Sunday, January 19, 2014

In 2014, fashion will move beyond runway, to streets

In the fashionable world of trends there is always a mix of fads that result in a somewhat predictable season to come.

The chic melange almost always includes a trend or two that see a comeback; the cult look which follows a cyclical pattern and reappears on the runway every decade or so; one latest craze that goes on to become the "it" look; an experimental whim that grows to be the order of the season and last but not the least a spill-over from the period prior.

We can by no means call the Indian fashion industry nascent, but it is still shy of a lifespan that breaks away from this routine cyclical pattern.

Collections with an experimental edge, avant-garde styling and the 'X' factor can usually be credited to a handful of younger established designers who unleash a new wave of creativity or are still trying to find their foothold in a designer market dominated by trousseau.

The big names in the world of Indian fashion usually create collections in keeping with their signature styles and aesthetic sensibility infused with new inspiration.

However, they will definitely follow a tried and tested route which guarantees financial success for it is the business of fashion industry that drives the industry.

Thank to the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week movers and shakers of the Indian fashion fraternity have already been privy to the pret and readyto-wear trends for Spring/Summer 2014.

The chain reaction which leads to promoting, highlighting and giving a definite nod to the key looks and names for 2014 have already found consensus with the top brass so to speak.

However, I personally feel that there are also a few interesting non runway effects that will drive Indian trends this year. There are also certain "influencers" of fashion who need to revaluate their style to create a positive influence in this department.

Glam faces

This is an undeniable sect or group of Bollywood glamour girls who have become key determinants in the rise and fall of trends and labels. Topping the charts are actresses Kangana Ranaut and Sonam Kapoor.

There is no disputing that these two make a difference to the world of fashion - thousands of teenagers copy Sonam, while many stylish women choose to follow the style guidelines of Kangana. The brands/designers they wear often undeniably become hot-sellers of the season.

Sonam is credited for her feminine, elegant and chic sense of style while Kangana is known for her experimental, androgynous, sexy and edgy look. All other actors and actresses also fall in this segment of influencers some more than others.

Digital drive

The online world of fashion can no longer be ignored. Popular fashion blogs like and sustain themselves by identifying what celebrities wear; online fashion portals carry pictures of celebrities in outfits and identify, stock, retail and promote the very same outfit which results in majority of their sales; celebrity stylists promote young labels and major brands via their social media handles on facebook, twitter and instagram.

These digital names/portals have a huge outreach and the fact that the masses choose to emulate and take a cue from them means this segment can no longer be overlooked.

Chic resistance

On the one hand there is this major copy-cat trend, but the saving grace of this is an inverse resistance to popular culture, which leads a niche section of fashion conscious people to steer clear of the mass trends. Thankfully, this minority brandishes their individual whims to create fashion that is unique and sophisticated.

These people then end up promoting boutique brands and noteworthy designers and leave behind the "common" brands like Birkins, Herve Legers and Zara.

Street fashion

Here I will take the liberty of separating this from "high-street" fashion. These are people who take add a quirky touch or that something extra to their mundane work and every day wardrobe. This is where accessories, layering and mix 'n' match play a major role - hats, fedoras, glasses, scarves, jewellery, shoes etc are the differentiating factors.

I predict 2014 will see major runway trends battle it out with these four forces. Ideally the mix will result in an eclectic line-up of faces, trends, designers and looks for the year ahead.

Adding character to interiors

Home decor and accessory stores are a dime a dozen nowadays. However it's hard to find a store that stocks one-of-akind pieces. This gap has now been bridged with design czar JJ Valaya who along with TJ Singh launched 'The Home of the Traveler' in Mehr Chand market, Lodhi Road. This unique concept boutique is of interest as it doesn't stick to one single "mood," unlike Good Earth or Oma.

Here items are divided into 6 styles including Art Deco, Vintage, Organic, Glamour, India and World. Each artifact is curated by the designer, to give character, a narrative and history to interior spaces celebrating spiritualism, civilisation and adventure.
Home Improvement anybody?

Avoid your next cup of joe

Most of us need our daily caffeine fix every morning to kick start our day and by the evening to maintain our sanity. Some of us also need numerous refills through the day and even skip meals if we have a coffee at hand. Caffeine addiction is reality today and a lifestyle problem that can lead to many ailments.

The Daily Mail reported that in recent study proved that "one woman in ten claimed she couldn't live without coffee," - a habit that researchers have found can cause restlessness, muscle-twitching, sleeplessness and affect the heart. so wean yourself off the coffee, we all know too much of anything can be harmful.

Men in the limelight

Most celebrities went out of town to ring in the New Year and the paparazzi as usual snapped the A-listers on their way home at the airport. However for a change it wasn't the women that were the center of attention, but this time around, it was the men that looked sharp after their little getaway. Actor Anil Kapoor (in pic) was spotted a scruffy look with a beard, leather jacket and denims while Karan Johar ditched his horrendous velvet blazers for a sporty windsheeter, track pants and sneakers.

Read more at:

Global fashion and lifestyle brand “Smiley” to enter India

MUMBAI: Smiley, one of the most recognized icons in the world and an iconic global and lifestyle fashion brand, today announced its plans to enter India market through its anchor brand Smiley. The company’s plan is to set up exclusive Smiley stores which would have the complete merchandise of The Smiley Company - apparel, sportswear, shoes, bags, jewellery, school merchandise, accessories and even Smiley branded chocolates and confectionery.

Brandspoke is seeking Indian partners including distributors, manufacturers, and franchise partners to establish Smiley as the preferred fashion and lifestyle brand.

Smiley was founded in 1972 by creator Franklin Loufrani. Owner of the iconic smiley logo and emoticons, in 1997, Franklin’s son Nicolas Loufrani introduced the first emoticons which later became the universe of Smiley¬ World. Its products are sold worldwide with strong trademark and copyright protection.

Smiley has already registered its trademark in over 100 countries and active in more than 25 different industries. The Smiley brand and logo have significant exposure through licensees in sectors like clothing, home decoration, perfumery, plush, stationery, publishing, and through promotional campaigns.

Speaking on the Smiley Company’s strategy for India market, Mr. Nicolas Loufrani, CEO, Smiley said, “Smiley's number one market in the digital world is currently India which represents almost 15% of our entire global fan base. Having started to seed our positive values online and seeing the tremendous interaction with our Indian fans we feel it is now time to extend our activities here and provide them with the Smiley products they all dearly wish to see".

About “Smiley London” and Smiley “Happy Sports” product ranges showcased at India Fashion Forum 2014, Mumbai, India.

“Smiley London” is a daring revival of the Smiley heritage born out of the Brit¬ish electronic and house music scene, where Smiley ruled the dance floors. Smiley London revisits back in the day when it was about unity and togeth¬erness and revives the spirit of wearing your smiley with pride and keeping the beats alive.

Smiley “Happy Sports” delivers a colourful and vibrant alternative to an overtly branded sports fashion market, drawing from the original concept behind sports fashion and reminding people that sport and activity is about movement, teamwork, togetherness, enjoyment and making the most of your life. Happy Sports works with bold and bright colour ways to deliver a collection which catches the eye.

The ever expanding collection targeted at a young 18-to-35 years fashion audience is bang on trend stylish high quality tee’s, tops, hoodies, varsity jackets, baseball caps, beanies all with on trend print applications, such as metallic foils, urban camo’s and classic smiley prints.

The designs are positive and energetic which is both universal and accessible, appealing to all ages and sporting interests. Smiley ‘Happy Sports’ sells a philosophy of ‘Stay Active, Stay Happy’.

Fast fashion catches fancy of Indian consumers

New Delhi/Mumbai: International fast fashion brands such as Zara of Spain and Hennes and Mauritz AB (H&M) of Sweden are expanding in India and some are venturing into the interiors to tap young consumers, who are voting with their wallets to make them the fastest growing segment of the apparel market.

Fast fashion, a phrase used for designs that move quickly from the catwalk to showrooms to tap the latest consumer trends, is growing at a yearly pace of 25-30%, twice the rate of the overall market, according to Abhishek Malhotra, a partner at Booz and Co., a consultancy firm.

“Brands such as Zara, Marks and Spencers, Benetton and Tommy Hilfiger posted a healthy jump in their year-on-year revenues and have ambitious expansion plans for India,” said Anuj Puri, chairman and country head at real estate advisory firm Jones Lang LaSalle India.

“These four global brands collectively achieved sales that equalled the apparel sales of established department store chains such as Shoppers Stop and Lifestyle International,” Puri wrote in a report reviewing the real estate sector’s performance in 2013 and looking at its prospects for 2014.

That’s impressive given that consumers are cutting back on discretionary spending at a time when economic growth is forecast to slow further this fiscal year after having slumped to 5% last year, the least in a decade.
Fast fashion brands bucked the economic downturn by offering stylish designs at prices that were reasonable to Indian consumers, Puri wrote in his report.

“Fast fashion is like fast food,” said Darshan Mehta, chief executive officer (CEO) at Reliance Brands Ltd that has introduced premium brands such as footwear label Steve Madden and men’s clothing brands Thomas Pink and Brooks Brothers to the Indian consumer. “It is cheap, of good quality, and is quick,” he said, explaining the reason for their success.

The apparel market accounts for 6% of India’s consumption expenditure and is expected to touch $225 billion (around Rs.14 trillion today) by 2020, a fourfold increase in the space of a decade, according to a 2012 Boston Consulting Group report. No figures are available on the share of fast fashion brands.

Since its launch in India in 2009, Zara has become one of the fastest growing fashion brands in India. According to a November report by Reuters, Inditex Trent Retail India Pvt. Ltd, which operates the Zara stores in India, reported a profit of Rs.38.3 crore on sales of Rs.260 crore for the year ending March 2012.

Zara’s success has prompted large fast fashion apparel retailers to announce significant investments in India.
H&M received approval from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) for an investment of Rs.720 crore in November. H&M stores are likely to open by July next year. Forever 21, which has six stores in the country, has committed $50 million for expanding its presence in the country.

“We will open six-eight stores every year,” said Dipak Agarwal, CEO of DLF Brands Ltd that sells Forever 21 in India.

In May, German retailer s.Oliver said it would add 20 points of sale to its existing 10 stores over the next six months after announcing a €20 million investment in 2012. British retailer Marks and Spencers plans to add 44 stores in India by 2016. Japan’s Uniqlo and the American brand GAP are waiting to make their debut in India.
Mehta of Reliance Brands said the entry of more fast fashion brands in the market will help create more consumers.
“As the Indian consumer continues to evolve, these brands will not only cater to the existing shoppers, but (also) create potential consumers over time, thereby feeding growth and demand for western labels,” he said.
Even as they get a grip on the urban markets, expansion into the non-metros will be a key challenge for brands looking to scale up.

“Fast fashion will fare well depending on how the brands scale up. No one wants to be a Rs.100 crore brand in India, and to reach scale they have to be able to go deeper and localize these foreign brands,” said Debasish Mukherjee, a partner at consulting firm AT Kearney.

That’s something some fast fashion brands are already beginning to do. Zara opened its 14th store in the country this year in Surat, Gujarat. Marks and Spencer entered Kochi in Kerala and is now seeking to open a store in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, said Venu Nair, managing director of Marks and Spencer Reliance India.

Nair says a large population of consumers is likely to trade up to branded apparel, spurring demand.
S.Oliver will add more stores in cities such as Pune, Kanpur, Ludhiana and Dehradun, apart from adding stores in Delhi and Mumbai

“It shows the potential of consumer demand for both premium and trendy brands in different pockets of India,” said Anupam Yog, director of marketing at Virtuous Retail Services Pvt. Ltd.

Virtuous Retail develops retail properties across India and built a mall in Surat that houses brands such as Marks and Spencer, Zara, Vero Moda and MAC.

Best Seller Retail India Pvt. Ltd, the local unit of the Danish retailer Bestseller A/S, which operates brands such as Jack and Jones and Vero Moda, is seeking to expand in markets such as Ludhiana in Punjab, Jaipur in Rajasthan and Nagpur, Maharashtra, said a retail industry analyst, who didn’t want to be named. The company has 400 point of sales in India so far.

The advent of e-commerce, according to Anurag Rajpal, CEO at e-retailer American Swan Lifestyle Co., is also helping consumers in the non-metro areas gain access to brands available in physical stores only in the larger cities.
Rajpal said e-commerce is helping build latent demand in smaller markets that are still under-served by brick-and-mortar retail stores.

To be sure, a part of the demand for fast fashion is being spurred by promotions and discounts offered by retailers to beat the slowdown.

“The year saw larger, wider, deeper, more extensive discounting,” said Govind Shrikhande, vice-chairman and managing director, Shoppers Stop Ltd.

For India’s oldest department retail chain, the total number of days of discounting increased to 48 days in the year from 34 last year. And the contribution of discounts and promotions to sales nearly doubled from 12% in 2012 to 22-23%.

Discounts apart, more brands and a larger range of products are helping attract more customers.

According to Binu Sehgal, head of DLF Place mall in New Delhi that houses brands such as Marks and Spencers, Vero Moda and Forever 21, consumers shopping for these brands are not just the young, but even women in their 40s.

“Fast fashion brands are not only targeting youngsters, but their entire bandwidth of consumption is actually expanding,” said Sehgal.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Mumbai to host fashion week for kids

The two-day event will take place on January 18 and 19.

The second edition of the India Kids Fashion Week (IKFW) is all set to take place in the city this month. To be held at The Lalit on January 18 and 19, the fashion carnival is being touted as an effort to catapult India on the map of kids fashion globally.

The event will not just see designers showcase their kids' creations, but brands too will display apparels, shoes, toys, accessories and more there. Designers like Niska Lulla, Kirti Rathore Sumit Das Gupta, Archana Kochhar, Pooja Jhunjunwala, Kanchan Bawa and brands like Libero Diapers, Adorable Ones, Oks Boys will showcase their collections during this week.

Fashion trends to look out for this year

 The year 2013 saw a host of fashion trends, with women wearing sheer dresses and men sporting bling pants.

While some of these were hits, others were clear misses. With Bollywood continuing to revolutionize the fashion industry, fashionistas Deepika Govind, Gouri Kapur, Lokessh Ahuja and Eina Ahulwalia give Bangaloreans a heads-up on what to try out and what to stay away from in 2014.

For women
It's time to say goodbye to blacks and reds, and welcome blue, white, green and shades of pink like fuchsia and rosegold. Delicate lace work and radical prints will be all the rage in 2014, and jumpsuits and non-structured, asymmetrical dresses are likely to make it big. There will also be a huge revival of saris, with detailed weaving over patch work. Zipper kurtas with high/Chinese collars are also something to look out for.

Stay away from: Bling dresses are on their way out, as are body con dresses like the LBD and LRD. When it comes to Indian wear, anarkalis have been done to death. With fitted kurtas and salwar suits making waves, do away with anarkalis as they don't do much for your figure.

For men
When it comes to suits, 2014 isn't a year to go too bold with colours, with shades of blue and black are set to rule. Denims continue to rock this year, and printed shirts and jackets will also make it big. Men can even experiment by pairing waistcoats with casual wear. While skinny fitting pants were a hit in 2013, you may want to wear lose trousers and go casual this year. Also, pick jackets and trousers that are slightly shorter in length. Dump bling desi wear, opt for well-fitted kurtas and bandgalas in simple designs instead.

Stay away from: Coloured trousers are a hit with youngsters, but sporting bright red and yellow pants is a fashion faux pas. Stylistas warn that bright coloured trousers only suit women.

Makeup goes colourful
Talking about the makeup forecasts for the year 2014, makeup expert Gouri Kapur says, "When it comes to makeup, colour is here to stay. People are not only using more makeup, but are also getting adventurous with it. Colour can be seen everywhere, whether it is on the lips, eyes or nails. A lot of brands are also releasing more products that offer variety."

Nature continues to inspire jewellery
"Jewellery inspired by nature, history, machinery and abstract elements are here to stay," says Kolkata-based jewellery designer Eina Ahluwalia, adding, "Delicate jewellery will be in this year, and detailing with fine workmanship is what people will go for rather than flashy pieces. Silver will be more popular than gold."

Snow white heels top 2014 fashion staple

The resurgence of the white heel has hit big time in Hollywood this year with major style icons like Kim Kardashian, Rihanna and Thandie Newton being photographed wearing a pair. So buy one and steal the limelight in 2014, but be careful while teaming it up with your attire.

White heels are usually associated with the 1980s era and the trend has made a chic addition to the wardrobe this year too.

However, one needs to be very careful while styling these pairs as they're certainly something that can't be worn with every outfit. The white heel has to be an extension of the outfit, with some small hints of white at least in your look, so it can be carried on through to your shoes, reports

One of looks for the white heel this year was American singer-songwriter Jordin Sparks wearing them with her Clover Canyon dress at the 2013 BET Awards.

Pop star Miley Cyrus also managed to make the look work with her sexy and sophisticated Emilio Pucci look whilst out-and-about in New York City.

They were of course the perfect way to finish one of the biggest fashion trends this year too.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Marks & Spencer eyes double-digit growth in India

British clothing retailer Marks and Spencer (M&S) is all set create a strong foothold in India as it’s aiming to open 44 stores over the next three years, which it considers to be a top priority market and a sourcing hub for the company. After opening a store in Bandra, Mumbai, the company launched another one in Delhi this week, where the company introduced an extended range of beauty products along with other core product categories.  
As Venu Nair, Managing Director of Marks and Spencer Reliance India, says they are witnessing strong double-digit growth across all the business units. With demand for M&S brand across the country on rise, small town expansion is also on company’s agenda. After Kochi, Baroda, Surat and Chandigarh, it plans to shortly open a store in Kanpur.

The UK-based company is targeting opening around 80 stores in the market by 2016, as a part of its ongoing strategy to become a leading international, multi-channel retailer.

 The plans to double its presence in India with its partner Reliance Retail will see the country become M&S’s largest international market outside the UK. Recently Marks & Spencer’s Chief Executive, Marc Bolland declared M&S’s bullish India strategy before an event that celebrated opening of its flagship store in Bandra, Mumbai. “India is a priority market for M&S and working closely together with our partner Reliance Retail we have set a clear plan to build a leadership position here,” he said.