The fashion industry has probably not witnessed a force more unrestrained than causal wear in the past. In the last decade, casualization has swept through global fashion sensibilities with unflinching determination and today, it has entrenched its stronghold as a wardrobe staple throughout the world. Reports suggest that more than one-third of the global population has embraced casual wear in the few years and the trend exhibits no signs of waning.
In fact, in the last year, consumer inclination towards casual wear has increased manifolds due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As the world became restricted to their homes, fashion senses started gravitating towards comfortable and presentable clothes that can easily transition from work from home to grocery-runs and social-media appearances. Thus, demand for casual wear skyrocketed globally after the lockdown.
“It has been a year since the lockdown triggered new trends in fashion with people finding new ways of adjusting to the new normal. Over the last six weeks, we have seen a shift from loungewear to casual and smart wear. Initially, we saw an upsurge in fashion essentials, as consumers were prioritizing comfort and investing in apparel that were stylishly comfortable and allowed them to slounge. At Westside, during and post the lockdown, we saw an amazing response on our range of fashion essentials that comprised of updated basics in mood refreshing colours and patterns of the seasons. We focused on creating looks that were both comfortable and presentable - all at an unexpected value,” says Umashan Naidoo, HeadCustomer & Beauty, Westside.
“With the Work-from-Home model and offices operating with limited staff, there certainly has been an impact on workwear-wardrobe choices. Power Dressing, the way we see it, is out. People have gravitated to Smart Casual and this shift is a very instinctive thing isn’t it, of us humans adapting to change. In this case, responding by way of choice of attire, where ‘live easy’ appears to be the new norm,” says Sirish Kumar, Director, Astormueller Shoes India Pvt. Ltd.
“2020 has impacted every aspect of our lives. As we continue to battle the pandemic, the textiles and apparel industry within India as well as the world experienced unprecedented disruptions. The pandemic has thrown light upon the urgent need for consumers as well as organizations to focus on sustainable choices, products and processes. And to that effect, sustainable fashion has accelerated to centre stage within the industry. The sustainable fashion trends of the future are heavily influenced by the events of today, which could never have been predicted. As we look towards 2021 and gradually recover, we believe that the changing consumer attitude will continue to encourage the industry to embrace sustainability at all levels. With the COVID-19 pandemic, more changes have been brought to the already transforming fashion and textile industries. E-commerce platforms fueled sales for apparel brands during the pandemic,” says Avinash Mane, Commercial Head, South Asia, Lenzing Group.
“The Coronavirus has really affected the fashion industry on all manner of different levels. Despite the high fashion world being put on hold, digital demand has actually been high for products and clothing items that people equate with comfort. The current comfort buying trends have also seen a spike in slippers and a fair amount in streetwear. With the pandemic disallowing socializing, shoppers are also preferring comfort wear slippers or shoes over formal footwear. We believe, more and more organisations will adopt hybrid models (of working) once people will come back (to office),” says Ishaan Sachdeva, Director, Alberto Torresi.
“Indeed, pandemic has changed a lot of things- in terms of fashion too. Casual wear has captured the market in a way that it has never done before, whereas formal wear has taken a setback. ‘Comfort’ is now the key in new normal. People are working from home so formal wear is no more a necessity. Infact, most corporate offices have given relaxation on the work wear. The shift towards comfort and casual wear was already happening and COVID circumstances has proved to be a major catalyst towards the same. People are more and more confident enough to own their skin and wear what they are comfortable with,” says Ashish Jain, CEO & Director, Von Wellx Germany- India.
Analyzing the Influencers
While comfort and functionality are supposedly the two most important aspects of any apparel, a look through history reveals that these words deserved little to no attention in fashion hitherto. And this is where casual wear created magic!
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