Accessories have become prime attraction
The accessories market in India has evolved with men demanding more colour and style, and with women looking at something more than just what holds their keys and mobile, says Dilip Kapur, president of Indian leather goods manufacturer Hidesign.
"Accessories have moved base from function to prime attraction. You don't need suspenders or belts to hold up your pants anymore and you certainly don't need a pocket square to wipe your brows. The past 10 years have seen a healthy exchange between women and men's fashion," Kapur told IANS.
"Men now love more colour and more interesting shapes," he said adding that for women "bags are not seen just as necessities for carrying keys or mobiles anymore. Modern Indian women increasingly insist on handbags that express both their personality, sense of style and most important, the well-defined interiors."
There are options galore - and the idea behind it is to keep up with the changing lifestyle.
"Men's briefcases have become sleeker. Messengers and city bags are more prevalent as work wear gets more relaxed. Man-bags and totes have made a lasting impression with the stylish, urban male across cities. We create new styles every season and keep updating new shapes as the consumer's needs change. All our new city bags and messengers now come with iPod holders," said Kapur.
Hidesign was started in Auroville in Tamil Nadu in 1978. With as many as 84 exclusive stores and a distribution network in 23 countries as well as a strong online retail presence, it has a current turnover of Rs.150 crore (approximately $25 million).
The brand experienced a strong growth of 213 percent in e-commerce in the first half of 2013-14, and Kapur expects the online growth to be at least three-fold in the next two to three years, Kapur said.
The brand's quality lies in its handcrafted, natural bags, made from eco-friendly vegetable tanned leather, and it caters well to customers of both the genders. Women, especially, have become conscious about their choice of handbags as over the past decade, they have increasingly become a part of the working demographic.
"We see a demand for Hidesign bags for their work and day requirements. We have begun making laptop compatible bags and sleeves, while our new collection is iPad compatible.
"Our latest work wear collection presents a wide range of shoulder bags and totes, and some of our new styles have features like well-organised interiors, long handle drop lengths and beautiful combination leathers which makes them a smart option for the corporate look and perfect companion on transit and business trips," said Kapur.
The variety is an active response to the "lifestyle of young women". Depending on the occasion and age group, there are various handbag preferences and options for today's woman.
"Some prefer organized interiors with two to three compartments along with organizer pockets and inner zip pockets for which we have our work totes. There are cross bodies and long slings as all day options and party wear. On the other hand, our cosmetic day bags are perfect for those women who prefer large single compartments and goes well with casual attire.
"Increasingly, women on the move opt for cross bodies and sling bags that are comfortable to use throughout the day and at the same time look trendy. We have observed that while younger women like small shoulder bags or hand held clutches for evening outs, older women choose the practicality of a mid-size bag for daily use and larger bags for weekend trips," he said.
(Posted on 16-12-2013)