The joy of staying inside gave birth to one of the most unstoppable fashion trends that the industry has seen so far — kick ass loungewear. What’s the future of loungewear, and where is the trend headed? We find out.
Necessity is the mother of all invention, the pandemic has shown. The lockdowns proved that staying in is much better than unnecessarily going out. It might sound like bad news for the fashion industry, but the rise of loungewear is legit.
The boom of loungewear is nothing but a story of how a humble pair of joggers became a part of comfort clothing while attending long work-from-home meetings, bingeing TV shows, and DIY everything. Brands that were on the verge of losing everything came back from the dead with collections to cash in on with this booming opportunity. Since then, the loungewear curve is only moving upwards.
“The pandemic has made people rediscover the joy of shopping from the comfort of their homes. It has accelerated the rise of demand in the loungewear category. The category, a part of the essential fashion segment, has grown by 300 per cent in the last year, and promises to gather more steam. This indicates a strong consumer intent in these segments, since the pandemic. Products that are comfortable, easy to wear, durable, and have multi-purpose utility have grown in prominence. Trends like co-ord sets colour blocks, solid tapered lounge pants, flared bottoms, and side stripes have been driving this growth. There also has been a growth in demand for value-added finishes for better hygiene and comfort,” says Myntra’s spokesperson.
Yogesh Kabra, the founder and CEO of XYXX Apparels, thinks, “Even prepandemic, the loungewear category was booming, with more and more people opting for comfort and effortless clothing. The WFH trend was picking up, as was the gig economy. The pandemic helped the category grow by epic proportions. The pandemic also saw a significant behaviour change, both in terms of dressing as well as productivity. With work-from-home, CEOs to executives found themselves conducting business from their living rooms, free of stuffy ties and blazers, and traditional workplace demands. Loungewear became the go-to attire, spanning work to play, board meetings to grocery runs, and now has become a way of life. XYXX has witnessed a 300 per cent growth in revenue from the loungewear category in the past year, and a very notable shift in consumption patterns.”
Loungewear has always been a part of outerwear and a popular pop-culture element in womenswear, thanks to the Hiltons and Kardashians of the world. Enter the early ’00s era of velour Juicy Couture bejewelled tracksuits. However, menswear saw the trend rise much later, now increasing the demand due to staying in.
A spokesperson at Marks & Spencer says, “At Marks & Spencer, we have witnessed an equal growth in comfort wear shopping for both genders. There is a definite increase in demand for at-home clothing. For womenswear, the most sought-after items include T-shirts, casual blouses, and tops, along with our linen bottoms. In menswear, we’ve seen customers buying heavily into our everyday range of T-shirts, cotton and linen shorts, casual shorts, and particularly our hot seller, the Supersoft Supima cotton Autograph collection T-shirts, & PJ bottoms. The pandemic pushed us to work hard on our supply chain, and on our new flagship website to enable regular updates of styles, colours, sizes across men, women, and kidswear ranges as they continued to sell out fast. We have seen a growth of 62 per cent over the pre-pandemic year (AW’21 over AW’19 season till date) in loungewear.”
The demand for comfort clothing in menswear has been thriving, with brands catering to styles and preferences. “As a menswear label, we have seen a huge rise in demand for loungewear. Men across the board, from all walks of life, are opting for loungewear as a comfortable second skin that allows them to go about their day without the confines of traditional casual clothing like denim. Classic T-shirts, pyjamas, joggers, lounge pants, and shorts have been highly sought after, and even as the world opens up, this trend is continuing,” opines Kabra.
Samyukta Nair is a food and fashion entrepreneur, and the CEO and founder of the loungewear brand Dandelion. As a brand that specialises in loungewear, Nair explains the changes the label went through when the work-fromhome scenario entered the market. “To be honest, we didn’t have to change a lot. We’ve always focused on relaxed styles and breathable cotton fabric that’s conducive to the Indian climate. We also introduced Hurrah Hindustan, our maximalist loungewear collection with Param Sahib at the beginning of 2020, which boasted vibrant, bold prints, and new styles. Seeing the audience gravitate towards a new direction has been insightful and exciting for us as a label.”
Pre-pandemic, companies were relaxing dress codes, and offices were becoming increasingly casual. Now that many of us are accustomed to comfort and versatility while working from home, work fashion will continue to adapt with those interests in mind. “Whether a return to the office is on the horizon, work from home is here to stay, or some blend of the two is expected to replace business casual, with even more athletic and casual pieces seeping into our work wardrobes. Keeping in mind today’s consumer preferences, we are focusing on a more relaxed, versatile, and sustainable AM to PM wardrobe. Our 2021 Fall & Winter range presents workwear for our new workdays and includes loungewear that one could jump into without compromising on comfort,” explains a spokesperson from UNIQLO India.
When asked about the future of loungewear, designer Payal Singhal thinks, “I think it’s here to stay. Last few years, we saw a trend moving towards comfort wear with twin sets and athleisure, so it was brewing even before the pandemic hit. And now, no one wants to be formally dressed all the time. With work from home and work from anywhere being a big shift in the way we are moving forward, loungewear will become a part of everyone’s main wardrobe. At Payal Singhal, we are all about working with our community to make products that work for them, and we have been working on PS Pret and PS Athleisure for a few years now.”
She continues, “People have realised you don’t need to compromise on comfort and ease to be in fashion. Loungewear has carved itself as a separate category and the changing preferences of consumers for comfortable yet stylish clothing is what everyone is adapting to.”
UNIQLO India thinks effortless style is now mainstream because the boundaries between the home and places of work or study have been blurred, making comfort even more important today. More than a trend, this is now a lifestyle and it is here to stay.
All in all, we are now sure that loungewear is here to stay for good.