WORK FROM HOME ESSENTIALS: BRANDS & RETAILERS REVEAL COMFORT & UTILITY ARE ON TOP OF CONSUMERS' MINDS
Business Of Fashion|February 2021
A detailed look at why categories like casual wear, loungewear, athleisure, nightwear, etc., have witnessed unprecedented demand since the pandemic forced people to work from home.

The work from home culture has radically altered fashion preferences across the world. Over the last few months, as people were stuck inside their homes, the preference for comfortable apparel snowballed. Consumers’ preferences started gravitating towards apparel that were comfortable to work in yet presentable enough for virtual meetings and social-media appearances.

“Work from home has removed all boundaries of formal/semi-formal attire. The office has moved from a chair to a couch to a bean bag and thus the shift to comfort clothing. However, the erratic work timings and team call with cameras on having ensured at least the essence of an attire which is a must-have. This has given a boost to the consumption of a newer category of clothing termed as Home Wear. Home wear encapsulates attire which is not just comfortable in nature but is all-purpose, presentable, and categorized decent for an official showcase,” states Nishant Poddar, Chief Marketing Officer, Universal Sportsbiz Pvt. Ltd. (USPL) whose brand portfolio includes Wrogn, Imara, and Ms.Taken.

Echoing similar thoughts, Deepak Bansal, Director, Cantabil Retail India Ltd., says, “A renewed demand has emerged for casual wear-cum-formal wear. Individuals are demanding comfortable wear across fits and fabric categories. We have noticed a rise in demand for knitted garments as compared to the pre-COVID situation. The demand for t-shirts, knitted shirts, trousers, blazers, and lightweight stretch denim has increased. We have also noticed the increased requirement for regular fits in shirts, blazers, straight and narrow fit trousers, and denim.”

Categories like casual wear, semi-formal wear, loungewear, athleisure, nightwear, etc., quickly became work from home essentials and witnessed unprecedented demand since the pandemic forced people inside.

“With Unlock India and ease in COVID-19 restrictions, stores again became operational, and people began to venture out resulting in a spike in purchase due to pent-up demand, which triggered recovery for the sector. It is from this period onwards that we are witnessing a satisfactory growth in results after analyzing the data. There has also been a gradual increase in sales in knits products, i.e., 10-12% every month from September 2020 onwards. In casual wear, we have noticed average growth of 10% in the last three months,” Bansal added.

According to Poddar, USPL’s Wrogn, a leading brand from the athleisure segment, has witnessed high demand for its range of products in the last few months. “The trajectory has been on an upward curve already and the changing consumer behavior in the last few months has ensured that the curve continues to see an upward trend. Athleisure and home wear have seen a northwards trend of 20-25% as against 10-12% previously. Athleisure, especially, has been amongst the fastest-growing categories in the fashion space. The pandemic has definitely made this category more relevant and it has quickly found acceptance across all target groups,” he states.

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