A lot of attention has been showered on India recently by international fashion design houses like Chanel, Hermes, etc. India is the next big destination for luxury and lifestyle (and with the new single brand FDI norms in place, she is bound to become an even more attractive market)
The challenges for Western styles clothes, that are more reliant on silhouettes and drapes, as compared to traditional Indian clothes, that are more reliant on the embroidery and embellishments, are very different.
A lot of commentators have noted that the Indian designers prefer to focus on Indian clothing, and especially Wedding related collections. We try to analyse the reasons behind the same:
The beauty of Indian clothing and the massive amount of detailing for each pattern and garment is extremely intricate. A lot of the embroidery is done by hand by the artisans. The expert craftsmen (or karigars) learn the craft through generations of training and pass the craft to their subsequent generations.
The amount of time spent by a karigar on a garment cannot be reduced, a certain minimum amount of time is required because it is a manual process. For each garment, not just for a pattern that is replicated across many designs.
Given the limited amount of time available from a karigar, the best use from a designers point of view, has to be a garment that gives maximum returns, and as has been noted countless times, this is traditional Indian clothing, or specifically traditional Indian bridal clothing
Each bride wants to have a very unique looking dresses for her wedding, but in India the bride wants something that is very individual and unique. The red dress that her cousin wore for her wedding is available in a different colour - will that do? NO NO NO - it has to be completely different in colour, pattern and embroidered detailing!
This leaves the designers in a curious position because they are always creating new ideas and concepts for each client. Sure the old designs get used for inspiration, but that is never enough
Naturally the designer's attention is drawn to creating more bespoke pieces for each customer. As a business model, this is not sustainable because it means that the designer needs to give personal attention to each design and client, and that limits the number of garments that can be made, hence economics dictates that they concentrate on bridal collections
More thoughts on the challenges facing the Indian designers to follow. Watch this space!