Big Western brands rush to court youth in India
Updated: 2015-11-06 07:50
By Agence France-Presse in New Delhi(China Daily)
Rifling through sweaters in India's first Gap store in a glitzy New Delhi mall, 21-year-old Ridhi Goel says her grandmother doesn't mind how she dresses, as long as it's not too revealing.
"She's fine with me wearing Western clothes like a shirt, but not jeans and a crop top," said the journalism student.
"All my family wears Indian clothes, but I find them too uncomfortable. I think maybe there is a generational divide," she said.
Most women in India still wear traditional dress, such as saris or shalwar kameez - but the picture is changing, and on city streets, dazzling silks now mingle with logo T-shirts and jeans.
Young people's appetite for Western clothing has led to a fresh flurry of foreign brands opening in India in the past few months, including US chain Gap and Sweden's H&M.
Others are expanding fast, including popular Spanish retailer Zara and British main street staple Marks & Spencer, which in October opened its 50th shop in India - its biggest market outside the UK.
Urbanization, a growing middle class, rising disposable income and one of the youngest populations in the world make India hard to ignore. "The time has come for Western wear to have exponential growth," said J. Suresh, the managing director of textile group Arvind Lifestyle Brands, Gap's partner in India.
Indian customers browse items in a multinational clothing outlet in New Delhi. Most women in India still wear traditional dress, such as saris or shalwar kameez, but that is changing. Chandan Khanna / AFP