The Midlife Crisis
I must have shared Mark Twain’s famous words regarding clothing in some earlier article. But, I am repeating it again as this phrase keeps coming back to my mind all the time. Twain said - “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.”
The power of these simple words is uncanny and I feel proud to be part of the fashion and clothing industry that makes a man a man. I notice it all the time - how people project themselves, to their target audience, with the help of their clothing. The successful as well as wannabes - actors, politicians, sportsmen, businessmen, et cetera use designers and stylists to help them create a wardrobe that matches with their public personas. The responsibility of helping the rest of us in doing the same falls on the shoulders of brands. But I am not sure whether many Indian brands are currently playing that role effectively for one of the most important segments.
The urge to capture the mindshare of younger consumers is making most of the brands miss the far more attractive and lucrative segment of not-so-young consumers. I am referring to the consumers, mainly men for the purpose of this article, in the age group of 45 to 55 years. These consumers are the same consumers who were between 25 and 35 years age group just 20 years ago when the clothing industry started to move from tailor-made to readymade clothing brands. So most of the Indian brands owe their success to this set of consumers. These are the consumers who were early adapters and are the ones who shunned the traditional way of dressing for the modern way. The generation after them was born when the market was already established and the readymade clothing had already taken its fair share. This new generation never experienced the joy or pain of going to a textile store, buying fabrics and coordinating it as per their own understanding of latest fashion and then going over to tailoring shop little away and give instructions to the tailor for the collar shape, number of pockets and buttons, et cetera, while the masterji measured them up one more time. These consumers in the age group of 45 to 55 years are now in the prime of their careers and are successful beyond their own imagination and have the willingness to spend with a wallet to splurge. But I don't see our fashion brands recognizsng this, as they all are busy repositioning themselves for the younger consumers. Even the mother or grandmother of all fashion brands in India Raymond these days uses models who are in their early twenties. I am all for catching them young, but I am not in favour of letting go of the loyal customers just because they are past that prime age for being fashionable.
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