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The Indian Consumer: Apparel Clothing Involvement
In the article, “How Cosmopolitan are Indian Consumers?: A Study on Fashion Clothing Involvement,” published in 2013 author Arpita Khare explores the possible opportunities that await clothing manufacturers and retailers targeting the Indian consumer. Khare has chosen to focus this study on a country rich with culture and tradition. As one of the notable BRICS nations, India boosts a large population, a thriving economy and spends a substantial amount of money on luxury fashion apparel. And yet, there is still much to be discovered about the Indian consumer’s involvement in fashion. This study attempts to shed a light on this particular consumer in part by addressing the effect that cosmopolitanism has on their choices for apparel.
At first read this article presents the Indian consumer much like any other fashion consumer from many given countries, even western countries. For example, Khare notes in regard to the Indian consumer “…new money is purchasing luxury clothing as a symbol of wealth and status.” So what makes the Indian consumer so different from other consumers in other countries? One difference is the dichotomy of this consumer’s fashion choices. According to this study Indian consumers carefully balance their taste for luxury fashion with the need to be accepted within their social environment. Although this may be said for other countries and cultures, India is unique in this regard.
The Indian consumer is cosmopolitan. This consumer is open to the influence of other cultures as it desires to be regarded as a sophisticated country by the global community. However, this study shows the importance Indians place on tradition and culture, and this is what makes the Indian consumer so interesting. A good example of this is the popular Bollywood emergence influenced by the famous Hollywood in Los Angeles. This is an illustration of how cultural influence works in India. India accepts the influence but merges it with Indian’s own unique culture. Much like Hollywood’s influence on India’s entertainment industry, the study shows that the Indian consumer has a distinct openness toward global fashion brands, but wants to make them their own.
However, age may be a factor. Not surprisingly, Khare’s literature review shows that younger Indian consumers are more cosmopolitan than older Indian consumers. Unfortunately the ages of the participants in this study are relatively young, 18-40, so the findings in the study cannot confirm the findings in the review. It is interesting to note that many refused to participate in the study so, one has to wonder if it was the older population that declined. Does this say something about the Indian culture?
In conclusion, understanding the Indian culture is the key to success for apparel companies longing to tap into this potentially lucrative market. Presenting this consumer with luxury fashion clothing styles while honoring the Indian collectivism tradition will most likely bring the most success. Of course, this is easier said than done, but considering the global sensation of Bollywood; if that unique balance is found, the fashion consumption of the Indian consumer may surprise everyone.
Discussion Question Choices:
Discuss how India’s collective culture influences the Indian consumer’s fashion clothing involvement.
Using both the current article findings and previous literature, what changes have occurred globally to cause the Indian consumers to be more cosmopolitan?
Considering the success of international food chains in India, what are the factors or strategies required to make international apparel brands a success? Please use specific reasons and elaborate them accordingly.
India is considered to be the global leader of IT, yet they do not accept modified clothing. Discuss using references to support your opinion.
Can anyone else provide examples of how global fashion is currently influencing India and how Indian fashion is influencing global fashion trends?
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