Wedding, the day two souls and two families get tied together in an everlasting bond. The day when they promise to stay together till eternity and thereafter. Undoubtedly, this day has to be as special and victorious as it can get and the families involved leave no space for any kind of mistake that could disgrace this lavish event.
The Indian wedding industry is worth $50 million and is expected to grow by 25%. Out of 1,00,000 crores spent on Indian weddings, almost 10,000 crores account for the expenditure done on the wedding attires. No Indian designer would afford to miss their hands on such a lucrative market.
Traditionally, the beginning of October marked the commencement of the festive period. Especially the nuptials, simply because the pleasant weather allowed the family members to adorn their heavily designed attires with ease and permitted the guests living abroad to attend the event. But now, with the changing mindsets and millennials taking charge of their wedding, this tradition is being replaced by a year-round wedding saga. Resulting in 10 million weddings a year.
The wedding is usually a three to five days luxurious affair, in which not just the bride and the groom but every guest takes part with gusto. The practice of everyone dressing up magnificently has now become a custom and has given a great boom to the fashion industry. Colors have been greatly attached to each different aspect of the wedding and customizing outfits according to that has eventually been transformed into a tradition. Dresses play an integral role in wedding rituals.
The generation today is under the heavy influence of social media which makes weddings look like a palatial event. The impact of Bollywood weddings is also long felt by the wedding-fashion industry. From Deepika Padukone to Priyanka Chopra, and from Sonam Kapoor to the heiress of the Ambani family ‘Isha Ambani’, each one of them adorned elegant pieces from the popular designers around the globe and made lasting impacts on the spectators with their exquisite outfits and intricate jewelry. As a result of which, every bride now wants to wear a Sabyasachi or a Manish Malhotra on their memorable day.
Indian weddings are a way to showcase one’s social repertoire and the affluent families are always in a competition to outdo the other. Even the people belonging to the middle segment, take pride in accumulating all their wealth to spend on the wedding of their beloved child, and beyond the shadow of a doubt understand the role that clothes and jewelry play to mark the event complete. Therefore, they are ready to expend an amount as hefty has 1 Lakh on the wedding dresses.
These facts have not been hidden by the famous Indian designers and this lucrative wedding market has compelled a lot of them to shift their focus completely to Haute couture from ready to wear. The designers like Sabyasachi and Tarun Tahiliani, Anamika Khanna, Sandeep Khosla- Abu Jani and many more in the league, have established their boutiques in different parts of the country geared especially towards the bridal wear.
The designers, designing for the brides of today, are aware of the fact that today’s woman knows her identity and carries her attitude with gratification. They do not dress up on their special occasion just to look good, but to feel good. They believe in adorning attires that accentuate their personality and express to the thousand eyes longing to watch the “Dulhan”, who she is. Gone are the days when brides walked down the aisle with a conscious smile and shyness in eyes. The brides of today carry their attitude and identity along when they enter and the designers must have that in mind.
Sabyasachi Mukherjee, the famous designer who amalgamates Indian traditions, craftsmanship, and ethnicity and brings garments that leave people awestruck to the table. The designer, the designs of whom is a dream of many Indian girls, brings out the best in the bride through his outfit. His quintessential bride is someone, who is confident about art and craft and is self-assured. The designer very soon realized the benefit in venturing into the wedding-fashion and shifted all his attention to it from the ready to wear market. The designer, whose range starts from Rs.29000 for sarees and Rs.1 Lack for lehengas, recently pioneered his way into the bridal jewelry segment. A glimpse of Sabyasachi’s love for brides and bridal wear can be seen in his show “Band Baja Bride”. The show revolves around the royal designs of the celebrated designer and the brides who feel charmed being styled by him.
The bride of Tarun Tahiliani, another well-known designer, is someone who blends glamour with the bride’s personality. “I am tired of hearing how the most expensive couture clothes in India are so uncomfortable that brides weep because they are miserable and cannot walk,” says Tarun Tahiliani, who focuses on ornamenting an outfit that does not weigh the bride down with kilos.
The recession-proof industry has even lured international designers to venture into the Indian wedding industry, after designing footwear for Sonam Kapoor’s wedding, the London based brand, Jimmy Choo identified the potential in the industry and offers brides a bespoke experience of adding the initials or wedding date on the footwear. Another bespoke luxury brand, Canali, also celebrates its profitable nawab collection from 2018 inspired by the styles of Maharaja.
Another famous brand, Christian Louboutin along with Sabyasachi Mukherjee embellished Priyanka Chopra’s wedding wedges to draw similarities with her outfit. Following the trend, the French brand now has a wedding suite in Mumbai, specially curated to customize accessories which are then given the final touch in their Paris atelier.
The most recent entry was made by Condé Nast, the publisher of Vogue magazine. It introduced the Vogue Wedding Company, a customized advisory service, connecting the families and vendors from the wedding industry to help them make manifold decisions for this opulent event.
The advantage of this lucrative market has not only been enjoyed by the splendid designer but has been well realized by the local players, who are also stepping their game up. Catering to the middle segment and understanding their yearning for the designer outfits, they offer counterfeits of such designs to them at a much affordable rate, satisfying both the aesthetic and the monitory needs of the customer. The majority of the population belongs to the middle segment in India, thus, understanding their desires and limitations is the key to growing the business. It is the middle class that grows and converts to luxury buyers.
The wedding and the fashion industry have developed a symbiotic relationship and has seen tremendous growth. Indian designers are the only ones who profit from haute couture rather than the ready to wear market, and this trend is here to stay.
This amalgamation of the industries has created a win-win situation for both and has a long way to go.