The demand graph for organic clothing was on a high since the last 5-8 years. However, with home ruling our lives and the ‘new normal’ overtaking our lifestyles, we all started to adjust with the comfort clothing. That actually pulled up the demand for sustainable and organic make. But catering to the concerns of the customers, will wearing organic apparel and intimatewear become a norm from now on?
“Yes, we have definitely seen that at present most of our customers are concerned regarding where their products are made and what it is made of. As a brand, we have always been focused on certain aspects of the product that have resonated with our target market such as the sustainability of the materials used in underwear, and the hygiene aspects around the product. We have seen a positive growth of our business during the last few months. This is mainly attributed to the fact that we are digital-first and we were able to service our customers at a time when they were not able to purchase apparel at physical retail stores. And secondly, due to our product offering that is targeted towards lounging and staying comfortable at home,” said Gaurav Durasamy, Co-founder, Tailor & Circus.
Investment on organic clothing going up
Manufactured using Tencel™ Micromodal, which is far superior in terms of comfort and performance, Tailor & Circus intimates are finished with a 100 per cent heavy metal-free Bio Wash (Fresche) that actively fights bacteria and microbes for a minimum of 33 washes. The brand, a recent entrant into the conscious lingerie and intimatewear segment, is following strict sustainable approaches. “We started Tailor & Circus about 4 years ago when we noticed a large gap in the market, which was the inability to find great underwear at affordable prices with easy accessibility. So we spent almost 12-15 months studying different fabrics which would suit the local temperate weather and comfort, and a product which offered the best experience in terms of fitting.
“We also noticed that all underwear and fashion brands today (both in India and internationally) have a very one-dimensional perception of beauty, who use only international, fair-skinned and ‘fit’ models which is seen in the brand’s imagery and advertisements. We truly believed this is not something that should be a precedent for Tailor & Circus, as our underwear is meant to be worn by anybody and everybody, and we should have a chance to decide what beauty means to each one of us,” said Abhishek Elango, Co-founder, Tailor & Circus.
The brand’s body-positive and inclusive marketing was received very well by the consumers. Commenting on the increasing pocket size for customers when it comes to shopping for organic and conscious wear, Gaurav mentioned, “It has certainly increased over the last few months. We have always been a digital-first, direct-to-consumer brand, and we were in a good position to scale during the pandemic due to the challenge faced by customers to purchase their products at physical retail outlets. Our numbers were always underlined by the fact that we had chosen to sell direct from our factory, on our website in order to continue to use the highest grade materials, while keeping the price affordable, but this has increasingly become something that works for us as people are recognising the value in choosing better underwear.”
Also Read: Reaching out to customers in the new normal
Consciousness towards organic clothing increasing
People have become very conscious of what they buy, what they wear and what they choose. When asked how this trend may have affected the buying patterns, Neerja Lakhani, Founder, Inner Sense, mentioned, “Safety has been the macro-trend driving sales for products that are anti-microbial. Inner Sense being the pioneer in anti-microbial innerwear has seen growth across the entire width of the product line. Also, the COVID-19 impact has accelerated the ‘go local’ trend, and that has given a boost to sales.”
“The path to sustainability continues to gain importance, as consumers navigate the post-COVID-19 world. In fact, an eco-conscious mind-shift will be seen in action instead of in mere thought process. I foresee it will become even more relevant, as consumers will recognise it as a functional ingredient of the product rather than a specialisation. Apart from pent-up demand due to lockdowns, the fear of venturing out to bricks-and-mortar stores has had a positive impact on e-commerce across categories, especially essentials. Innerwear falls under the essentials category for apparel. Being a digitally native brand, Inner Sense has seen sharp growth in sales over the past couple of months. Also, there has been a shift in values, and that has had an impact on shopping behaviours. There’s one more reason leading consumers to pay attention to their innerwear – the hand-feel of the product, uplifting colours are mood-boosting apparatus,” Neerja further stated.
India’s first organic and health-focused lingerie brand, Inner Sense has been providing anti-microbial, odour-free, anti-fungal and organic innerwear for women. Their fabric is more suitable for tropical climate and they are uniquely offering organic lingerie along with fashion forward styling. Retailing mostly through their online portal and social handles, Inner Sense is available in some MBOs too in the Delhi-NCR region.
Becoming more responsible and conscious with kids clothing
“For kidswear, I think that the pandemic has encouraged more people to choose local brands that have a story. Moms have much more time now, as they are scrolling through social media to read about, follow and try new brands across all categories. So this has encouraged many to move from the earlier massive shopping sprees at fast fashion brands to thoughtful, fewer purchases from boutique brands like mine. Everything is online, everything is equally accessible. So in that sense, it’s a level playing field now,” said Neha Garodia, Founder, Mi Dulce An’ya.
With an aim to champion the organic cotton for kidswear, Neha began her journey with her brand in January 2013. Over the years, struggling through many questions and good feedback, finally the brand has become a closet favourite for parents. But she counts her sales through the online space are still not ready to go offline. In the pre-pandemic world, Neha was in the process of opening the brand’s flagship store in Kolkata. But through the online presence also, the brand has been able to create its footprint in many countries.
So how far has the pandemic contributed to or slated Mi Dulce An’ya’s growth? “I think once you make the swap up, it’s hard to go back. True for all things in life. Your child gets used to the feeling of super soft organic cotton, thoughtful, comfortable designs, and small touches like customisation with their name. If you try to go back to fast fashion, it’s not going to work! So for those who have started buying from us recently, I feel the trend of buying conscious clothing will definitely carry on. Sales have luckily remained strong. What has changed is the product mix; we find children’s loungewear and night suits (predictably) as our biggest growth drivers now as compared to earlier. Also, our pretend play toys segment. And both make sense, given babies and children are home all day!”