Clothes maketh half a woman, accessories rest

Clothes maketh half a woman, accessories rest
Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world.” Marilyn Monroe, you must agree, knew what she was talking about.

It is no secret that accessories are becoming more and more important in India. In fact, there have been several cases where they have even made a bigger splash than the clothes. Not surprisngly, many Indian designers are expanding their product portfolio by designing accessories as well. Accessory designing is already a full time course in most fashion colleges and a lot of students enrol in these courses.

The meaning of the word accessory has changed in a decade — bags, belts, watches, shoes, sunglasses and scarves are designed today way more innovatively, giving consumers a plenty to choose from, be it floral, kitsch or abstract. Innovative textures and textiles have taken accessories to a whole new level in India. Even our men have become conscious and look for statement pieces in belts, ties, shoes, watches and wallets. There are few manufacturers who even import Italian leather to make accessories of international standard. Designing accessories is more fun as it has fewer limitations as compared to clothes and over the years I have seen terrific designs on the runways. The significance of this industry is apparent when you consider the exclusive exhibitions being held.

One may debate about the business aspect of it — and, yes, it is a fact that this segment is still unorganised in India. Especially, with most buying being done on the streets than in stores.

Plagiarism is a cancer in India that still has no concrete chemotherapy. So, growth of any industry should not be downplayed because of this evil. The figures that have been revealed by a certain research agency shows that in 2013-14 the total turnover in accessory market was more than Rs 50 billion and it is expected to grow at a much rapid pace.

Apart from the rapid urbanisation in our country and organised retail, the emergence of ecommerce as a major sales point is cited as another big reason for the tremendous growth in this market. Ecommerce has not only eliminated the middle men in this industry, but has also given lot of start-ups motivation to enter this industry. The low price points of accessories make it more saleable through online.

I have always seen Indian fashion industry setting new benchmarks every year and I am sure this will be the case for accessories, too.

(The writer is a Delhi-based fashion designer)

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