Indian men no longer cut from the same cloth
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It used to be easy to spot a well-dressed Indian male. He would wear formals, which would mean a three-piece suit, perhaps with a tie and maybe a pocket square. The only colour that he would play with would be that of the shirt.
This is changing fast.
Men’s fashion today is all mixed up—pairing track pants with a jacket, for instance, part formal, part sporty. It’s about wearing turned-up pants with Oxfords and invisible socks to show off the ankles.
Actor Ranveer Singh probably would be the poster boy for this sort. He has been spotted wearing a polka dot suit with matching shoes, wearing a T-shirt with a silk gown, pyjamas and Sylvester slippers.
Then there is Shahid Kapoor, who effortlessly mixes causal and formal. He wore a graphic T-shirt, pink blazer, and a pair of jeans with white sneakers, defining urban cool in 2015, at a promotional event of his movie Shaandaar.
Celebrity fashion is a good indicator of the ongoing fashion trends. What celebrities wear is covered by social media, television, newspaper supplements and fashion magazines.
Then there are e-tailers like jabong.com that take the look sported by a celebrity and make it available for shoppers on their website. They also guide consumers on how to put a look together.
Celebrities like Virat Kohli, the Indian cricket captain, and actor Hrithik Roshan have started their own lifestyle brands, which are an extension of their persona—urban, hip and fashionable.
Brands have come a long way from the days of the Raymond man, which was about style and masculinity at its core.
For the well-travelled Indian male, fashion sense is dictated by global trends. The newly launched 51,000 sq. ft Zara store in an heritage art deco building at Fort, Mumbai is testimony to that. It is one among four in the world where the Spanish fast fashion retailer is displaying its Coachella music festival-inspired collection.
To be sure, the Indian male is looks-conscious. Men spend a lot more on categories like fragrances and personal grooming then women in India.
In fact, in the fragrances category, men account for almost 60% of the overall sales in India.
In the global average, men make up just one-third of the overall sales of fragrances.
And retailers are taking note.
At Zara’s Fort store, the retailer has dedicated more space to menswear then womenswear as it looks at catering to male vanity.
Also spread across two floors, it is among the largest menswear section for a single department store for Zara in the world.
The reason—Indian men are spending a lot more on fashion then their male counterparts in other parts of the world, says a merchandiser who was visiting India from the Spanish headquarters of the company for the launch.
Men contribute 40% of the fashion retailer’s revenue in India compared to 30% globally, he said.
So the next time you see a guy in a pink dinner suit or wearing a ruffled shirt, bow tie and tux a la Ryan Gosling’s Oscar awards night outfit, know that men’s fashion is no longer just about fitting in.
It is about standing out and making a statement. It’s also not about being a part of a tribal group, to pose and to be seen. It’s about asserting oneself and one’s uniqueness.
Shop Talk will take a weekly look at consumer trends, behaviour and insights.