Illustration: Rahul Awasthi
Illustration: Rahul Awasthi

Shoppers are looking at new and affordable themes for daily wear, and work-at-home outfits as the Covid-19 pandemic makes them stay put at homes.

Fashion brands and online marketplaces say clothing focused on safety and hygiene, work-from-home fashion and TV show-themed apparel have resonated with youngsters.

Covid-19 related messages on T-shirts like ‘Maintain Distance’ and ‘Go Corona Go’ are also finding traction, brands told ET.

Newer categories, like anti-fungal and anti-bacterial clothing, are also in, as people stress on hygiene and safety amid the outbreak.

“Consumers seem to be opting for clothing meant for stay-at-home rather than the pre-lockdown when people made occasion-based fashion choices,” Amar Nagaram, CEO of Myntra told ET.

Myntra expects loungewear and comfort wear to be in high demand as more people work remotely, Nagaram said.

The kids wear category is currently clocking 1.3-1.4 times pre-lockdown sales, while demand for top wear has doubled compared to before the pandemic.

Loungewear, home footwear, masks, and lingerie have also been up, online retailer Myntra said.

Turmswear, which sells apparel with special features like stain repellent and odour resistant, has seen a spike in orders for anti-fungal and anti-bacterial clothing.

“As people start to think about venturing out, they are aware that they need to be more careful about safety and hygiene,” Rameswar Misra, CEO of Turmswear told ET. “At the same time, they want to be fashionable, and that’s where we have seen our brand connect with shoppers,” he said.

Fashion and personal care is the largest category in terms of units sold online, according to a report by Bain & Company.

The category has however been hit this year, as physical and online retail remained shut for non-essential goods for about two months due to a nationwide lockdown.

Even after the lockdown was lifted, fashion businesses saw a slower uptick compared to smartphones and electronics as consumers held back on discretionary spending.

The segment is expected to play a critical role in acquiring customers online, like in the mature markets of the United States and China.

High-value categories such as office wear, bottoms, and denims, as well as formal dresses have been hit as consumers stay indoors.

To spur demand, brands like Zara and Mango are discounting and have begun sales online. Myntra has also kicked off its End of Reason Sale across multiple brands.

Large brands are also looking to revamp their collections.

Arvind Fashions, which retails brands such as Gap, US Polo, Aeropostale, and Flying Machine, is launching an array of home footwear, designer masks, and other pandemic-related clothing, including T-shirts with slogans raising awareness about the pandemic.

“We are in the production phase now and will be launching these products under our brand Flying Machine,” J Suresh, chief executive of Arvind Fashions told ET.

The brand will also focus on top wear, as millennials are working from home but need clothing for virtual meetings and online group activities.

Apart from apparel, a number of fashion brands including Wildcraft, Adidas, Peter England, Louis Philippe, Allen Solly, and Van Heusen have put masks as part of a long-term category for adults and kids.

Newer brands say they have seen consumer interest in buying Covid-19 themed merchandise, including slogan T-shirts, TikTok, and influencer-centric fashion and T-shirts based on television shows and trends on social media.

Six-month-old online consumer brand Mojotrack has started production of Mahabharat and Ramayan-themed casual clothes which started gaining in popularity after the government decided to re-telecast these shows on state-run Doordarshan during the lockdown.

The company is also launching tees with slogans such as ‘Maintain Distance’, ‘Wash Hands’, and ‘Go Corona Go’.

The brand has been following social media trends to see what is popular among youth. It is now bringing in T-shirts themed around popular YouTube influencer Carry Minati.

“Youngsters are now preferring T-shirts over shirts and there has been a growing demand for themed T-shirts on domestic heroes during the lockdown from states like Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, and Maharashtra,” says Sachin Mishra, co-founder of Mojotrack, which sells through its website as well as e-commerce platforms like Amazon and Flipkart.

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