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The menswear retail sector has undergone a visible evolution as it moved from offering just boring basics or expensive designer garments to including multi-designer men’s stores and Instagram brands that are eco-friendly and influenced by street style. Verve gives you an overview of the ready-to-wear market while highlighting a mix of well-established and under-the-radar labels
Last year, I set out with two of my guy friends on a mission: to find the perfect sherwani. The occasion was one of their weddings, and he was quite clear about what he didn’t want — asymmetrical silhouettes and OTT embellishments. The brief was clear but the search, overwhelming. Five stores and hundreds of fabric samples later (the groom also knew that he wanted breathable textiles as it was a summer wedding), we finally found the right match. Through my friend, I observed that the millennial Indian male consumer has developed his sartorial cognizance. But, is there enough supply available for this growing demand?

According to Raymond’s 2018-19 annual report, India’s apparel market is majorly driven by menswear, with it accounting for 43 per cent of the total market. The shift in behaviour is quite visible. From my father going to the local tailor to get his yearly quota of trousers and shirts stitched to my brother spending hours browsing through e-commerce apps to update his wardrobe, there has been a significant change in the way men shop. Rajiv Purohit, lead designer at Good Earth menswear, explains, “#menlovefashion #menlovejewellery #kohlinedeyes #menindrapesaresexy are hashtags I use to describe men’s fashion today. We lost this somewhere with men. Men today are involved and self-aware, like they were until the ’60s. They know what they want to wear, what fits work for them, and how to accessorise and take care of their bodies, inside and out. Even if unsure or apprehensive, men are more willing to experiment today. They are shopping for themselves, and they are shopping for entire looks. As a designer, it’s very important that I give styling ideas on how to mix and match, or dress up and down with the same look.”

In 1989, multi-designer store Ensemble showcased Rohit Bal’s first all-menswear collection. Following this, designers such as Manoviraj Khosla, Raghavendra Rathore, Rajesh Pratap Singh and Cue by Rohit Gandhi + Rahul launched their ready-to-wear lines for men. In 2009, the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) organised the country’s first ever men’s fashion week, in association with Van Heusen. That year was an important one for the industry as designers started breaking away from the kitschy, almost costume-like, approach to fashion and started presenting pared-down silhouettes that would sell on a global platform.

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December 2019 - January 2020