THE FUTURE OF FASHION
By Dilip Gianchandani
Country Manager, India,The Woolmark Company
“2018 was a great year for fashion and innovation, with many distinctive trends sprouting through the year.
One saw consumers wearing their favourite brands with logo-covered merchandise, floral prints in menswear, and eclectic headgear (fleece versions for winter too!). But, the trend that caught the eye of every fashion enthusiast across the globe is athleisure. People around the world, especially in India, have embraced the trend of sporting athletic wear outside of the gym. And it’s one trend that has encouraged fashion brands to create clothing lines that are an elegant amalgamation of luxury and functionality for a few seasons now—a challenge that many mastered and some missed. I see this trend taking centre stage in the near future. Sportswear is currently the fastest growing sector of the $1.7 trillion global textile business, and I’ve noticed designers beginning to use merino wool—a natural fibre that comes from Merino sheep—in their collection. Technological advancements in this fabric (like cool wool that can be worn in summer) has led to designers experimenting with wool in sportswear and even shoes. The two main attributes that people look for when buying athleisurewear is comfort and breathability, and scientific research has shown that merino wool is one of the most breathable for this use.
Another trend that’ll headline the future of fashion is sustainability. There’s already tremendous interest within the industry owing to the conversations in consumers and media. With every brand and individual becoming more conscious of their footprint on the world, people’s fashion choices are also falling in line with that. In this scenario too, wool, as a fibre, will be a forerunner. In contrast to other synthetic textiles, wool is natural and reacts to changes in body temperature by adjusting itself for the wearer’s comfort.
But the most crucial players for this industry in the years to come are the students. They’re not just a witness to the shifts in the industry, but will be key contributors of emerging trends in the next five years. In this age of social and digital media, students have access to knowledge from designers around the world. At the grassroot level, they’re imbibing this ethos to create their own brand sensibility. With The Woolmark Company’s Wool Runway asset, we’ve also seen the kind of futuristic, innovative ideas tertiary students have to offer. In our recent season, we saw them create brand new fabrics and come up with sustainable solutions that don’t skimp on the fashion quotient—they’re conceptualising garments that look fantastic on a runway and also in real life.”