Fashion in India is held within the dogma of traditional to a greater extent. And through the passing of time, the Indian designers have broadly worked towards defining the same with a more contemporary and modern twist. But sadly lingerie has ever found its place within the design map of India. The few who have worked to define lingerie with some twists have been absorbed by brands to create/add designer elements to their brand’s basic design policies or have gradually shifted to resort or loungewear to become relevant in the fashion map.
Many prominent names shy away from the discussion that revolves around lingerie and still love to stick to their lingerie shopping spree outside India. Fashion schools does not necessarily categorise lingerie designing as a separate entity within their module, and students do refuse to adapt this niche path owing to the lack of future prosperity. But then who will bring about a change within the lingerie industry in the time to come? Who will carry the baton of design on their shoulders to bring about a change within the broader spectrum of the lingerie industry? Addressing this question mostly leads to a zone wherein many brands will speak in unison regarding the absence of conceptuality and technicality in the basic framework of the workings of designers as a whole. Yet there are many, who are ready to design exclusive lingerie lines to woo women in style! But can there be a middle ground too? Let’s hear it from the experts.
SANDEEP GOENKA- CEO Wacoal India Pvt. Ltd.
Holding on to the position of CEO for Wacoal India Pvt. Ltd. Mr. Goenka handles a commendable team under him dedicated to establish the firm feet of the 30 years old Japanese Lingerie brand in India. With prominent stores at posh locales, Wacoal in India is already a prominent name and have gain immense popularity among women who wear their attitude with comfort. Mr. Goenka had pioneered the entry of this stylish Japanese brand into the Indian shores and have since then mentored the growth with close watch, visioning growth in the time to come. He describes how an apparel as intimate as the lingerie deserves special care in its moulding stage that truly goes beyond just styling yet encompasses fashion intakes too.
Lingerie plays an integral part of the women’s clothing. The same brings out confidence in her and adds comfort to her wardrobe. It is called intimate for a reason and is the closet garment to the most sensitive parts of the her body.
Therefore, at Wacoal we believe comfort is the key. Comfort rules as a primary must have in a lingerie. But lingerie is not always a daily ensemble and plays an important role on occasions too. Wearing the perfect lingerie for every occasion or celebration in your life too demands the correct fit, but in style. Hence aesthetics play a vital role while a brand sits down to design a collection.
But majority of the experimentation done is not on aesthetics but on other factors like R&D, technology, fabrics and fitting. The core collection for Wacoal still remains focused on providing comfort and perfect fit to the customer, rather than completely switching attention to designer elements or completely going designer with uncomfortable accessories and adding on to the discomfort of the women as a whole . But of course we do have a range of occasion wear lingerie which is designed to appeal more aesthetically. But certainly with comfort. So designing a lingerie with a wholesome intent of just designing will never serve the purpose, and will not help a brand to gain trust.
RAJINIKANTH REDDY- Chief Design at Lovable Lingerie Limited
Rajinikanth Reddy, has been minutely paying attention to the little design details of lingerie and have been through the last 11 years taken up the significant task of Lingerie & Sportswear design at Lovable Lingerie Limited. His keen interest towards the intimate apparel industry comes out clearly through the collections he designs and the motivation he adds to each piece of lingerie coming out from the brand’s umbrella. With a fashion design degree from NIFT, Rajinikanth has a more clear idea of being in trend yet never missing out the technicalities for once. His ideas are crafted methodically and so is his opinion.
“Lingerie is not a game”. Most of the new designers & brands who launched with so many dreams might have understood this point till now.
A dreamer-designer may not fit in this industry. He or she should be skilled enough to bring an idea to reality with the knowledge in pattern making & practical enough to sculpt it to mass production friendly. No lingerie brand going to survive here without a production unit of themselves. And no lingerie designer can succeed without a sampling unit in hand. ‘It’s simply this practical.’
The walls are getting vanished. There are consumers who stick to the same style for years but, the younger generation tries to surf if she can find something new every time she enters a mall or a shop. So, we cannot bore them with same styles for years now. We need to present them new trends, but at the same time we should not miss the sophistication. Experiments are good, but fascination doesn’t work. The key point is Bra should make her look beautiful, at the same time we should not compromise on the fit.
It’s more a Concept than Design in this industry. In 90’s basic-everyday style was a cut-n-sew bra. In the next decade, it was a molded bra, now a padded or T-shirt bra is considered to be a basic bra. So, we cannot say industry has not changed. It’s changing according to the needs and lifestyle of consumer, but in very calculative manner.
There is a contradicting scenario here. Indian price sensitive market is not ready to accept highly stylized lingerie in a larger quantity. These styles are not earning money to the brands, but these collections are the face of any brand in large format stores. So we have to design theme based collections every season. But, ultimate bread and butter are basic styles only. So, we pay the same attention to the basic styles also as any highly stylized garment. Its like, we need to attract the customer and increase the brand appeal with high fashion garments but, earn the revenues by selling basic everyday-wear styles.
NANDKUMAR BADLANI- Owner, MD, Nand Badlani Group of Companies
A leader, visionary and innovator Mr. Badlani has been seeing change eye to eye, much before the same was ready to take over the industry. From launching swimwear, at a time when the industry was still not so aware of the same to giving you to the firsts in terms of ‘Minimiser bra’, Mr. Nand Badlani has walked through all these developments for his brand Softy and Enkay. But his individual experiences span beyond this and actually encompasses his being a part of the industry for more than 40 years. He has seen the lingerie industry grow in from its nascent stage and have not only witnessed the changes at every level but have pioneered a few most significant ones too. Adding to the expertise and experience, he is also a designer in his own right, his opinion is certainly filled with his remarkable insights on the industry.
Lingerie is definitely a designer’s game. The designer certainly play a very big role in the lingerie industry. But the designs are created keeping in views the needs of the women. The designer should know what the women want and what they want to buy. Fitting, comfort and style are the three pillars of a good lingerie brand and a designer for the lingerie industry is expected to understand these vital practical points before committing to any style staple.
Fitting plays an extremely important role in the conceptual stage and every designer is expected to follow the lead resting their pivot on a fair balance of comfort tied up with style. A true designer is the one who can design some excellent pieces which are trendy and attracts the women but are equally marvellous when it comes the comfort the same offers. He/she cannot be biased towards any one dimension solely but have to certainly focus on every aspect with equal prowess.
So following different routes and concepts that differs along with every type of outerwear has become more a need of the hour and women want to team up their best fitting tees and Indian wear with the right lingerie. Being a designer myself I know to what extent good conceptualisation goes and it is high time that the designers understand the worth of ‘true designing’ and come forth to implement better styles and patterns in lingerie. There is immense scope within the industry and is high time people should embrace it with open arms and positivity.
MEGHANA NYAYAPATI- Lingerie Designer
Meghana has stayed in New York for the last 3 years and have studied and worked there as a lingerie designer for almost an year. During her stay in New York she has been closely associated with several big fashion brands and have significantly worked on several collections. She has just returned back to India this August. And is presently working her way to research and finally come up with her own lingerie brand in India within a few months. She is very fond of laces and other delicate fabrics and I’m currently researching the Indian market to understand the same.
She admits that she is no big name until now, but her being a lingerie designer and taking up the responsibility to bring about a change within the industry with her design aesthetics is already a big thing in itself. Amidst her research work she shared her pertinent concerns with us for our topic of discussion.
Choice of clothing in India has undergone a significant evolution in the recent time. Clothing is no more about broad categories like ethnic, indo-western and western wear. People shop for niches like club wear, sports-wear, and evening wear. Women are more comfortable with experimental styles such as body hugging dresses, off shoulder outfits, draped gowns, etc. These changes have given rise to a technical demand for lingerie styles like thongs, g-strings and bras in padded, unpadded, underwired and wireless options.
The lingerie market segment in India can be divided into mass market, mid-market, premium and super premium. The mass market brands usually offer basic styles, monochrome colors and comfortable materials. Among a majority of Indian families, discussing lingerie is considered a ‘taboo’ even today. Lingerie is treated as a necessity and not as a subject of personal choice as clothing is. This mindset makes it difficult for consumers to experiment with newer styles, cuts, fabrics or colors.
But an increased awareness about better brands, fit and quality due to the entry of international lingerie brands in the Indian market backed with adequate social media marketing has stirred a change. This change in consumer attitude and demand has also encouraged local brands and designers to push their boundaries. They are continuously aiming at offering collections with feminine colors and intricate detailing like embroidery and embellishments with crystals, frills and lace. Exotic fabrics like silk, velvet, satin and French lace are getting increasingly popular as the modern woman wants to feel comfortable and luxurious at the same time. With the women attaining a more conscious state and getting choosy, the same has certainly opened up a challenge for the lingerie designers today, who are striving to create products that are sensitive to individualistic needs and taste of women. This is because designers and brands see a huge scope in terms of the number of takers as well as economic growth through market share of lingerie as a segment.
The luxury/designer lingerie segment, though still in its infancy, is a fast growing segment in India and is definitely a designer’s game in the near future.