Between tradition and modernityAlthough there are regional differences in draping style, Indian sarees are the most widely worn by women. The saree is a traditional garment comprised of six yards of cloth but has been adapted into trendy new styles and fashions, making it much more than just a traditional dress.
Nevertheless, the salwar kameez, a comfortable dress-like cloth, combined with wide trousers and a long stole, dominated the country’s apparel market for women, especially during festivities or family functions such as weddings.
Although ethnic wear is usually the first choice for women, western wear such as activewear and t-shirts accounted for high growth rates, pushing the women’s apparel market in a different direction. The inflow of global western wear companies such as Zara, Westside, and Vero Moda created a new challenge for traditional retailers in India.
Brand-new retail formsThe retail of clothes in India has been traditionally organized into small family-owned stores selling a variety of patterns and styles which are purchased by means of a tough bargaining process. Products were often locally produced and mostly without a brand tag. With the expansion of malls, organized retail, and, the growth of the e-commerce sector, the share of unbranded clothes decreased, and branded clothes emerged as new growth drivers of the market.
The growth of branded websites including Biba and Fabindia increased significantly compared to online marketplaces such as Flipkart and Amazon. Overall, changes in the Indian retail structure and fashion preferences shaped and continue to influence the apparel market for women in the country.