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Adios 2018! – A post mortem of the best performing fashion categories

by Anjori Grover Vasesi

05-January-2019  |  8 mins read

Adios 2018

Certain categories have emerged as front runners for the current retailscape of the fashion industry, posing as a fertile ground for ambitious brands. In this section, we take a look at the most game-changing categories that have impacted the industry, keeping in mind their effect on the seasons to come…


No longer restricted to a particular holiday season, the demand for swim and beachwear is surpassing seasonal requirements and is instead translating itself as a more inclusive year-round market – thanks to the boom in frequent flyers.

According to data shared by Edited, the category has been growing at a moderate pace since 2010 and is set to cross US $ 20 billion globally, by next year. A lot of diverse factors come into play here – international travel is on an expedited rise, body positivity is a thing, and more and more people are adopting the fitness lifestyle. Furthermore, air travel is expected to boom in the next 20 years, with the global passenger count doubling to 8 billion travellers. The APAC region is poised to be the biggest driver here, making up half of those passengers.

This brings us to the impact of the fastest growing emerging markets of India and China, and the mega consumers: The millennials.

It is reported that 66 per cent of millennials hold passports and spend more than US $ 200 billion on vacations annually. With such huge figures at their disposal, even luxury brands and designers are rushing to get a piece of this pie by setting up pop-ups at the fanciest jet-setting locations all over the globe.

There is an enormous untapped retail scope beyond the obvious travel items – consumers are demanding more and more pieces of vacation-based clothing and leisure activities.


The appetite for sportswear’s sub-trends like athleisure, streetwear, athluxury and now performancewear has come to be seen as absolutely insatiable for consumers worldwide.

According to a research on the Global Sportswear Market, the projections suggest a strong growth of CAGR of 5.80 per cent from 2018-2023. It is clear that sportswear isn’t just big business, but is practically serving as the crutches for the fashion industry’s speedy recovery.

Looming closer home, this wellness trend is not wasted. Capitalising on an enormous population base, growing disposable incomes, a growing culture of casual workplaces as well as a rising consciousness for health, sportswear retailers have built a strong base in the country. Add to this the popularity of activities such as trekking, hiking, and yoga amongst the youth; there is a market for every type of activewear brand in the Indian subcontinent at present.

According to Euromonitor International, the Indian sportswear segment showcased a staggering 23.7 per cent CAGR from 2011-2016 while the forecast for 2016-2021 predicts 11.3 per cent growth (and looking at the landscape, it is clear that the future of this market is not limited to branded giants). Smaller brands are filling the gaps for more localised demands, working on indigenous issues like sizing and have a much quicker response rate or sensitivity to changing consumer lifestyles.


Valued between US $ 30 billion and US $ 40 billion globally, sleepwear has emerged as a major category. It cited 18.8 per cent growth last year – which perches it among other top categories, such as activewear (recording 18.2 per cent growth) and footwear (recording 15.9 per cent growth).

For 2018, transitional sleepwear – one that doubles as nightwear and loungewear, has posed as a competitive business opportunity for retailers and brands alike. The silhouettes shy away from traditional pyjama styles towards more structured pant style pieces, in fabrics such as cotton and satin – making comfort their focal point.

Opportunity is also ripe for the bridal sleepwear segment. Observing an upward curve online, the bridal nightwear category boasts of a market share boost of 4 per cent in the last two years.


Streetwear is fashion’s favourite buzzword at the moment. From heritage houses, fast-fashion brands to retailers and big-budget investors, everyone wants a bite of this by-product of the sportswear trend.

Globally, street fashion translates as youth culture in its truest form and youth culture sells! Its global mainstream dominance has democratised the entire fashion system.

Closer home, popular ‘street’ brands such as Noughtone, Sahil Aneja, HUEMN or Theorem, are on average not more than 5 years old. This means that while their work is covetable among those aware of the trend, it will take a long time for them to be at par with the current Indian fashion system dominated by ethnicwear designers. This means a huge head start for retailers and brands looking to enter this market – more so with numerous industry stalwarts incorporating street influences within their offering to give a fresh spin to their work.

There is no better germination ground for streetwear than in India, with 50 per cent of the population under 25 and about 65 per cent under 35.



After going through a period as distressed as the ripped jeans style, the denim industry is on an upswing. According to a report by P&S Market Research, jeans reached more than US $ 40 billion in global sales in 2016 and the denim market as a whole is expected to exceed US $ 87 billion by 2023.

The jeans category poses as double the size of leggings and bigger than categories such as blouses and coats. Data suggests that retailers are starting to refocus on their denim assortments by planning new releases. In Q3 2018, 42 per cent more denim products were reported as in stock as compared to their numbers at the same time last year. As a consequence of this, not only manufacturers, but designers as well are betting on denim revival.

Covetable streetwear brands such as Off-White and Vetements have paved a secure way for technical washes over reworked denim and patchwork styles, while mass-market labels such as American Eagle Outfitters Inc. set a record for volume last Fall, particularly for the teenaged consumer base.

There was a brief period wherein athleisure and comfort stretch overhauled the denim industry in 2015 and 2016, but post that, both luxury and mass markets have observed a huge uptick. Various denim manufacturers have started experimenting with new materials, thereby replacing cotton with nylon, polyester, aramid and other spun thermoplastic variations to meet demand and lower the cost of mass styles.

Gaining strength in 2017 and soaring through the early months of 2018, denim has enjoyed a good rebound – which also signals in new trends and eager shoppers.