Get off the rack

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Get off the rack

Tuesday, 08 September 2020 | Team Viva

Get off the rack

Fashion that could serve multiple occasions and transition between lounging, working out as well as working from home is the new paradigm shift. Designers are quickly adapting to this new format. By Team Viva

Wellness has become the buzzword and an essential concern this year, which, for everyone, including fashion players, has been an awakening one. Designers are striving to come to terms with the new paradigm shifts. Brands and labels are trying to adapt to the newer trends. Ready-to-wear is beating the custom-made. Off the rack clothing is emerging as the new style. And it’s all because wellness is the new buzzword. Well, who knew a pandemic would transform even the most sought-after and creative industries like fashion?

Ready for the go

Designer Payal Jain believes that ready-to-wear is going to be the next big thing. Says she, “People prefer to stay in the safety and comfort of their homes and buy what they can online. Custom-made ensembles always need multiple fittings and trials. However, with offices shifted to work from home patterns, ready-to-wear has to be the new normal.”

Well, the Coronavirus has come as a fear in our lives, leaving no space for social interactions or gatherings. Those who are moving back to normalcy are trying hard to maintain safety protocols and distancing, keeping their exposure level to a bare minimum. Given this mindset, Payal adds, “Couture or made-to-measure would take a back seat as some may get replaced by video calls.”

On the contrary, designer Gautam Gupta of label Asha Gautam, feels that ready-to-wear will surely be more in demand but couture or custom-made will also have its own market. “I don’t see them competing as they are serving different needs. With time being of paramount importance, consumers prefer more ready-to-wear than ordering but at the same time there is equal urge to wear something different, which comes only from custom-made,” says he.

Designer Reynu Taandon, a bridal wear and couture expert, says, “Ready-to-wear will beat custom-made till a certain extent but definitely not the couture. Even today, people want to come to the store, give the measurements and get that perfect look. The pandemic has made the most important event in a bride’s life seem so unpredictable. But they still look forward to finding their dream lehenga. And they always will.”

Athleisure on the rise

Lockdown has caused people to become cognisant to their health and understand the importance of fitness and good health. The feel good and wellness factor would mean a surge in personal training for fitness. More people have turned to yoga, meditation, therapies and home workouts. And the hesitancy to step out to gym for workout, the trend certainly point towards a rise in demand for athleisure, which can be used at home.

Payal agrees and says, “The fitness industry has been reinventing itself with online sessions, and in turn, boosting the need for fitness gear and clothing. Comfort, ease of maintenance, durability and breathability are prime concerns for leisure and fitness wear. It’s a fast-growing segment and will continue to do so now that most people have discovered fitness at home as a new way to adapt to the changing lifestyles.”

Chief Product Officer, Numero Uno, Manjula Gandhi adds that training at home digitally is here to stay. “This would spell out a heightened trend of athleisure and fitness clothing that is comfortable and stylish,” she says.

Designer Monisha Jaising says, “People want to wear clothing that looks good, feels good and that they can workout/lounge in. So athleisure will be huge in the coming years purely because of its functionality, practicality and comfort. Designers will be designing their athleisure collection with a very high fashion quotient.”

The market for athleisure is growing rapidly and with COVID teaching us a lot of things, fitness will be one of those markets that will reinvent itself. “In fact, we can now only see a lot of innovation in this segment with international trends also pointing towards newer textiles and techniques,” says Gautam.

Reinvention is key

Fashion’s only constant is reinvention. And now, more than ever, it has become imperative for brands to rethink, reinvent, reuse and recycle. Payal says, “The methodologies and processes followed through the years are fast-changing and everyone is restructuring and recreating their brands as well as businesses to get in sync with the new normal.”

Having said that, we may also witness a surge in demand for durable and useful products, essential and seasonless apparel, serving multiple purposes. Says Manjula, “We will be able to see amplified consumer priorities towards wellness, protection and minimalism. There will be a preference for work-inspired wear and essentials for post-pandemic living, offering comfort and elevated with smart and minimalistic edge. Apparel that could serve multiple occasions and transition between lounging, working out as well as WFH, is going to be here for long.”

Fast fashion

With a heightened awareness around hygiene, health and wellness, apparel with protective finishes like anti-microbial, anti-viral will be preferred. Fabrics with better performance features like power stretches, wicking/moisture management, anti-odour properties will surely add an additional appeal for customers.”

Reynu feels that though the pandemic brought along a lot of negativity but it has provided us with the opportunity to reflect on our work and accomplish the targets whilst maintaining and ensuring the safety of every team member.

“Fashion is going digital at a rapid pace and one will see more brands adapting to it. Fast fashion will prove to be a huge hit given that unnecessary movement is curtailed. Handmade textiles will be preferred more than the international brands,” says Gautam.

For Monisha, it’s time when people will want to kill two birds with one stone, which will also give rise to sustainable buying. Before buying any product, they will think twice about whether the garment will be able to “perform” in more than one situation or aspect.

Well, above all, the concern for environment has gained momentum among consumers, who have begun to realise its importance due to the pandemic. Hence, responsible apparel with recycled, repurposed and eco-friendly material and processes will enjoy consumers’ attention in the post-COVID times.

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