Clothing boutiques were traditionally targeted at the women’s wear segment. Not anymore. Menswear has made inroads in the boutique industry and according to industry sources, it commands around 41% of the market. The overall market size of menswear market in India is around Rs. 124423 crore ($19 billion) and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 9% for the next 10 years to reach Rs. 295795 crore ($45.5 billion) by 2026.
Surbhi Pansari, who owns her own menswear apparel boutique that is named after her, told BE, “The industry needs a personal essence. We operate through a small studio and it is a very close knit system. We interact with our customers and suggest designs and materials. We try to add our own touch and authenticity.”
The industry is fast evolving. Smart casuals have evolved in a big way in the corporate wear segment. Similarly, western ethnics have made significant inroads in festive wear. Pansari stated, “I agree everyone didn’t want to enter this segment because the style of stitching is very different. The construction is complicated and needs time to be understood.”
Latest trends in boutique menswear
Men’s denim wear is scheduled to grow at a rate of 14%. The demand for fashionable festive and ethnic wear has also risen in the menswear segment. With rise in demand for fashionable menswear, boutiques operating in the menswear segment are also looking to expand their market. The latest trends in the menswear segment is explored below –
Sustainable and stylish fabric: India has started adopting eco-friendly strategies to tackle pollution. The boutiques are also keeping pace with this trend and promoting sustainable fabrics. Pansari added, “For fabric, we don’t use a lot of shinny materials. Rather, we focus on subtlety and comfort. Matte certainly gives the kind of detail and style that most of our clients want at this moment. Mostly, we use cotton, jute mix, silk mixed with cotton, blends of wool and so on. Checks are generally used in formal wear. However, we used it to make ethnic wear and the design was a hit. Clients don’t want simple outfits anymore. They love to add a modern and stylish twist to it.”
Smart casuals: Corporate dressing is also evolving as a trend. Formal wear is going through a transition. Menswear boutiques are tapping in this emergent trend.
Designs: Design is an integral part of festive wear. Pansari said, “Right now, asymmetrical designs are in fashion. It has taken the Kolkata market by storm. We have ensued variations in the context of placement of buttons. The cuts, patterns and silhouettes also change with the styles. In the ethnic menswear segment, we are experimenting with hemlines as well.”
Customisation and exclusivity: Boutiques bank on their exclusivity. When a customer visits a boutique he wants to be surprised with the product he walks out with. At times, customers also want to add their personal touch. Menswear boutiques are increasingly allowing customers to give their inputs in terms of design. Pansari informed, “Clients come to us because of the mélange of fabrics and designs that we offer. The mix and match has to be perfect. I try to study the international trends and collect what has not been worked upon for some years now. I try to infuse these designs with the client’s aspirations. The design that I create should not only work on paper but also looks perfect. Trying to mix the commercial and designing skills is one of my most important targets.”
Accessorising: Accessories are making their own space in the menswear market. Pansari said, “In menswear, accessories combine well with festive wear. Scarves, stoles and brooches are in vogue. These things are generally paired with the main outfit and can bring a completely different shine to the whole look.”
Target base and customer loyalty: If the designer is selling something that brings the customer back then its worthy of their loyalty. Pansari said, “When the clients come in, they are either confident about the products they will get or they are not. But after they reach the trial stage, they are delighted with their product since I make sure that I create what is in their mind. You have to give proper service and customers will definitely come back.”