by Navyata Bansal
The retail industry is susceptible to any disasters that arise, but COVID-19 was not one of them. The pandemic has shaken the hearts of the industry and changed consumer behavior, benefiting the local Indian industry the most. Consumers around the world were overwhelmed with anxiety and stress regarding international products and their uncertainty. They shifted their paradigm to a more local market, which in turn led to an increase in local brands and improved ideals.
“Made in India” is a common label in the United States, United Arab Emirates and China, accounting for nearly $ 52 billion in exports. But in India, this label means much more: it is a symbol of pride. However, the pandemic changed the course of the supply chain and disrupted international manufacturing, resulting in supply disruption despite skyrocketing demand. The market was suffering and the needs were not being met. This is when many entrepreneurs saw this as a growing need and took advantage of it.
Besides booming profits, entrepreneurs have also seen socio-cultural additions. India depends on its skilled artisans and its hand-weaving industry. According to the All India Handloom Census 2020, there are over 3 million artisans and households who depend on the handloom industry for daily wages, denoting the struggle. Many entrepreneurs saw it as a way to support the cultivation of their land. It was time for them to empower their local artisans, artisans and especially women. Anita Dongre, a contemporary Indian bridal designer, was one of the first to capitalize on artisans in 1995. She was one of the first designers to support Indian skills and artistry. It now has nearly seven brands in its portfolio. It was followed by many then, but the real growth took place in 2020. And people like it.
In addition to the cultural aspect, consumers seek to be more socially responsible. They want to give back to the environment and want to be able to trust their favorite brands. They are looking for companies that meet their needs and are socially responsible. H&M and Zara were popular brands, but the change decreased demand in these stores and increased the growth of new Indian brands. Some saw it as a way to save the earth, and some saw it as a way to remain “vocal for local”.
Some brands have thrived in 2020 because of their honest approach and navigation in the local market. Here are some of our favorite picks:
This brand of women’s clothing is the perfect sustainable substitute for ZARA. The business started in 2017, but has seen real growth after being featured on Indian fashion blogger Masoom Minawala’s Instagram. Their sleek silhouettes paired with Indian aesthetics and body inclusiveness are what made them stand out. They are the perfect mix between Indian culture and Western standards.
This Indian designer was one of the first designers to embrace street fashion with a dash of Indian culture. He revolutionized fashion while emphasizing the importance of self-expression. He launched his brand in 2013, but started to gain momentum in 2018 when he appeared in GQ’s “50 Most Influential Young Indians”. People started to love its aesthetic because of its quirkiness and the unique vibe it brought. He constantly embraces diverse cultures – India being one he often focuses on.
Dash and dot
Dash and Dot is a brand synonymous with luxury, class and exclusivity. With an unlimited range of categories and widespread popularity, Dash and Dot is soon becoming a household name. This brand encapsulates western clothing styles and local artisans. They have become famous for their non-sexist clothes and their sensuality. Their categories range from swimwear to work wear and are loved by millennials and Gen Z.
India has always been famous for its embroidery work and potlis (small handbags with cords). This Calcutta-based brand has brought the two together to design and manufacture handbags for the modern consumer. They have gained admiration for their blended materials, unconventional craftsmanship, and unique embellishments. They have now added belts to their product line, and customers have loved it too. Their features in publications like Harper’s Bazaar, Brides Today and Cosmopolitan have made them a favorite for the Indian bride and people who want to make a fashion statement.
Kapraaha (Translated into cloth)
This clothing label captures Indian crafts and textiles. Anushree saraf started Kapraaha to boast of having Indian artisans. It continues to pay tribute to the craftsmanship of Gujarat and Rajasthan with screen printing and bandhani. She has always believed in the idea of comfort and luxury, which is why she brought the two together with her brand. Kapraaha includes categories such as Indian costumes, tops, and matching sets. Her summer resort collection is one of my favorites. The delicacy and femininity of the caftan is something that every wardrobe needs and that every person wants.
The list can go on and on. The future of Indian retail is something that we Indian fashion students look forward to. Watching the incredible momentum of this movement over the past few years has been amazing and exciting. It is not limited to traditional Indian clothing, but is constantly gaining admiration as it expands its reach around the world. Growth is a boon for fashion enthusiasts as well as the economy. India’s export market will grow exponentially, not only in textiles but also in retail. The future looks bright, as does the Indian fashion industry.