If philosopher and poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson would have been alive, he would have changed his well-known quote from ‘Men are what their mothers made them’ to ‘Men are what their grooming makes them’. With standards of male beauty evolving throughout the 20th century, we have reached a stage where coverage of the royal wedding called out Prince Harry for breaking the rules and keeping his beard for the wedding, albeit nicely trimmed and more closely groomed than he usually does. In fact, there was a lot of speculation in the media whether he would shave his stubble for the big day or not.
But beard or no beard, it is true that the male beauty revolution is upon us. Men’s grooming in India has witnessed a paradigm shift in recent years. Today, we have beard grooming products with beard oils and beard brushes, a category that was unimaginable a few years ago. According to an ASSOCHAM report, India’s male grooming industry is growing at a CAGR of 45 per cent and is estimated to touch Rs 35,000 crore by 2021.
Fuelling this remarkable growth is changing demographics and lifestyles, greater spending power, rising media exposure, greater product choice, a booming retail segment and wider availability. The growth is not restricted to the grooming industry alone. The male fashion accessories industry is also seeing a similar rising trend pushed by rising urbanisation and a younger population. Apart from cosmetics, today’s man is also looking to adorn himself with light-weight jewellery to make a statement.
Today’s contemporary multi-dimensional males tend to follow their Bollywood stars and cricket icons. Male consumers also tend to show a preference for platinum jewellery following celebrities like actors Irrfan Khan and Ayushmann Khurana and boxer Vijender Singh.
Pandering to the multi-dimensional man are other fashion accessories, the market for which is growing at 15 per cent to 18 per cent CAGR. The growth in wearable tech is another area contributing to the development of wearable tech accessories that are smart and stylish while integrating fashion and technology.
As the grooming and fashion accessories market matures, it is design which will play a critical role in understanding the rapidly changing and evolving needs of the consumer. And this requires deep insights and an understanding of the consumer.
Growing awareness and interest in Tier II and Tier III markets and burgeoning e-commerce platforms offer huge potential to introduce new products and bring the latest international fashion trends to the Indian consumer. And design will continue to play a leading role in meeting the challenge of maintaining the basic Indian ethos while keeping the fashion elements distinct, unique and timeless.
So what’s in right now?
Denim never really goes out of fashion, and while men are prone to go for darker shades, light wash denims is what is in vogue. More and more men are going for it and teaming it with dark coloured T-shirts.
If you think cropped trousers are only preferred by women, then you might be wrong. Men too like their trousers cropped and it serves as a nice way of flaunting a quirky pair of socks or some funky footwear.
Men love their watches, and this year, their investment to buy the one that would seem like an extension of their personality is very high. Men are not only spending more on watches but are also keeping an eye for vintage pieces.
Revathi Kant is the chief design officer with Titan Company Limited.