INDIA: Dil Chahta Hai Short & Tight, Shirts

Short and tight shirts flying off the shelves after Aamir Khan wore them in last year's urban flick Dil Chahta Hai.

Among the apparel companies that tasted success with short body-hugging shirts were the AV Birla Group-managed Madura Garments and Indus-League Clothing Ltd. Madura's short shirts collection called Elements and Peter England's casual wear have done well. Indus-League's Indigo Nation brand saw its Chintz collection of short shirts reach customer wardrobes in record time.

"The short shirts with a slimmer silhouette has clicked very well with people below 25 years," says Mr Vasant Kumar, Vice-President (Marketing), Madura Garments. Incidentally, Indus-League had dabbled in short shirts before the Dil Chahta Hai days and met with dismal market response.

Looking back, industry observers feel that Farhan Akthar's box-office hit influenced apparel retailing in a significant way. Experts attribute this to the film's research and focus on the attire of its characters.

"It was in sync with the attitude of the urban youth, which the film was all about, and connected well with the movie goers," says Mr Sriram Srinivasan, Managing Director, Indus-League Clothing Ltd.

It didn't just stop with body-hugging shirts. The growing eveningwear segment has shown a distinct skew towards lustrous, shining apparel, especially in the leg-wear segment, heralding the arrival of synthetic clothing in the mainstream market.

The apparel companies now claim that retail chains such as Shoppers' Stop are prodding them to turn to synthetic clothing in a big way, eclipsing talks about the return of denim and the arrival of new-age fabrics such as tencel.

"The appeal of synthetic clothing is no more restricted to a niche wacky class. It is part of the mainstream. Moreover, what the young people wear today will be taken up by the older generation six months or one year down the lane," says Mr Srinivasan.

In fact, Madura's Mr Kumar says technological advances have made synthetic clothing more comfortable to wear. The company has come out with polyester-based synthetic collections like Lustretch for the eveningwear in the Louis Philippe brand.

While the industry debates Bollywood's influence, there are experts who have dubbed the increasing stock of short and tight shirts as part of the recurring fashion cycle. "It is, perhaps, a throw-back to the 70s' short shirts with long collars," they say.

There is little doubt that the Mumbai film industry's personality is even now felt mainly outside the formal and semi-formal segments that dominate the branded apparel industry. But suddenly there are more takers for it.

Interestingly, the film industry too is chipping in with its bit; Esha Deol's attire in Na Tum Jaano Na Hum that came under marketing attention is being cited as a case in point.

May 29, 2002

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Added: May 29, 2002
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