A Sea Change in ‘Attitude’

If there is one thing that has really undergone a big change in this pandemic – it is the style and perhaps even the size of the weddings. From a time where people used to invite almost ‘every Tom, Dick and Harry’ to showcase the achievement of their lifetime, weddings have now become an intimate, family-only affairs with classy dresses. Shailaza Singh delves into this aspect of pandemic fashion with some interesting results.


Intimate weddings- More Classy than Massy!


“India has always been a land of occasions, weddings and festivities,” says Pallavi Jaipur. “Weddings have now become more intimate and classier. Now the brides and grooms are investing in clothes which are classy and timeless and can be reused in multiple ways rather than just the trend of the current season.”


Sunil Sethi says that he has observed a new trend that has emerged in this pandemic. “The budgets may have gone down for the ready-to-wear segment, when it comes to couture, people are looking for even finer clothing. In the first phase of the pandemic, the budgets went down. For example, someone who could afford a lehenga worth five lakh rupees originally was happy in something which was about half the price because the weddings were more intimate and the rest of the people (except for the bride who I agree had to be dressed in her Sunday best) weren’t spending much even if they were one of the fifty invited for the wedding. However, the bride, bridegroom and their parents continue to buy the finest clothes from the Indian designers. No wedding is complete without some body buying designer wear for the ceremonies. Interestingly, these days, people in the high-net-worth category have upped their budget, which means that they are going for finer pieces as they have plenty of time to plan. Most weddings have now been postponed for a longer period which is going to be probably November or January. Naturally so they are being pickier. FDCI will also be doing a couture week in August so that people can pick and choose from the new collections.”


Raghavendra Rathore, believes that now weddings are becoming a classier and more elegant affair with the designer wear following suit. “Till the time we really get out of this pandemic created mess, weddings I believe will be more intimate and elegant. Naturally, the buyers will gravitate towards more personalized, classic and sophisticated designs which will allow them to recycle their wedding outfits for other occasions in the days to come.”


Rajesh Pratap believes that there are two kinds of consumers. “Some people have learnt from the past and are now organizing quieter weddings and keeping a low profile. However, there are those who have not learnt their lessons and are still splurging and hosting crazy weddings. In a way, this is all a bipolar reaction from the consumers.”


Twirling Sarees
Interestingly, saree seems to have become the ultimate ‘rediscovery of the pandemic’. Many people have gone treasure hunting in their own wardrobes to return with long forgotten sarees and tons of creativity. Neeta Mohapatra explains, “the evolution of the saree is what I call creativity at its best. People are now wearing it as Roman robes at home while some are making comfy skirts out of it!”
Ashima Parnami seconds the thought. “Saree has always been in vogue regardless of the times. The very versatility of saree, especially the chiffons and cottons has made people experiment with it amidst this pandemic!”

Deep Wardrobe Diving
Speaking of recycling, the other day, I was having a video chat with my friend Smitha who is somewhat of a fashionista and lives in Mumbai. She was wearing a white kurta with a scarf and the whole effect was quite classy. I complimented her on her style and asked her if this was a new addition to her wardrobe. She smiled and said, “This kurta is quite old. When I was looking at sorting out my clothes this pandemic, I discovered a lot of pieces that I can really wear well with accessories.”


Neeta Mohapatra believes that recycling has become the new trend in vogue where people can not only look good in their old clothes but save money! “Recycling of old clothes is a big trend. For example, styling a plus size kurta with a belt and shoes can actually be a statement because it can be made to look like a shirt dress or a kaftan.”
Sunil Sethi agrees. “People have rediscovered their wardrobe as in they have so many clothes that they haven’t worn for a number of years. They have been able to reassess their wardrobe, understand the new things that they need to buy if at all or have enough in their own wardrobe that they should be wearing. People are only buying what is absolutely necessary for them.”


Rohit Kamra has also observed the change when it comes to people shopping for new clothes. “There has been a paradigm shift in the buying patterns. People have now developed a sudden interest in their wardrobes. Come to think of it, most of us have decent wardrobes. We mostly buy not because we need the clothes but because the buying feeds our psyche in a way. Nevertheless, we have seen cases of revenge buying, especially in countries like Europe and America where the pandemic no longer seems to be a threat as a result of the mass vaccinations.”


Revenge Rages


Neeta Mohapatra is of the opinion that there are different categories of people when it comes to shopping for new clothes. “Some people are shopping online, left right and centre even during the pandemic. In fact, the online purchasing has grown by 51% since the last year especially in India according to an Economic Times report. Women are hoarding jewellery and clothes. Now people want to live for today since no one knows what is going to happen tomorrow. Even I have been shopping to my heart’s content. I have a baby girl and I love shopping for her too. Some people don’t shop because they say they have nowhere to go and hence no need to shop for anything fancy.”


Rajesh Pratap says that the phenomenon needs to be observed for some time before we can actually term it as revenge buying. “There are people buying clothes and accessories. However, I can’t say whether this revenge buying is here to stay or not. We would need to wait and observe before we can think about judging these trends. Accessories have taken a big hit because there are no lunches or cocktails to go to so why would you buy that crazy bag? However, will you not buy it ever in your life? I can’t say! Gifting is still happening but not that much.”


Ashima Parnami can hardly wait to shop offline! “I have been dying to shop and have visited many stores as the lockdown has been lifted. For me, I am not a very online person when it comes to clothes. I need to touch and feel the fabric before I can think about buying it. I can buy bags online but clothes are definitely best bought offline!”


Sunil Sethi feels otherwise. “These days, there is a lot of talk about revenge buying. Many people have been saying that those who have lacked a certain thing now have no qualms about purchasing it whether it is cosmetics or affordable products or entertainment. Personally, I don’t believe in this revenge buying phenomenon because I feel that as a result of the pandemic, now most people have been able to gain an understanding about what they have and what they need. Now, I don’t think we will see the trend of shop till you drop anytime soon. I guess we will see revenge buying in people buying the best insurance policies or the most profitable returns in investments or new ventures in the equity market. The revenge buying may happen in people planning a second home somewhere in a place where life will be safer for them if an event like this ever happens again. That is where I see a lot of money going. People will be happy to get rid of acquisitions, assets, properties that they no longer need in their lives and concentrate on the present.

This article was published in Rashtradoot’s Arbit section on 15 July 2021.

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