Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Tuesday, Aug 30, 2005
Marketing - Trends
Menswear gets snugger, colours riotous
Chennai , Aug. 29
THE fitness boom's doing a lot for menswear. In celebration of trimmer bodies, newfound confidence and metrosexual self-indulgence, casualwear is becoming snug. The colours are more riotous, textiles are lighter and prints are coming back into fashion.
Loose clothes are out for a long, long time, says Mr Mohammed Hanif, Director of Chennai-based Hasbro, which makes the Basics and Genesis brands. Fits are extremely close, the cuts are cleaner and paunches won't matter in these if-you've-got-it-flaunt-it days.
Today's male is also open to embroidery and appliqué. Hasbro has just launched a line of appliquéd shirts. Embroidery, says Mr Hanif, came in two seasons, or four months, ago. Hasbro used Hakoba, traditionally used for women's clothes down the years, and out of the 3,200 shirts made, 2,800 flew off the shelves, claims Mr Hanif, adding that national brands have taken to embroidery only now.
"Prints are big time," says Mr Vijay Kapoor, Managing Director, Derby Clothing Pvt Ltd. The motifs range from abstract to tribal, which includes a good measure of animals and insects, and the colours are deeper and darker. Mr Hanif says pink is the hottest colour now but Mr Kapoor does not agree. That's the international trend but not true of India, is his observation.
Says Mr Shyam Sukhramani, Brand Head, Dockers, "Voiles, linens and wool that are made from natural fibre become an obvious choice to bring in simple luxury, as they are light and loosely woven, and enhance the silhouette by affording better drape." However, he says pastel shades such as powder blues and dusty pinks are finding their place in casualwear also.
Trendy are mix-and-match shirts too - the collar and the cuff match while the body is a different colour. Formal or casual, designers are now bringing in subtle elements which wouldn't have been accepted even two years ago, says Mr Kapoor. Mandarin collars are in, small collars out and Derby, for instance, is making shirts with three buttons on the cuff, and the buttons are square, not round.
Formals, too, are getting their share of fashion. They still come in comfort fits, but collars and cuffs are being spruced up with double buttons. Indus League has a line called Contra Formals slim shirts that accentuate the build and are tight and smaller at the shoulders. "Many other details have been put under the microscope to get the right ergonomics," says a company spokesperson.
Formals are the staple of most brands' product mix, but it's leisurewear that's seeing all the action. "Partywear is the next big thing after business casuals, and these two categories are expanding the market, not eating into formalwear's share," says Mr Kapoor.
However, large men, eat your hearts out - very little of this bounty is available in sizes beyond 44 inches. But then, nowadays, there's a gym round every corner ...
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