Category Archives: Fashion

Ethical and Sustainable Fashion

When one thinks about fashion, words like glamour, style, trend, etc. immediately strike the mind rather than words like sustainable, eco-friendly or ethical. However, in the coming ten to fifty years the most important question the fashion industry needs to ask is how sustainable it is? Ethical and sustainable fashion has been gathering momentum globally in the past decade.

Ethical and sustainable fashion is an approach towards sourcing, manufacturing and designing clothes which maximizes the benefits to the industry and society at large, at the same time minimizes the impacts on the environment. Ethical means something that is morally right and acceptable. Therefore, ethical and sustainable fashion does not start from manufacturing clothes. It starts from the cotton fields and ends in consumer’s wardrobe. Therefore, conventional cotton farming cannot be termed as ethical and sustainable as harmful pesticides are used.

Today, sustainability is a way of doing business rather than just a concept. Brands like Stella McCartney and NOIR are the pioneers of ethical and sustainable fashion. Now many companies have embraced the concept of sustainability and have implemented it in the business. These companies have understood that integrating social and environmental issues with business will yield long term benefits to the company.

Nowadays, fashion exhibitions, Ethical fashion forum and blogs all focus on the concept of sustainable fashion. Going green is also about business and profits. It is important that brands which practice ethical and sustainable fashion must stay true to their commitment. This way they can win the trust of the consumers and uphold the company’s ethical values.

There should be transparency in sourcing, manufacturing, designing and other processes, so that the consumers can know whether the brands are delivering what they have promised. To make sustainability saleable in fashion industry it must have desirability. Consumers are attracted to good designs, colors and fabrics. When a consumer spends on fashionable apparels, he first considers the above mentioned aspects. Environmental or ethical concerns come later.

The brands which respond to the consumers unending demands can combine sustainable principles with fashion and flourish in this green business. The time has come when the relationship of consumer and clothing has to be changed. Sustainability is not limited to environment but the entire fashion business, from production to the retail stores.

When the fashion industry ensures fair wages, no forced or child labor, workers get their basic human rights, health and safety measures are followed in the workplace, biodiversity, organic cultivation, clothes are manufactured in eco-friendly ways, etc. all these steps will make the fashion industry ethical and sustainable in true sense.

The Ethical Fashion Forum (EFF) is a non-profit organization established to promote sustainable practices, raise awareness among people, provide resources to reduce poverty and environmental damage, and raise standards in the fashion industry. The EFF has more than 6000 members in over 100 countries supporting sustainable fashion. Moreover, it has set up criteria for ethical fashion which needs to be followed.

The EFF has framed policies in collaboration with the top ethical sourcing and certification bodies made by The International Fair Trade Association, The Fairtrade Foundation and others. This helps the EFF to work in an organized manner with the members in the fashion industry and develop ethical and sustainable practices. Ethical companies will manufacture clothes giving importance to the above mentioned sustainable and ethical ideas, which in return will benefit the society and earth.

Additionally, there are many instances of ‘greenwashing’ in the fashion industry. Greenwashing refers to deceptive use of green marketing and misleading the consumers in believing that company’s products and policies are earth friendly. Greenwashing is perilous to the sustainability endeavor as it takes away consumers trust, which is very difficult to restore.

The fashion industry would advice people of what one should wear. However, it remains silent about sustainable fashion. People are aware that green clothing is better than traditional fabrics. Every time consumers spend money on fashionable clothes, indirectly people are telling the fashion industry about what they should be doing. Hence, the consumers should use this right wisely. There are many benefits of ethical and sustainable fashion.

Firstly, it is good for the planet. Fashion industry uses harmful pesticides for growing cotton and toxic chemicals to dye fabrics which in return have huge impact on the environment. Cotton alone requires a lot of chemicals to make one shirt. Opting for organic and sustainable fabrics like organic cotton, bamboo or hemp, one can reduce the amount of carbon and chemicals discarded in the environment which is certainly a good practice.

Secondly, it supports the workers. One should buy clothes labeled under the Fair Trade Act as it is sustainable on many grounds. One can be sure that the clothing purchased has been produced under proper working condition and the worker has earned fair wages. Moreover, it also benefits animals. By making sure that one’s closet is not stocked with leather or fur products means stopping cruelty towards animals.

Buying organic and renewable fibers are the best way to support sustainability. In addition, buying durable green clothing that one can wear for many years would be another step to reduce waste coming from throwing away old unnecessary clothing. Invest in clothes that are classic, chic and can be used in future rather than buying a trendy item and discarding it, once the fashion is outdated.

For a consumer buying sustainable clothing is the first step towards sustainability. However, they can further contribute towards sustainability by taking care of small things like washing the clothes in cold water than using hot water and reduce energy consumption, using biodegradable detergent to prevent pollution on the environment, drying clothes in sunlight rather than using dryer which saves time, money and resources.

Sustainability will mean different to different companies in the fashion industry. Nevertheless, leading companies must practice and encourage others to follow sustainability and embed this concept into the main objectives of business. Big brands must be more responsible for sustainable fashion, as they have a global reach and the financial capability to research and develop greener alternatives. Ethical and sustainable fashion will eventually become a norm to be practiced by everyone in the fashion industry.

Artist Influences Fashion Trends

Fashion draws inspiration from social and cultural movements around. Celebrities influence fashion strongly, and their styles invariably become trends. When pop stars meet fashion, a dynamic and lethal combination arises, paving way for new trends and culture. Pop stars over the years have become remarkable trend setters for the fashion industry.

Pop stars influence the masses and a more commercial culture. In terms of fashion, a pop icon’s looks and styles are emulated and embraced by a larger audience, and hence encouraging designers to create similar clothes to create a wide appeal.

One of the most famous singers of the 1950’s was Elvis Presley, who brought not just rock and roll in music but also in fashion. Bedazzled jumpsuits, detailed capes, pink shirts, and skin tight leather pants screamed attention of all the fashionistas. The 1960’s fashion trends made popular by the Beatles, saw mod suits, long kurta styled paisley shirts, and floral pants, and needless to mention a burst of bright colors and wide collars.

Michael Jackson had a huge fashion following besides his chartbusters. He got the rock star look going and made it extremely trendy. Studded jackets and capes, black spandex pants, glitter socks, and the signature single hand white glove made Michael a fashion icon. His off stage look inspired the trend of leather jackets with zippers and chunky belts.

A female pop icon whose fashion style was mimicked by her fans as a chain reaction to her music was Madonna. She owned the looks of the 80’s by making the hipsters and lace tops popular, but fishnet stockings, calf length black leggings, and knee high leather boots remain trademark styles of hers. Even till this day Madonna remains a fashion trendsetter for industry critiques and her fans.

Rock bands like AC/DC, Ozzy Osbourne, Mettalica, etc. gave fuel to the trend of wearing rock band t-shirts and are popular among many of their fans even today. Kurt Cobain of Nirvana brought the grunge style in the 90’s which rubbed off on clothing along with their music. Ripped jeans, flannels, and worn in plaid shirts were trends that he set and many designers like Vivienne Westwood and Marc Jacobs have came out with collections that portrayed the rebellious attitude of grunge in their collections.

The influence of music of pop stars is more emotional in fashion. Their work, philosophies, and themes are projected in their fashion sense. Rebellions revealed in leather, chains, and grunge style, while romantic in linen and laces, strength in denim and military jackets providing visual appeals to their music. The Punk style of fashion celebrates individuality, creativity, and being fearless. Torn clothes, safety pins, metal chains, tin studs did not only influence street wear but also made rounds in couture wear by the likes of John Galliano, Zandra Rhodes, and Versace. The baggy t-shirts, the chains, and cool caps became a growing fad because of famous rappers.

Among the latest sensational pop stars, Lady Gaga has a loud style of fashion and is not afraid to push the envelope. Designers like Alexander McQueen and Marc Jacobs have drawn inspiration from her unusual styles and showcased it in their collections. She has also given impetus to the revolting style of wearing jackets and tops with just underpants. This would normally be perceived outrageous, or so, one would like to believe! But it has received a positive impact and the spring 2010 collection of Alexander Wang and Prada not just displayed the trend in lingerie, but also in their main collection. Wet looking trousers and body suits have become a rage, thanks to Gaga, from runways to streets; everyone seems to be wearing them.

Many pop stars have come up with their own line of clothing in the past ten years. Gwen Stefani, Miley Cyrus, Madonna, Jennifer Lopez, Fergie, Jay-Z, Rihanna, and Katy Perry to name a few have ventured into the business of fashion. Jessica Simpson has made it big and is estimated to have made retail sales worth $ 750 million in the year 2010. The singer has more than 650 stores across America and an affordable line of fashion clothing.

Pop stars that have a flair for fashion and have become iconic are also teaming up with designers to bring up new collections. Jennifer Lopez after a not very successful attempt in fashion is trying to revamp a collection of clothes with Tommy Hilfiger. Kanye West, a fashion idol for many, plans to debut with a fully fledged women’s wear line. The fashion of rising icons getting into clothing is also a step further to stay connected to their fans by making their look and style more accessible.

The symbiotic relationship of pop stars and fashion has always given the industry new trends. And with singers launching new clothing lines along with their albums, the fashion industry has new muses to admire and to display its craft in terms of clothes.

Fashion with animal prints

Animal print has always garnered attention and has been in fashion for a long time. It displays sophistication, style and versatility. Noticeably, this trend does not seem to fade and is still ruling the fashion world and other sectors. Animal prints are the rage of this season and finds its way in party wears, coats, skirts, handbags, lingerie, watches, accessories and even in home furnishing textiles.

Animal print clothing are garments which have patterns of the skin or fur of animals like leopard, cheetah, zebra, tiger, Giraffe, Striped Hyena, African wild dog or monkey. Animal prints have remained popular since ancient times and there are many reasons for it.

Firstly, it was expensive and considered extraordinary. If one goes back to the history, kings and higher class people have used rugs made from animal skin. They have displayed animal skin or animal head as medals, which is a symbol of royalty and high status. Coats made from unusual African fur were worn by members of royal families and elite class of people during olden times.

In the past few decades, celebrities and fashion designers have played a major role in bringing animal print into mainstream fashion. This evergreen trend is loved by all and the apparel market is flooded with variety of animal prints. Bengal tiger stripes and black and white Dalmatian spots were in fashion last year. However, leopard print is the classic flavor of this season and rules the current fashion scenario.

Animal print trend has been heating up the Autumn/Winter 2013-2014 shows. This season one can see many designers and brands like Roberto Cavalli, Diane Von Furstenberg, DKNY, coming up with their own fashionable versions to showcase their animal print collection. Burberry displayed amazing giraffe and leopard print collections whereas giraffe print ankle boots by Boden were loved by all at the Autumn/Winter 13 show.

The amazing feature about animal print is that it has been reinvented time and again, and comes up with a new trend every season. Animal prints can be worn anytime, irrespective of the season, weather or style. Moreover, many people think that animal prints can be worn by women alone, but the fashion world has offered animal print garments for men as well.

Animal print always garners attention therefore, it is important to pair it up perfectly to look right. The golden rule to remember while wearing animal print is never dress head to toe with this print. Here, the fashion trend is “less is more” so as to keep the look sophisticated and stylish.

This winter make style statement by wearing an animal print coat or tiger print sweater or zebra print beanie to keep one’s head warm. Further, go for this urban cool look wearing animal print cardigan paired with denim and yellow or orange shirt beneath.

Dark color like navy blue, purple and black crocodile print tops and bottom look fabulous. Try out a peplum leopard print dress with black pumps and gold accessories. The best match for a leopard print shoes is a black dress, skirt or pant. Moreover, white and neutral shades can also be paired with leopard print shoes. And those who need much attention can pair up with bright colors like red, orange, yellow etc.

Currently, digitally printed animal pattern fabrics are on high demand in the international fashion markets. They are available in chiffons, satins, art silk, velvet, georgette, lycra, cotton, silk jacquard and many other innovative fabrics. Sometimes, 2-3 types of fibres are blended to make animal print fabrics such as Cheetah print stretch fabric is available in combination of cotton, polyester and spandex. This will give the needed stretch and comfort feature to the fabric.

Zebra and leopard prints are popular patterns used in home dcor fabrics. Also, leopard print scarf is a pattern loved by many. Further, there is a range of animal print items available in footwear section. A wild leopard print sneakers are comfortable to wear and give a cool look. They are available in beige and brown colors to make one roar while walking.

Animal print sunglasses and belts are found in various patterns which are in great demand. Nowadays, animal print patterns are widely seen in home dcor furnishings. These prints on fabrics look great for pillows, slipcovers, bed skirts and upholstery.

Some animal print fabrics are finely woven fabrics while others are medium weight cotton materials best for draperies, valances, curtains, duvet covers, etc. While making ones interior trendy, it is important to choose the right print, color and quantity of the print. Avoid using too many of these prints while doing the interiors.

If used in the right manner, animal print lampshades, rugs, wall art, cushions and other home decor furnishings will give an exotic and classy look to one’s space. Today’s animal prints do not closely resemble the older ones. At present, designer’s experiment and play with different patterns of these exotic animals and come up with new design and colors.

They have introduced new colors such as blue, green or pink which is not the natural color of the animal skin. Thus, the designers have tried to modernize the prints with their creative abilities. While animal prints are spotted in every corner of the fashion world, the jewelry industry is also smitten by it.

Renowned brands are showcasing their jewelry items and accessories with animal prints. Variety of fashion accessories like animal print strap watch, blue leopard print earrings, leopard print bracelet, cheetah print necklace, animal print brooch, bangles, hair pins, hair bands, stud earrings and many more are available all over the world. Similarly exotic collections of animal print lingerie are available in stores that will blow off one’s mind.

Animal print clothing, accessories, jewelry or even home decor products are considered as ageless investment and a prized possession of one’s wardrobe. This trendy print can be regularly seen worn by celebrities, Hollywood stars and on ramps.

Most importantly, people love animal prints which is gratifying to the eyes and brings out the wild side of a human nature. Moreover, one can find so many different patterns of animal prints in the market that everyone gets a pick of their choice.

The Spring Summer 2015 trends

The recently concluded Milan Fashion Week and London Fashion Week have sprung an array of fresh and new trends to be adorned in the Spring/Summer of twenty fifteen. The fashion forecasting for each season brings in information used by merchandisers, retailers, buyers, and designers to get a heads up with what will be trending and what will not and to gear up for the upcoming season. An overview of the patterns, shades or colors, fabrics, and graphics and inspirations that will be popular for the Spring Summer of 2015 are as follows.

The four key looks to be coming up and will be calling out the fashion cards are Thrift shop, Artisanal, New age Pop, and Streamline. A closer encounter with these looks will provide an insight into what to expect from Spring Summer fashion in 2015. The thrift shop look is the biggest highlight for the spring 2015. It is essentially a blend of vintage subdued color palettes and kitschy burst of colors in the form of conversational prints. The fabrics used to present the color riot of this look are crisp poplin, French terry, charmeuse, and suede. Animal prints and cat and bird prints will be seen on coats, full dresses, skirts, and tops.

The Artisanal theme is all about pretty looking colors and a play of geometric prints to create a high and impactful visual appeal. Embellishments, applique, crafts, and floral prints in 3D are essentials of this look to get peppy for the spring of summer 2015. Folk and artisanal prints, repeated geometrics, embroidery, and flora and fauna prints can seens on boxy shirts, mini-skirts, tunics, and shift dresses. The accessories for spring summer 2015 will find fringes and tassels as decorative materials. Fabrics used for this folk look are eyelet, suede, leather, jacquard, and laces.

Another key trend which revives itself year after year to find a place in the fashion sphere is the pop art. But for the spring summer trends of 2015, the pop art is more surreal with unlikely designs and unusual juxtaposition. The colors are bright and perky with funky prints in a combination of shiny yellow, green, gold, and tangerine. The fabrics of choice to bring in such bold colors and eye popping designs are nylons, double knit jerseys, satin, jacquards, and single jerseys. Clothing items endorsing the Avant pop look for the summer would be crop tops, boxy jackets, and criss-cross tops.

Streamline is a subtle take to the Spring Summer fashion in 2015. The look resembles the art of minimalism and consists of patterns that are sophisticated, modern, and simple. The attitude is sporty and more relaxed. Soft muted tones, muted stripes and animal prints in light shades will be the kind of designs used for the streamlined look. Nylon, mesh, cotton, organza and sheer fabrics will be used to get the streamlined look.

The colors for menswear for spring summer 2015 are masculine hues of brown, blue, and vineyard along with some saturated pastels and bright colors. The shades of chocolate and hazelnut were seen a; across collections of designer brands like Dolce & Gabbana, Canali, and Prada. Outerwear knits, and even tailored men’s clothing witnessed earthy browns and under toned reds. The beautiful sage green along with uniform inspired styles and utilitarian silhouettes was seen dominating the major

fashion weeks showcasing the spring summer collections for Menswear. Moss green and shades of olive green gave a washed out look to welcome the summers with relaxed fits and techie edge to the garments.

The classic shades of blue like indigo, navy blue, inky hues with a tint of purple will dominate the formal clothing for Men. Monochrome suits in a hue of indigo will be the most sought after trend even in 2015. While steel blue and greyish blue will be seen in more casual clothing for Men in fabrics like cotton poplin, silk and nylon. Wine and hues of claret are colors that will be seen in men’s coats and jackets for the spring summer 2015. The spring summer of 2015 is also the year of prints in men’s fashion. Polka dots, plaids, tartans, and florals are a few prints that will hit the stores. Some items like chino shorts and sweatshirts will be garments in demand.

There are some unique trends to the Women swear for spring summer 2015. The cubist theme strongly backed by collections presented in Fashion Weeks by labels like Fendi, Helmut Lang, and Yizal Azrouel will be a new trend to watch out for. The look encompasses the monochromatic theme with geometric prints and patch work patterns. See through fabrics like organza in asymmetric silhouettes and with laser cut patterns are the highlights of this look. Another popular theme shaping the spring summer 2015 fashion in womenswear is the sporty chic category. Athletic references were seen in collections of Donna Karen, Tommy Hilfiger, Sacai, and Gucci. Key items that will be emerging as a result of the sportswear influence are bomber jackets, varsity numbered tops, zippers, track pants, and shorts.

The spring summer 2015 has a lot of interesting trends to indulge in and to look forward to in both menswear and womenswear.

Accessories every girl needs to have in her wardrobe

Every girl should possess some accessories in her wardrobe that are essential for the fall season. With the cooling temperatures, it is imperative that her choice of clothes also shifts accordingly. As it is not possible to go shopping every change of season; it is always good to keep certain clothes handy to tackle the colder months.

Here are the 7 essential accessories that every girl must have in her wardrobe:

Boots: Be it a pair of high boots or cowboy ones, these look stylish and trendy with different types of dresses. You can wear skin tight jeans along with these, while leggings will also work perfectly fine. Apart from that, you can also pair your denim skirts with these boots. These boots will actually save your feet from rain and early snow in the winter season.

Black dress: If you have heard that a black dress is essential for every woman, you have heard it right. A sleek and elegant black dress can be worn to any formal occasion like a business party or a meeting. You can pair this dress with any type of sweater you like. The color of your top can be either dark or light, depending on your choice. It can also be worn to a dinner or a party with friends. This dress will make you look just right, neither too formal nor too casual.

A black blazer: You can either choose a formal blazer or a casual one, depending on your choice. However, to be on the safer side, it is better to have a blazer that is a blend of both. As black is a universal color, it is the safest one to opt for. You can wear this blazer on a lunch outing with friends or to a business presentation. Choosing the right shirt or dress to be worn with the blazer is essential for a stylish look. For business meetings, it is best to wear a buttoned shirt under the blazer. However, when you are going out with friends, you can easily slip in a casual top beneath the blazer with a pair of jeans or a skirt.

Purses and handbags: Carrying an oversized bag to a business dinner is a definite no, and a clutch would work better for such an occasion. Hence, it is imperative for women to have different types of handbags with them. Purses, clutches, oversized handbags, beach bags and stylish wallets should be a part of your closet. An oversized bag is good for the fall season as you would need to stuff the layers of clothing that you wear in case you suddenly start feeling warm.

Scarves and headgear: Well, the best thing about winter is the opportunity to wear different types of scarves and headgear. Woollen caps can be paired with jeans and tee-shirt for a casual and trendy look. Also, you can combine different printed scarves with your blazer or jacket in order to get a cool and chic appearance. You can find different types of printed scarves on Tiger People, which will look good with any winter outfit. You can also try different styles of tying the scarf, which can help create a variation in your look.

Jackets: Half sleeves or full sleeves, jackets come in different forms, fabrics, and styles. The most popular ones would be leather jackets that give you a smart look and provide warmth too. Apart from this, you should also have a puffed jacket in your closet that will be useful when it starts snowing.

Warmers: This is one of the main things that everybody would need in the winter months. Wooly leggings prove to be beneficial for sub-zero temperatures, especially for women who venture out in the cold on a daily basis. These help in keeping your legs warm and cozy, even when the mercury dips really low.

Winter months can become particularly pleasurable with the right clothing. Wearing different layers of clothing is best during these months. This will not only provide the warmth that you are looking for, but will also make you look stylish and chic.

Fashion Trends for Men

Men’s fashion in the 2000s is now as indefinable as women’s fashion has been for the past few years. Gone are the days when men couldn’t look fashionable with those uninteresting shirts and mundane trousers. Looking good is not only a woman’s privilege. Each year, trends for men’s fashion are predicted, but hardly have they followed any fashion trends. Hence, they escape stylish clothing.

Even if they go for shopping their last option would be on safe shirt and predictable trousers. For younger males, hip hop culture has highlighted many trends for men’s fashion, while older males are increasingly aware of tailoring, and making a garment fit right for their body shape, rather than going with the fashion trend.

Trends for men have always been a tricky issue. You need to make a statement, and yet not overdo it. For the men who want to get started with this voguish experiment, this year is not a year to go too bold with colors, whereas shades of blue and black are set to rule. Denims continue to rule 2014 and printed shirts and jackets will also be a hit. You can set your mood to make yourself look different from the crowd with slim, narrow trend with slush of colors.

An exclusive printed jacket with layering and a good amount of texturing on the fabric with fine yet visible detailing will look great. Printed jackets can be highlighted with Kalamkari work. The trend of printed jackets and slim pants is the future of fashion and the new age man replaces cargos with slimmer pants and includes more linen jackets in their wardrobe. You can even pair up your jackets with slim fitting blue denims which are completely classic, timeless and are one of the most resourceful pieces you’ll ever own.

It is easy to dress oneself with the slimmer cut ensuring sharper lines and a better shape. Indigo jeans works with almost any look you can think of and will never be out of fashion, so it’s worth investing good money in self finished fabrics, which is of a higher quality and is almost guaranteed to last longer. Basic knitwear will be an essential component of your layering this season, and you’ll be wearing it a lot.

These staple colors allow you to play around with bolder shades within the rest of your ensemble and the mid-weight ensures that they sit on the casual side of the spectrum, which is much more suitable when you’re just starting out. When it comes to suits, double breasted blazers are in fashion, so for people who like slim fits, new styles have come up to give a try. Wider legged pants are replacing the slim cut trousers which were a trend last year.

For those who like sweatshirts can try out ones with interesting prints or patterns, which are big and has graphic designs. Short sleeved shirts are also back in fashion. Also you can let go the traditional outfit and opt for well-fitted kurtas, bandgalas in simple designs. Sports coats, camouflage prints and army themes are very much in vogue at international fashion shows nowadays. Also, golf pants and shorts are hitting the trend. Few years back golfing attire was very simple and elegant, and aimed at comfort but trends change with time. Golfing attires have become funkier and can team up with cloth-button shirts. They look casual and less sporty.

Some people go wacky with their golf pants in different chic colors. Fortunately, for these promising fashionistos, these shirts are a worthwhile addition to any modern wardrobe and you will definitely get a lot of use out of them as it is perfectly divides between formal and casual wear.

Apparels are always mixed and matched with the accessories which can amaze you. Shoes do a lot of talking. Funny, but they do. Desert boot goes with everything, men can choose from jeans to shorts to suits. It can make you look smart without being formal. These boots are extremely comfy and a pair in light sand will complement every piece in your wardrobe. Moreover, you can even go for brown leather if you are looking for something that is seasonally suitable and a bit more hard wearing.

Wearing the right belt is an art indeed. Yes, they’re definitely used to hold your pants up, but they do serve another purpose by adding a whole other dimension to your look. A classic black, brown or beige belt is an absolute wardrobe staple. Wearing cufflinks will make a usual formal shirt look stylish and sophisticated. It will make you stand out at social and formal functions.

Match the cuff links with the style and color of your shirt. Do you really know how to tie a tie? A stunning tie makes your suit more beautiful, classier especially if you know how to associate colors. You can match it with the facing of the suit – satin with satin, silk with silk – but it can also be an opportunity to do something different. A different texture or feel can look great but we wouldn’t recommend different colors or prints.

We can sum-up by saying that men need not shy away from wearing something that is very different from others. It should no longer be a cause of concern. Today, the more adventurous men are, more people will like to follow their style of dressing and get rid of their own wardrobe staples to make space for stylish wears.

New Media : A new platform for the fashion industry

Social media has opened doors to new and emerging designers with small budgets to push their creativity and contribute to the fashion world by actively staying plugged-in. Designers and brands now market themselves directly to clients through the social media and gradually build brand loyalty because of the user-friendly and accessible nature of social media, write Mahesh Shaw and Mehak Mittal.

New Media is a catch term of the 21st Century. Very broadly, new media is something related to the internet and the interplay among technology, images, and sound. It is about making things digital, and has characteristics of being manipulated, networkable, dense, compressible and interactive. The various forms of new media are internet, websites, computer multimedia, computer games, CD-ROMS and DVDs. The population of internet users is increasing at a very fast rate. According to a nationally representative survey by the Pew Research Centre’s Internet and American Life Project, some 70 per cent of American adults aged 18 and older have speed-broadband connection at home as of May 2013. India has the 3rd largest internet user population after China and the US as per the report.

The internet is one of the forms of new media which we use extensively. We say humans are social animals. We now say humans are digital animals. We tweet, re-tweet, share, post, upload, comment, like, follow and update 24/7. For us, being social means going digital in the world of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Tumblr and LinkedIn which are the most commonly used social media networks. Not only is our social life getting digitalised, our entire lifestyle is also getting progressively influenced by the internet. People chat, have online discussions and forums on micro-blogging sites, read books, magazines, and newspapers on the web, shop online, email, and surf various search engines for anything and everything they want to know either on their phones or tablets. Social media is the most popular form of new media used for virtual communication, which allows us to stay connected to all of friends, colleagues, and acquaintances with the click of a button.

Social media and fashion

The fashion industry uses social media as a promising platform to connect with consumers directly. Social media is used by brands of all categories. It has also played a major role in helping the fashion industry reach out to a much wider customer base with lesser costs and more presence in the digital world. All fashion brands and designers have a Facebook page, and a Twitter and an Instagram accounts. Brands have also started previewing their collections exclusively on Pinterest.

To drive growth, to be more exclusive, and to augment the user’s online brand experience, luxury brands Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana, and Burberry have launched their own social networks. Chanel along with its social networking site has also launched an application with Apple where it allows users to catch up on the latest news, watch exclusive ready-to-wear shows, browse through looks, and also locate stores nearby. DKNY used Instagram to interact one-to-one with fans.

Burberry used Snapchat to reveal its spring/summer 2016 collections a full day before it hits the catwalk. Tommy Hilfiger posts 360 degree videos to Twitter.

A great example of interactive communication with customers is Burberry’s “Art of the Trench” campaign where people were encouraged to upload images of themselves wearing Burberry’s signature item-their trenchcoat. The photographer and blogger of The Sartorialist took pictures of people on streets wearing trenchcoats. This allowed them to communicate and connect with customers at a new and real level.

Social media has opened doors to new and emerging designers with small budgets to push their creativity and contribute to the fashion world by actively staying plugged-in. Designers and fashion brands now market themselves directly to clients through the social media and gradually build brand loyalty because of the user-friendly and accessible nature of social media. Recently, Masaba Gupta and Oscar De La Renta live streamed their fashion shows on Instagram and Pinterest. Designer Misha Nonoo used Instagram to showcase her full spring/summer collections 2016.

There was a time when a designer’s inspiration came from his/her travels or maybe sometimes a muse. Now, a designer prefers to make a quick trip through some online sites, with the followers being their travelling buddies. As Clare WaightKeller of Chloe observed: “A mood board that would have taken a few weeks of solid research can now be assembled in an afternoon on Instagram. The fashion industry’s pace today has made it hard to find time for travel beyond the virtual kind, with exploratory trips and gallery visits increasingly difficult to squeeze into the dizzying demand for collections.”

Blogs and fashion

Blogs are personal websites, “usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video, where entries are commonly displayed in reverse chronological order.” At present, there are millions of fashion blogs worldwide that are updated regularly with new fashion trends. The blog’s effectiveness is due to its strong individual, personal, popular, and elitist point of view. Its engaging experience offers readers the opportunity to voice opinions and challenge fashion critics.

Updates by fashion bloggers these days also encourage the involvement of readers in the fashion making process as they impact consumer purchasing decisions. A positive review from these influential individuals is something that an advertising agency also cannot buy. Commenting on the widespread blogger noise, blogger BryanBoy says, “If I send a tweet, within a few seconds readers will be responding and it engages them with the designer.”

As more brands and designers offer live streaming and online replays of their shows, the average person can both appreciate and enjoy the whole experience. Instagram and Facebook updates posted by the spectators straight from the runway, help people relate and engage themselves just like the ones sitting and enjoying the shows live. This way everyone has the same access to the fashion domain, changing the nature of the fashion weeks. Of course, an online stream can never replace the grand experience and marvel of watching a fashion show live but it definitely gives designers and brands much greater exposure. And since the internet has become such an indispensable part of our lives these days, we say Go Digital!

The days to come

Social media, blogs, live streaming channels, and mobile applications are very much present in the fashion industry. Brands and designers can easily connect with consumer on a personal basis. They can understand their requirements, and take reviews and feedback. Word of mouth on the Internet spreads like virus. It helps increase brand awareness, loyalty and promotion to a wider consumer base. The diverse social network platforms give us the gift of endless accessibility to each and every show happening all around the world. Even designers from the most obscure towns and cities have easy access to the hottest fashion trends, all thanks to the latest technology, which has directed immense change in the way people accept and buy fashion.

Fashion Industry in the eastern State

In spite of its overwhelming presence in newspapers, magazines and on television, the fashion industry in India is young. The first professional fashion show was held in this country just over 20 years ago.

The word ‘fashion’ brings on images of glamour. The onset of the worldwide fashion market in India has given a thrust to the fashion industry. This has attracted so many young people to this industry.

Today, there are a couple of hundred Indian fashion designers peddling designs and wares. Some are well known and are expanding, slowly but surely, into the international market. India’s romance with fashion design has just begun and is bound to grow by leaps and bounds. Glamour has caught on. Young women want to emulate models and the designer wear of Hindi film stars.

Fusion of Indian and western looks are all the rage. Then, there is everything from pure ethnic wear, highly suitable for Indian bridal collections to purely Western style designer wear for the red carpet. India loves fashion!

India hosts its own fashion weeks in Delhi and Mumbai which seem to be getting bigger and better every year. The names are getting known as well – Rohit Bal, Tarun Tahiliani, Ritu Kumar, Manish Malhotra, Ritu Beri, Manish Arora, Satya Paul, Rocky S — the list just keeps growing.

Market Size

The Indian fashion industry is expected to reach US$ 400 million in a couple of years with vigorous growth of over 10 per cent year-on-year. While this is tiny compared to the global industry, it is not too bad for an industry in this stage of infancy.

The reason India’s fashion industry will have a bright future is that it has a large young population. This, combined with increasing disposable incomes, has led to an increase in consumerism. So, those who can afford are looking for high quality and originality. They love brand names. Hence, we can say that the future of fashion industry in India looks promising.

Potential

This industry offers an abundance of opportunities for artistic, hard-working and enthusiastic people. The scenario for fashion design graduates looks good, thanks to the enormous and still increasing demand for stylish clothes and the quantity of exports.

After successful accomplishment of the graduate course, one can be self-employed. On the other hand, several garment store chains, export houses, leather companies, textile mills, boutiques, fashion show organizers and jewellery houses recruit professionals fascinated with a career in fashion designing.

The fashion industry relies a lot on India’s authentic, beautiful history and rich, diverse culture, to make its unique clothing. Growing recognition of this industry, which hinges on its cultural style, has many of us wondering just when and if the Indian fashion industry will get the green light to go international.

The Indian fashion industry is still in its early years. Lakme Fashion Week has been running for 13 successive years. In markets such as New York, Milan and Paris, the fashion industry was established decades ago. The Indian fashion industrycan still nurture and push its popularity, but it may take a bit more to establish itself and its roots internationally. The clothing made by the country’s elite fashion designers is not only beautiful, but unique, exquisite, and one-of-a-kind.

Time will tell when the fashion industry will break that international barrier.

Street Style for Kids

One look at photographs of Harper Beckham, Suri Cruise or Dannielynn Birkhead who modelled for Guess and you know that street fashion is not a passing fad. Children, as much as youth, breathe it.

Street style for kids is big business today. Funky, quirky and jazzed up with glamour accessories team up with the carefully casual look for girls and boys.

Street style has always been there. It is only since the mid-1950s that its importance has been recognised, appreciated and emulated. Street fashion is considered to have emerged not from studios, but from the grassroots. It is generally linked with youth culture, and is often seen in major urban centres even though smaller towns have their own smaller hubs.

Theories about origin of street fashion

The Trickle Up Theory involves innovation or a picky style that begins on the streets, worn by lower income groups. It is picked up by designers and projected to upper class spheres which purchase the designs.

A typical example of this is the T-shirt. From a modest start, the Tee has turned into an emblem of global fashion. It has become not just a fashion and cultural icon, but a message board where people can express their feelings in the form of slogans, symbols and logos. Messages focus on the wider audience of popular culture, or are directed at subcultures, politics, economics, social issues and more.

Major subcultures affecting kids fashion industry

Most major youth subcultures have had been associated with street fashion adopted by today’s kids who are not only stylish, but decide their style. Despite naysayers, children have become a cult classic with the tag of cool city kid.

Earlier, fashion riarily to adults requirements. Today, with the exposure children get, they are conscious of their looks and aesthetics. The fashion industry now caters to children’s designer clothing. Young children now enjoy a mixed and widespread range of fashion attire, which helps them to position a fashion trend of their own. You can now find vibrant, effervescent, exclusive, creative, exciting, and striking clothes for both girls and boys.

The children’s fashion industry has grown and evolved into a stand-alone genre with its own trends and creative milestones.

Brands primarily concentrating on kids’ street fashion include Nico Nico, Lot801, Agatha Cub, Primary, Meme, Freshly Picked, The Mini Classy, Boy + Girl, Indikidual, Rags to Raches and Loola.

Earlier, fashion riarily to adults requirements. Today, with the exposure children get, they are conscious of their looks and aesthetics. The fashion industry now caters to children’s designer clothing. Young children now enjoy a mixed and widespread range of fashion attire, which helps them to position a fashion trend of their own. You can now find vibrant, effervescent, exclusive, creative, exciting, and striking clothes for both girls and boys.

The children’s fashion industry has grown and evolved into a stand-alone genre with its own trends and creative milestones.

Brands primarily concentrating on kids’ street fashion include Nico Nico, Lot801, Agatha Cub, Primary, Meme, Freshly Picked, The Mini Classy, Boy + Girl, Indikidual, Rags to Raches and Loola.

 

Developments of 2016 that will shape fashion

The textiles and apparel industry is a dynamic one, much happens here through the year. We bring to you 10 select developments of 2016 which we believe will have a bearing on 2017. By Subir Ghosh developments of 2016 that will shape fashion 10 Brexit. Trump. TPP, RCEP. Amazon. Innumerable keywords kept cropping up through 2016, but not all of these will shape fashion, nay the textiles and apparel industry, in 2017. But some will dictate the direction that the fashion industry takes in the years to come, and the process starts with 2017.

  Myntra’s acquisition of Jabong

In July, Flipkart’s Myntra pipped Snapdeal to the post by acquiring online fashion store Jabong for $70 million. Though Jabong itself had been on a downswing since 2013 when it was valued at $508 million, the acquisition of the portal by Flipkart- Myntra was the biggest news in the Indian fashion world since their own merger in 2014. The Flipkart-Myntra-Jabong ecosystem now holds sway over two-third of the high-margin online fashion market, and signals the beginning of the consolidation period in e-commerce.

 Automation is in, stealthily

When leading fabric and fashion retailer Raymond truncated its workforce by a third across 16 manufacturing units in September, it surprisingly didn’t send industry observers into a tizzy. The move by Raymond was the first by a big company towards a direction that experts have been talking about for a while, and the reasons behind the Raymond decision were simple: a need to cut costs and an equal need to increase efficiency. Textiles 4.0 is in, and it’s been a silent move so far. The textiles apparel industry in India, however, will need to maintain a balance since the sector is one of the biggest employers in the country. Words of caution had come earlier in a Texprocil study which had emphasised on the need for job creation.

 Election of Trump and TPP

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was expected to run into rough weather the day Donald Trump were to be elected as US President. This did happen and Trump was quick to declare that among the first things he would do after being sworn in would be to pull out of the TPP. Though some negotiating countries still want to go ahead, without the US the TPP is a non-starter and would certainly have little influence on global trade. The death of the TPP would be good news for India which had been left out, but with the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) still a far cry, the trade front is going to remain uncertain.

 Oil prices are rising again

India was able to save on over 100,000 crore the previous financial year because of the drop in the price of the Indian basket of crude oil. Now, oil prices are beginning to rise again: in January, Brent crude oil had dipped to $27.88 a barrel, but in December prices were around $55 a barrel levels; this had followed the decision of major petroleum producers in September to cut down on production. While higher crude prices have a direct bearing on inflation and therefore on consumer spending too indirectly, oil prices will be closely monitored by the Indian textiles-apparel industry, which in any case had not been able to make the best of the oil price slump interregnum because of the dissuading duties on man-made fibres (MMF).

 The aftermath of Brexit

The United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, popularly referred to as the Brexit referendum, saw investors worldwide lose more than the equivalent of $2 trillion in June. But to fill in the huge gap created in the global textiles and apparel industry by Brexit, India has to react quickly. The EU is a major destination for Indian exporters, accounting for 37 per cent of the total 111,236 crore worth of readymade garment exports in 2015-16. The UK market constituted a 40 per cent chunk of this. But, since most of the garments that British brands and stores sell are imported (produced abroad), companies will not be able to stop importing. Indian exporters, therefore, can make the best of this only if they can score over China in cost-competitiveness and better lead times. For that to happen, India will need to ink at least a preferential trade agreement (PTA) with the UK. As it is, the India-EU free trade agreement (FTA) is still a long way from materialising, and Vietnam as been reaping rich dividends from its preferential status with the EU. The UK is a major destination for Vietnam too, but that country will now need to tread carefully. Vietnam is member of the TPP, which itself is in jeopardy now with Brexit and Trump.

  Waiting for GST

The wait continues, but most likely the Goods and Services Tax (GST) may be rolled out by the middle of the year, having missed the April 1, 2017 deadline for all practical purposes. GST is seen as the last mile of a long journey of reforms of indirect taxes in India and the impact of GST on the textiles sector will be significant. Since the central GST and state GST rates are likely to be higher than the corresponding textile sector revenue neutral rates (RNRs); textile prices are expected to go up. This will adversely affect demand for textile products. According to a ministry study, the adverse effect of a price rise on demand will be neutralised by a positive income effect if the GST rate applicable to all textile segments is kept at 12 per cent. Demand for khadi and handloom, cotton textiles and carpets would be adversely affected while there will be a net positive effect on other sectors. This will lead to substitution effects thereby encouraging greater use of man-made fibre based textiles and blends that use relatively more of synthetic fibres.

 The Amazon factor

When it was launched sometime in 2014, Amazon India had a lot of catching up to do with the Flipkart juggernaut rolling on unhindered. In a very short time, it has managed to catch up, and is now running neck and neck with the Flipkart-Myntra- Jabong triumvirate. The launch of Amazon Fashion and Amazon’s own fashion label in 2016 is a virtual extension of Amazon’s own strategies as well as the compulsions offered by the fashion segment in online retail. What Amazon did to the publishing/ books industry is now legion, but whether it will be able to do the same with the apparel industry is a different question altogether. But Amazon India has been working on visibility and establishing itself as a brand with a fashion face. Amazon India became the title sponsor of the Fashion Design Council of India’s India Fashion Week in 2015; this year it firmly entrenched itself therein. The online fashion landscape stays changed forever.

  Demonetisation’s side-effects

How soon the Indian economy can recover from the obvious slump that has set in because of the demonetisation of 500 and 1000 currency notes is a matter of speculation. But what is certain is that the long supply chain of the textiles and apparel industry is under severe pressure. Demonetisation in India-the world’s biggest producer and second largest exporter of cotton-is already exacerbating global supply and may prompt importers like Bangladesh to look for alternative sources to stock up immediately. Industry, which usually starts importing cotton around April-May, has already started doing so. Cotton arrivals have already dipped by almost one-third, and farmers are not going all out to sell cotton because the preferred mode of transaction is cash. This has affected cotton exports too as sourcing has become difficult, leading to both cancellations as well as a dip in forward contracts. Cotton farmers can hold on to stocks, but the supply chain is long and most workers/weavers/spinners are still paid in cash, and there are reports of powerloom units closing down because of the unavailability of cotton. However, the economy may well eventually recover in 2017.

 The Chinese trade front

Ongoing global recession or not, the China factor still directly and indirectly dictates what the rest of the world does. The textiles ministry has been contemplating imposing a duty on cloth being imported from China in a bid to save the powerloom sector, but this may well throw RCEP negotiations into turmoil. India has been able to get some concessions in the ongoing parleys with much difficulty towards a trade pact that is likely to be dominated by China. For its part, India had approved duty concessions to six countries under the Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA) in September. And on the RCEP front, India may remove 65 per cent of the tariff lines for China. This is less than the 80 per cent it is offering to other participating countries, but is still a marked improvement over the 42.5 per cent it had offered earlier. So, this is going to be tricky terrain for India. This year Bangladesh overtook China as the biggest importer of Indian cotton, but one cannot disregard the fact that China still holds a card close to its chest: the huge stockpile of cotton.

  A package towards a policy

The textile package announced by the Union government in June was seen by many as a stitch in time. The ₹6,000 crore package was a much-needed whiff of fresh air for a desperate industry that had been gasping for breath. The promises, made in terms of numbers, were certainly ambitious: jobs for 1 crore people, mostly women; $30 billion in exports; and investment worth ₹74,000 crore. All that in a matter of three years. But now with the side-effects of demonetisation and a rise in crude oil prices, the textiles ministry has a tough job cut out for itself. The Foreign Trade Policy that was announced midway through the year too might need some course corrections, all the more so because of the TPP-RCEP trajectories. This is where the need for a National Textiles Policy (NTP) becomes all the more significant and critical. Two and half years ago, the choice of words would have been “long-awaited”; now its’ “much needed.”