Menswear comes of age with first India fashion week

NEW DELHI, September 10, 2009 (AFP) – India is set to host its inaugural men’s fashion week from Friday, which observers say is a long overdue nod to a growing and lucrative market often overshadowed by women’s clothes. The event in the capital New Delhi hopes to capture the interest of India’s millions of young males, many of whom have traded in traditional cotton outfits for shop-bought shirts and trousers.

Menswear currently accounts for around 80 percent of brand-name sales in India, according to the Fashion Design Council of India, which is organising the shows in partnership with global apparel giant Van Heusen.

Yet the two most prominent showcase events in India — Lakme Fashion Week in Mumbai and Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week in New Delhi — have previously dedicated only a tiny portion of their shows to men’s clothes.

Smaller shows, such as this week’s Kolkata Fashion Week in eastern India, generally follow the same trend.

“Menswear has always been the stepchild of Indian fashion,” said Shaan Thadhani, a fashion buyer who runs a boutique in south Delhi.

Conventional tailored clothes will never go out of style, he said, but increased purchasing power and an influx of high-st