Resort wear may have originated for the wealthy clients of designers taking luxurious vacations to sunny and exotic locales during the dead of winter but over the last few decades has blossomed into so much more. No longer limited to inter-season, capsule collections – resort wear is now a full-fledged industry, the sole focus of many brands and designers, and available all year round.
In India, the market was always small and niche, with well-seasoned travelers supplementing their vacation wardrobes with pieces from their trips abroad. Post the pandemic, the Indian resort wear market has never been stronger or more exciting with it's offerings. From high-end established brands to small, independent designers, there’s a wide array of choices at all price points with new names popping up every month.
Goa has always attracted its fair share of international hippies, hipsters, and luxury seekers. Today it’s evolved into one of the hottest destinations for domestic tourists looking to plan getaways over long weekends. It’s no longer limited to the seasonal visits of foreign visitors and has become a year-round destination. And it’s not just Goa, the Indian traveler has re-discovered other beach destinations during the pandemic – from Alibaug to Kovalam and even smaller towns like Mangalore and Bekal. This has propelled the Indian resort wear market to new heights as dressing for the beach has become a major trend. Everyone wants to make the most of their vacations post-Covid and create as many special memories as possible – and dressing for the part certainly adds to it.
Previously shopping in Goa was limited to the famous night markets and a few high-end boutiques. Today the retail landscape has evolved with a huge variety of options – from restaurants tying up with brands to create cute boutiques within their space, multi-designers stores located in all the major tourist areas and markets of every kind on different days of the week – from local vintage to high-end, curated retail bazaars. A big focus is beachwear with swimsuits, cover-ups, and kaftans being the perfect impulse buys as one can wear them immediately. Offerings like co-ord sets, flowing maxis and fun printed shirts also do extremely well as these outfits can be worn back home and integrated into our normal wardrobes given India’s hot, tropical year-round weather.
It’s not just the tourist beach towns focusing on resort wear – online shopping platforms are also seeing a huge surge in this segment. People are excited to travel again, dress up and take great photos and planning a vacation wardrobe has never been more important. Even wedding shopping portals have realized the importance of having a resort wear vertical for all the honeymoon planning which is a fun respite for many from the stress of wedding shopping. Instagram has also been a strong growth avenue, with many brands focusing all their marketing efforts and spending on this one platform.
India has always had the capability of creating beautiful resort wear with many high-end brands such as Love Shack Fancy and Free People manufacturing a bulk of their designs in India – making the most of our high-skilled labor and embroidery techniques. Now with domestic demand growing, this segment is set to boom with innovation, sustainability, and affordability becoming key aspects of the industry.