Fashion India at one time was looked down upon by the middle class Indian. The industry
has been regarded predominately as an import from the West. It was looked upon as
degradation of Indian values and typically reserved for the elitists. A need emerged
for the taking of Indian fabrics and combining them with Western cuts and styles
to create Fashion India. The creation of this Fashion India style has reached the
masses and is now widely accepted. Fashion India which was once a niche market in
major cities has now reached the masses in India's small towns.
Fashion India’s Luxury Brands
India may be finally ready to adopt western luxury brands in the same manner that
China has done so recently. Indicators of India’s readiness to accept luxury brands
include a growing literacy rate, the emergence of the class of millionaires and a
trend towards a younger population in the future. The associated jewelry as a companion
to fashion will also be on high demand.
Custom made fashions in India is more prevalent than western nations due to its low
cost. The ready to wear fashion market in India is dominated by menswear due to
its longer fashion cycle than womenswear.
Foreign Labels in Fashion India
There are a number of foreign labels already in India influencing the country's fashions.
Brands such as Levi Strauss, Benetton, and Ralph Lauren have already invaded the
country either through franchise stores or setting up their own stores.
While there are quite a few men's brands such as Arrow, Louis Phillippe, and Van
Hausen, there is a shortage of national brands for womenswear in India. With the
growing population of working women in India, this provides a great opportunity for
those interested in importing to India.
The Recycling of Imported Clothing in Fashion India
While fashion India is a growing industry, the majority of the country's population
is still poor relative to the western nations. Consequently, the importation of
used western clothes for sale in India is a also a growing import trade. The donated
clothes are often not resalable in the west but they are sold in the international
markets as commodities for resale in India. This supplies the less affluent in India
with a steady supply of western clothes even though it is more for warmth than fashion.
Used clothing is often smuggled illegally into India where it is sold in weekly markets
to the poor or to the middle class. The key area for the used clothing trade is
in Delhi's Azad market where there are many shops selling boots, tents etc. Larger
importers of used clothing often destroy the materials and recycle them into new
thread. This becomes the raw materials for the production of blankets, uniforms
Fashion India has the extremes of selling luxury or private label brands to fashion
conscious wealthy minority or selling used clothing to the poor or middle class majority.
In both cases, they provide a great business opportunity for the importer to India.