Homegrown, craft-oriented, greener: Meet India's new fashion industry

Nueva York - The Indian fashion industry has gone through tremendous change in 2019. FashionUnited looks into where it has landed by the end of the year. Meet the new India’s fashion: Homegrown, craft-oriented, greener, digital-first.

The Indian fashion industry is one of the largest in the world as it provides clothing for more than 1.2 billion people. Governmental sources estimate that today’s Indian textile industry is at 33 billion dollars, with unstitched garments comprising 8 billion dollars. Indeed, textiles and clothing account for 14 percent of total industrial production, according to the Textile Association of India.

The Indian fashion industry has witnessed a shift of paradigm in 2019

As highlighted by the Asian edition of ‘Entrepreneur’ magazine, the fashion industry in India is booming as there is a strong demand for fashion-forward clothing. “Sold online, in mall stores and small boutiques, the fashion industry is growing each day. The industry has unorganized small businesses which are gradually becoming organized with more established large fashion retail chains and online marketplaces,” points out the publication. A noticeable trend strengthened over the last twelve months is the growing number of entrepreneurs who are neither fashion designers nor fashion graduates who are entering the market to explore opportunities.

On a related note, ‘The Hindu’ highlights how the exhibition of nine contemporary Indian clothing brands at the Qatar India 2019 Year of Culture in Doha, has illustrated the paradigm shift in Indian fashion. The new Indian fashion has a strong focus on craft and handwoven textiles, seamless co-creation with the artisanal clusters of India, and most importantly, and overall emphasis on slow fashion.

Meet the designers leading the change in the Indian fashion industry

Namely, these are some of the designers leading the charge: Mia Morikawa and Shani Himanshu of 11.11, Sohaya Misra of Chola, Gaurav Khanijo, Santanu Das of Maku, Chinar Farooqui of Injiri, Shreya and Priyal Mewara of Ode to Odd, Pallavi Dhyani of Three, and Urvashi Kaur.

The country’s industry’s take on conscious fashion differs slightly from that of the rest of the world. — represent a certain design mindset that is sweeping across India. While global fashion has accepted that there is an urgent need to slow down, streamline production, reduce inventory and edit collections, in India it’s all about homegrown, small-scale, mindful, craft-oriented fashion businesses. This new wave of fashion mavericks not only acknowledge the negative impact of their profession on the environment, but are determined to address it at a design level, looking into potential improvements for the entire supply chain; from sourcing and packaging to the final product.

Noteworthy, the previous generation of Indian fashion designers have paved the path to this new era. Market experts call out the likes of James Ferreira with his zero-waste ethos, or designers such as Rajesh Pratap Singh, Abraham & Thakore, Ritu Kumar, Rohit Bal, Tarun Tahiliani, Anamika Khanna, and Sabyasachi who have strived to work with artisanal communities of India in the past decade.

The Indian apparel market will be worth 59.3 billion dollars in 2022

According to data from McKinsey’s FashionScope, the Indian apparel market will be worth 59.3 billion dollars in 2022, making it the sixth largest in the world, comparable to the UK’s (65 billion dollars) and Germany’s (63.1 billion dollars). To this point, the latest ‘State of Fashion Report’ by ‘Business of Fashion’, in 2019, India has been propelled by strong macroeconomic tailwinds, with its GDP is predicted to grow 8 percent a year between 2018 and 2022 and the country’s middle-class forecast to expand by 1.4 percent a year over the same period, outpacing China, Mexico, and Brazil. “As a result, India is set to evolve from an increasingly important sourcing hub into one of the most attractive consumer markets outside the Western world,” concludes the BoF.

Image: Maku Textiles by Santanu Das, official website

 

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