feather light, stretch, light lining, fitted shapes, soft shoulders and slimmer lapels in hues that are currently ruling the season in as far as formal menswear goes.
For brand Corneliani, there is more to dressing up than the basics like black, brown and navy. “This season, it’s all about pastels, jeweled tones like burgundy and forest green, etc. Colours like lilac, mauve, sea blue, mustard, burgundy, ultra-violet and salmon pink are extremely in trend,” says Grover.
For Success, fitted suits that are shorter in length and checkered suits are dominating currently. “Brands are experimenting with brighter shades such as red and electric blue. Three-piece suits are also very in,” says Sethia.
“Trends are changing drastically and come festive and wedding seasons, the men’s formal wear market will be brimming with exhaustive fashion and accessories collections,” Grover adds. Another trend that is catching on in the segment is bespoke suits.
“The advent of bespoke tailoring is another factor giving a fillip to the suits’ market. People who were unable to buy readymade suits because of their physical structure are getting bespoke suits done. Moreover, people who wants perfectly fitted suits are preferring bespoke,” says Sethia. “On the whole, bespoke is going to stay and has a bright future and we believe it will even complement readymade suits market as people are becoming more conscious about wearing suits.
Grover adds to this explaining that Made-to-Measure (MTM) services are meeting the burgeoning demand of bespoke to suit precise requirements.
“Corneliani’s MTM experts not only focus on fittings but also on the consumers’ choice of fabrics, length of the garments, button lining codes, inside leg lengths, shape and posture of a customer’s body et. al. We continue to push the boundaries of quality and creativity with impeccable tailoring, fine styling and luxurious selection and textures. It has added growth to this industry as higher disposable incomes, nuclear family set ups and being fashion conscious, increased awareness, etc., have brought about a great change in the spending pattern of modern men,” he adds.
Sethia believes fashion and functionality – comfort – should go hand in hand. “A suit which is high in fashion but poor in comfort is of no use,” he says. His brand, Success, makes suits in fabrics with Lycra content and knit fabrics to add strechability and comfort to the person wearing it. “We are making lightweight unlined coats for maximum comfort.”
“The future of suits seems safe and bright. India being a young country full of young entrepreneurs, the suits segment is going to grow tremendously. It is in this segment that lies a huge opportunity,” he concludes.
(With inputs from Gurbir Singh Gulati)