Over one crore weddings take place in India every year spanning all sections of society. The wedding industry is estimated to be worth $50 billion, a large percentage of which comprises of the apparel segment. Half of India’s 1.3 billion population is under the age of 30, with high disposable incomes. This assured section of the population, so influenced by social media, want to plan their weddings and the frills that go with it – including clothes. Aiding these fashion conscious men and women in their wedding planning are e-commerce, social media influencers and fashion magazines.
In a freewheeling chat with IMAGES Fashion Bureau, Rachit Agarwal talks about the wedding wear market in India. The chat covers a myriad of topics including how weddings – and by default wedding clothes – are becoming so all-encompassing and how the Indian fashion retail industry is gearing up, revamping itself to cater to the growing demands of the Millennial generation with fashion, accessories and product innovation.
The Indian bridal wear industry is growing at a rapid rate and has the potential to become the largest wedding market in the world. Millennials aspire to look their best on their wedding day, and it is the retailer’s job to ensure they go the that extra mile to realise the shopper’s vision of a dream wedding.
The wedding trousseau market has changed and evolved over the years. It has become more structured with people being more focused about buying things they want and need rather than going on an endless shopping spree. The bride and groom are more aware and informed about their specific requirements and the options available, where comfort is more important than how heavy an outfit it.
Also, with the entry of e-tailing, social media and websites, blogs on vendors and service providers for anything related to a wedding, there are innumerable choices to consumers who are not restricted to their territory but have an entire globe of options at their doorstep.
The general assumption is that the wedding/festive season is principally the occasion wear season in India. What percentage of your annual work does this season constitute?
While the wedding/festive season is principally between October and December, but with destination weddings becoming so popular nowadays, the occasion is getting wider and widely distributed in the calendar cycle. The market has been showing good growth and our work has been increasing year-on-year. We make over 40 percent of our business between these months –from October to December.
As, a designer and a specialised boutique, can you tell us about the main consumer segments that come to you?
The consumers that used to come to us were the upper class and upper middle class but now we are also trying to provide smart, light and comfortable affordable fashion range to the middle/ aspiring class, which we hope would open more opportunities to serve a wider range of consumers.
What do you think are the major influences while opting for wedding trousseau?
The major factors which consumers and wedding trousseau buyers keep in mind are comfort and self-expression, with the adoption of prevailing fashion trends and style in the attire. The usability of the attire after the event on multiple occasions. And finally, the wedding attire falling under an affordable budget.
Tell us about the most popular demands of your consumers. What are the latest trends in wedding wear today?
The most popular demands we have been getting by both men and women are choosing comfortable and light wear over heavy attire. The consumers, today, have become smarter and are aware of their moods and wants much more than before.
The latest trend in wedding wear today is that the brides and grooms are not restricted to wearing classics. They are open to trying new and fun ways of sporting clothes, something which is an extension of their personality and which makes them look unique and stand out. So, from adorning themselves with accessories, putting on funky shoes and wearing personalised clothes, the idea is to be in love with detail and personalisation.
Tell us about the prevalent trends in terms of colours, silhouettes and embellishments.
While the classic red colour holds its ground for the bride; and colours like light pink, fuschia pink, bottle green, gold and purple are all making way to the wedding outfits, grooms too are experimenting out with gold, beige sherwanis to match their beautiful brides. For other wedding functions, sophisticated pastels or neutrals like powder pink, ivory, lilac, ecru and silver are ruling the year. People are experimenting with silhouettes but at the same time, are keeping in mind their body type. The heavy embellishments have given way to light work and thread work embroidery and heritage embroideries are also making a big comeback.
Whether for a client or for a collection, ‘the look’ is always critical. How do you go about designing and delivering ‘the look’ that goes for an occasion?
The look for an occasion is governed by lots of factors such as season, colour trends, design and style trends, body type, theme of the event and most importantly comfort of the client. So, it is not a single factor but an amalgamation of a lot of things which are centered around the comfort of the client.
What trends do you feel will emerge in the future?
The trend that is already emerging and shall hold stronger is the revival of heritage craft techniques in a modern way with a mix and blend of fabrics and designs. While, new innovative and original ideas would never go out of trend, there would be more amalgamation of heritage embroidery with modern embroidery techniques and styles. There would be emergence of more designers and designer labels.
Can you share the most memorable occasion/wedding wear creations of yours?
The most memorable wedding creations was the one where we developed same attire for the entire family for a special occasion with little changes as per their personalities in terms of colour or silhouette. It was not just heartwarming to see how a wedding brings the entire family together but was equally motivating and challenging to keep each outfit similar yet distinguished as per the personalities of the family members. So, it was designing for the entire family that became the most memorable creation for us as we also became a part of their wedding and story in a unique way.