Growth of winter fashion over the years

David Castro

Whenever you think of fashion, you think tops or dresses or skirts or anything which is more summery, and winters as a season are often not looked at deeply enough. Even though winters in India are a short season of 3 months and largely limited to the northern part of the country, there is a drastic shift in the dressing and fashion for the season. Along with the variation in the temperatures across the country, there is a also a sharp change in the fashion for the season.As we enter winters, one goes from the linens, cottons and the pastels shades to bundling in hand-made, wool knit sweaters, cardigans, mufflers, caps and socks and a deeper richer color palette.

Traditionally, the core focus for winter wear would be on utility and fabrics for braving the cold as keeping warm superseded the sense of dressing up. But as times have evolved, winter has also become synonymous with celebrations – weddings, festivals, celebrations, glamor and dressing up. The precedent of winter wear has moved from being a utility item with limited option availability to utility with comfort, trends and being ahead in the fashion world. The same is visible with the spurt in the winter wear demand in the country.

For some of the prominent e-commerce portals, winter fashion wear has grown at a compounded annual growth rate of 25{588b6a73d0fd0030a7dfcc3258d1c6d259509b7ec0f2eecf331d98a5c91e6f21} year on year for the last 4 years. It contributes to about 25{588b6a73d0fd0030a7dfcc3258d1c6d259509b7ec0f2eecf331d98a5c91e6f21} sales for the fashion apparel industry, in the second half of the year, making it a key revenue driver. This year the biggest category so far has been sweatshirts. Even at FableStreet, the category contribution overall every year for winter wear has been going up with about 150 to 200 basis points at a blended level.

There are multiple reasons which have led to this significant shift from need-based to aspiration-based winter fashion over the years and growth in the category.

Purchasing power of the consumer

Over the years, the financial stability and purchasing power of the population has significantly strengthened. Purchasing power parity of India increased from 10 LCU per international dollars in 2002 to 23.1 LCU per international dollars in 2021 growing at an average annual rate of 4.55{588b6a73d0fd0030a7dfcc3258d1c6d259509b7ec0f2eecf331d98a5c91e6f21}.

Rise in population density index along with increase in per capita spending in the country has also led to increase in product sales.

Fabric Innovation

Innovation and technology became one of the paramount prospects of this growth and development making things of needs and wants more accessible. Be it refining natural fabrics, heat -tech fabrics, fleece, etc, fabric innovation has impacted fashion and how consumers wear fashion. The bulk has given way to lighter and warmer fabrics. Innovation in the fabrics will continue to evolve over the next few years.

Content Consumption

The Internet has been one of the key drivers for the growth of winter fashion over the years. Awareness about trends, and how winter fashion ‘is a thing’ began to spread with the penetration of the internet. From black and white telecasts to OTTs, people even in the remotest of the geographies of the country have gotten exposure to who’s wearing what in the world.

Exposure to International brands

International Brands coming to India allowing native apparel stores to become internationally renowned brands as free-enterprises, capitalism opened ways for brands to set-up their stores in all parts of the globe. This in-turn allowed people from one corner of the globe to touch and feel the fashion taste of another part of it. International travel became an add-on to global networking.

Consumer Insights


Winter outfits are constantly evolving. At most times, the winter forecast is impossible to predict. The rise of heaters and insulators set inside buildings and public transports have introduced a different dynamic. To be prepared for anything and everything, layering is the key. One is adding or subtracting layers depending on whether one is indoors or outdoors, day or an evening out. Mild winters can be tackled with light socks and shoes and extreme cold can be taken care of by wearing thicker tights and boots.

Layering further allows both functional and fashionable aspects of clothing. Different textures, fabrics, styles, colors, layering allows endless possibilities of experimenting with style in winters. Top your monochrome look with a pop of color with a bright colored wool knit muffler. Wear a cozy blazer on top of a regular cardigan at work, swap the blazer with a shiny/blingy jacket for the evening.

Winter travel

Winter travel as a concept is becoming increasingly popular over the years. Whether it is to explore the natural splendors of the mountains or exploring adventure sports like skiing and snowboarding, there has been an increase in the number of tourists to winter destinations. This has led to an increase in purchase of puffer jackets, sweatshirts, thermals, bomber jackets, long coats, woolen caps, boots, keeping comfort, warmth and fashion quotient high at all times.

Occasion based buying

Keeping in sync with festivities, weddings and celebrations, occasion based buying for winter has become a massive trend.

Be it a wedding or a party, outfits and jackets in Velvets, silks, brocades, sequence, metallic fabrics throng any celebration. There is no brand which does not have an evening/party/occasion wear collection for the season. It is about staying cozy and warm but upping the glam quotient at the same time.


Foundational for any closet, there is always a robust list of essentials for every season. No matter how many times they’re paired with, there will never be a dull moment with them. Pullovers, sweaters, long overcoats, wool trousers, turtle necks, the little black dress will never go out of fashion. For fabrics wool, wool blends and denims are a forever thing.

People stepping out for work need garments that are well constructed and are versatile. To wrap up, winter fashion is a big trend all over the world. Consumer behavior has evolved tremendously over the years and has consistently been experimenting with color, fabrics and silhouettes even in winters. The trend will continue to grow over the years and we will continue to see new brands, trends and innovations in the category.



Views expressed above are the author’s own.


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