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India Fashion Forum 2024: Let’s Make Fashion Business Great Again

As we gear up to welcome the 23rd edition of the India Fashion Forum on February 21-22, 2024, here’s a recap of what happened last year and a glance at the exciting lineup of speakers, events, and conferences lined up for this year.

Launched in the year 2000, IFF, India’s biggest fashion intelligence event, is a powerful blend of conference sessions, workshops, and master classes. Zoned exhibitions and industry awards mark IFF’s confluence of the biggest consumer trends, market intelligence, and retail innovation in the business of fashion in India.

IFF is renowned for opening to packed houses with leaders, key stakeholders, experts, and delegates, from across the fashion ecosystem gathering to discuss emerging trends including AI, seamless shopping experiences and the prospects of untapped Indian cities emerging as new markets and in generating new business opportunities in the dynamic fashion retail landscape of the country.

IFF 2024: CHAIRMAN’S MESSAGE

These are transformative times for the business of fashion. Consumer behaviour, digitalization, discounting impact, supply chain snags, and sustainability demands are challenging us. The larger ecosystem has started terming the fashion business as “difficult”, whereas it was seen a couple of decades back as an area of immense opportunity delivering secular growth. 

It is time we rethink, reimagine, and remodel our industry and become a great force again. It’s time to shake off what has been and give life to the next Golden Age of Fashion Creation. 

India Fashion Forum is the perfect destination to kick-start the necessary transformation. Over the 23 years since its birth, IFF has become a movement, a cause. It is a compelling calendar must-do for the whole industry. You need look no further than the most recent edition of IFF in 2023.  Over 700 brands, 200+ speakers, 1000+ delegates, and every single conference session houseful. Never before had I seen queues such as these for a business conference! IFF simply restated its identity as the country’s most powerful, compelling ideas destination for fashion businesses.

As Chair of India Fashion Forum’s 23rd edition on the 21st and 22nd of February next year, I am passionate about driving the elevation of the business of fashion in India to greatness. Join me on 21-22 February at the Conrad Bengaluru for India Fashion Forum 2024. We can make the Fashion Business Great Again.

~ Shailesh Chaturvedi, IFF Chairman, Industry Thought Leader & MD & CEO, Arvind Fashions ~

Inaugural Open House

The inaugural session will see fashion retail experts and leaders sharing their insights on the size of the Indian Fashion Retail market; key categories and their market share; emerging categories, scope and challenges; intelligence on key segments and retail formats; consumer shifts and evolving buying behavior; fashion categories, new entrants and key players in these categories and private label opportunities to name a few topics. 

Aside from this, fashion and lifestyle brands and retailers from across India will share crisp insights on the success formulas of collaborations. Some of these collaborations include: 

  • Exclusive Launch @ Retail Shelves: Launch of a new product/category /innovation/marketing strategy. 
  • Market Insights-Based Strategy: Offering based on consumer preferences and price points. 
  • E-Commerce Partnerships: Integration of online platforms facilitating the brand’s visibility and sales in the digital space. 
  • Adaptation to Local Markets: Tailoring offerings to suit specific regions or consumer segments effectively. 
  • Overcoming Supply Chain & Logistics Challenges: Synergizing mutual strengths to manage supply chain bottlenecks, optimize operations and ensure smoother product deliveries. 
  • Exclusive Retail Experiences: Unique in-store or online experiences. Pop-up shops, interactive displays, or immersive experiences within the retailer’s space to enhance consumer engagement and drive foot traffic. 

These insights aim to provide valuable guidance and understanding for brands and retailers alike and to help them make informed decisions, improve their strategies, and drive success in the competitive fashion and lifestyle market. 

The inaugural session will see two panels the first – Let’s Make Fashion Business Great Again – will discuss consumer behaviours, digitalization, discounting impact, supply chain snags, and sustainability demands that are sector challenges and disruptions. The session will also discuss solutions on how brands and retailers can rethink, reimagine, and remodel the industry and become a great force again in these transformative times, giving life to the next Golden Age of Fashion Creation. 

The second panel in the inaugural session – Beyond The Runway: Design Dynamics To Delivery Dynamics – will discuss how fashion has influenced consumer lifestyle and behaviour and has been one of the strongest drivers in motivating them to buy/shift to new products. The session will see a discussion around how the concept of fast fashion helped other categories, in particular personal electronics, to encourage consumers to move fast vis à vis trends. However, the new age concepts like Blinkit and Zepto are proving that it’s not just design dynamics but also delivery dynamics that can fast change the way people shop. 

The session will also look into the merits of the dark store model – powered by AI-led systems – which help with ordering, picking, packing, and delivery processes. 

This session, with the lessons learned and innovations pioneered, will offer valuable insights and strategies that can be explored for application in fashion retail channels.

The final panel – How Next-Gen Businesses Can Appeal To New Consumer Sensibilities? – will see a healthy debate on the fast-evolving Indian consumer, with enhanced expectations and lifestyle aspirations. In alignment with these shifts, a new generation of inventors and entrepreneurs is creating entirely new product categories, value-added basics and retail formats that are differentiated, need-specific, convenience-driven and carry immense promise of scale. The session and panelists will explore how India’s next-gen fashion business leaders are appealing to new consumer sensibilities in entirely out-of-the-box ways. 

IFF 2023: INAUGURAL SESSION RECAP

Fashion to grow upto 4x of what it is today, technology will be the biggest value creator: Saloni Nangia, President at Technopak, India 

At the 22nd IFF held at Bengaluru in 2023, Saloni Nangia, President at Technopak, India, had said in the inaugural session that the next 10 years see consumption doubling for the Indian economy. 

“The Indian economy was roughly about $ 3.5 trillion in 2022 and is expected to cross the $5 trillion mark in 2027. By 2031, the economy will hit $8 trillion. Every economy is driven by private consumption and in India, the share of private consumption is roughly $2 trillion out of $3.5 trillion. Of this $2 trillion, the current share of retail merchandise is $1 trillion and the rest goes to services,” she had stated.

The Retail Bucket: She said that $1 trillion in merchandise retail is expected to double, and fashion will become 3x or 4x of what it is today, be it in beauty, footwear, or jewellery. 

Key Shifts: The World’s largest road network leading to connectivity in urban, semi-urban, and rural areas; extensive mobile connectivity with approximately 750 million smartphones in the country; digital payments like e-Rupee and UPI; open network digital commerce are key shifts in enabling retail in the country and converging aspirations.

Markets: The per capita GST in India is $115. Maharashtra, Haryana, and Delhi’s per capita GST collection stands at about $260. While Gujarat and Karnataka, with 9% of the population and 16% of the GDP, stand at about $180 to $260. Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Telangana, and Uttarakhand are emerging and are expected to grow faster; they can be used in
planning for future growth, Saloni Nangia said. Digital, she said, will be paramount in promoting this growth.

The New Audience: Key shifts, coupled with the fact that 50% of Indians were born after 1995, make companies wonder what is Gen Z. “Born with a smartphone instead of a silver spoon, everything for them is digital. They are, of course, more environmentally friendly, self-confident, risk-takers, and entrepreneurial,” Nangia explained, further stating, “The fact that we have 360 million Gen Z, which is way larger than any other country, is really going to shape the next decade. This is the kind of audience we are going to deal with. This is really the reason why we are aiming at digitally enabled commerce or retail.” 

The Fashion Industry: In 2022, the market share of apparel stood at $65 billion, indicating, that over the years, what makes the fashion industry is no longer apparel. Almost all brands cover footwear, eyewear, accessories, smartwear, and beauty.

Technology – A Value Creator: Technology will be the largest value creator, Nangia said. “But it should be a part of the ecosystem; in organizations, in people, and the entire ecosystem, one is functioning.” In the game of technology, AI will be a disruptor, but it is generative AI that is generating a lot of interest, she observed.

Trends: Nangia also stated that the retail experience is no longer about life in metros; it’s beyond metros. This has resulted in the complete democratization of the retail experience.

“Many lines are getting blurred: there is no serious categorization of formal and casual, it’s more all-day fashion. Internationally, general and neutral come into play. Fashion is seasonless, ensuring that we don’t have too much inventory left. Green is the new black, mainly in Europe, with many parameters being introduced. Recycling and resale as a service is a trend.”

“Most importantly, slow fashion, high-quality products, and low volume have come into play. All these are going to become more important in the coming years,” Nangia concluded.

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