Vijay C Roy
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, May 11
The demand for casual and comfortable clothing has gone up significantly, thanks to work-from-home (WFH) culture and curbs on going out amid the Covid pandemic.
According to apparel makers, there is a huge transition from formal to casual wear. During the pre-Covid times, formal wear used to constitute 60% demand but now it has come down to 40%, with casual wear dominating the market. As a result, major apparel hubs in the northern region — Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Panipat, Gurugram and Noida — have started producing more casual clothing than formal wear.
“With a majority of employers offering WFH, the demand for comfort wear has gone up. There is an increased focus on fitness and we are rolling out an athleisure line of clothing to cater to this new opportunity,” said Joe Kuruvilla, CEO, Lifestyle Business Raymond Ltd.
The emerging mega consumer shift during the Covid is hygiene, health consciousness, casualisation and comfort wear and a significant channel shift is towards online commerce.
According to the industry, the pandemic, subsequent lockdowns and the economic fallout that ensued has resulted in consumers spending less on discretionary items such as apparel and substituting formal wear with comfort clothing in the short term.
“Earlier, out of total apparels outsourced by major players, formal wear accounted for 60-65%. Now, it has come down to 35-40%, indicating customers’ shifting preference towards casual wear,” said Harish Dua, MD, KG Exports, Ludhiana.
“We envisage casualisation trends to continue but also see a significant comeback to office/formal wear as the pandemic wears off and people start returning to offices,” said Kuruvilla.