The Growth Chart

Ravi Bajaj

Men's fashion in India continues to sell without depending on events, travelling fashion tours or even a dedicated fashion week

Twenty five years ago, when Ravi Bajaj made his foray into fashion design, most men would own two pairs of shoes — in black and in brown. Today, the designer admits that every single man he knows owns at least a dozen pairs. "Men are indulging like never before, be it in buying clothes and accessories or grooming products. Even red or orange trousers are not exclusive to Govinda; you see them all around," says Bajaj. And he's right about men being eager shoppers.

The India Menswear Market Analysis 2010-2014 by Venn Research Inc found that the total revenue from menswear was $11.8 billion in 2009, representing a compound annual growth rate of 8.6 per cent from 2005 to 2009. In another survey, retail consultants Technopak Advisors pegged the menswear market size in India to be Rs 72,000 crore, which is estimated to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9 per cent.

The figures are impressive but what's really worth applauding is the fact that the upward trajectory continues despite the fact that vis-a-vis women's fashion, there is no lavish or frequent display of men's clothes through events, travelling fashion tours or fashion weeks. Such events are the mainstay of urban fashion, so the growth in men's fashion without them is an interesting evolution. "In fact, men's fashion needs much less peddling than women's fashion. Men are mostly stable customers. They know what they want and do not need much prodding to buy," affirms Bajaj.

Designer Raghavendra Rathore, who has a loyal male following for his label, agrees that if you understand your market then it is important to focus on the product rather than market it season after season. "Interestingly, a large population of women buy fashion for the men in their lives, but men expect a certain consistency in the temperament of the brands that they prefer," points out Rathore.

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