Innovations in Monsoon Wear

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Courtesy: Rent it Bae
Courtesy: Rent it Bae

Changing seasons mean a change in wardrobe. And if it is the monsoons’ it is all the more reason to have a water proof wardrobe. There are several new age innovations being seen in the monsoon space too.
For monsoons, besides the fabric it is the waterproof technology that is widely adopted in the garments that creates a barrier between the body and rain. Unlike the earlier times, brands these days are bringing different features to match with weather conditions. Different coatings inside the jackets that dry the garment quickly without compromising on the comfort, keeping the breathability factor as the top most priority have been the game changer in the market.
Now Trending
The most important trend during monsoons, and which is changing every year, is that of breathable jackets and rainproof rain-repellant bags. Similarly, a simple plain transparent poncho is a talk of the town for college students and office goers. “It is imperative that you switch to darker colours and play with a palate of strong shades. Take on a cool rain poncho to beat the chill and keep dry. Soft denim is an absolute talk of the season and the trend is here to stay till the monsoon. Women are drooling over dresses and tops in soft denim fabric. The material is summer friendly and quick drying one, should last the monsoon as well,” says Aanchal Saini, Co-Founder & CEO, Rent It Bae. Vinyl and PVC finishes have proved a monsoon wear favourite over the past few seasons. This was a predominant trend on the catwalk as seen by Burberry, Fendi and Chanel and is the clear choice for inclement weather. Esha Gupta, Founder, House of Zeniaa says, “plastic is having a real high fashion moment for Monsoon’18, appearing everywhere from the functional rain coats at Burberry back in London through to Valentino’s futuristic moto jackets and Chanel’s glamorous capes and boots in Paris. Hooded rain capes; denim jacket and skirts trimmed with plastic fringe and the house’s trademark cap-toed, demi-heeled boots are in trend.”

Courtesy: Rent it Bae
Courtesy: Rent it Bae

In Vogue
Playsuits in printed floral patterns, mid length skirts, culottes and shorts are always a hot trend for the monsoon game every season. This year cotton shorts and lighter comfortable fabrics are in vogue. ‘Athleisure’ being the biggest trend of the season can be well played in monsoon wearing dri-fit mechanized clothes as they are comfortable and dry off quickly. “In monsoon, a roomy chiffon ‘bell sleeved dress’ is functional and oh-so-chic. Summer Capes’ in a bright colour paired with frayed denim shorts is a great in between drizzle outfit. Vibrant hues of indigo, green and blue and electric fluorescent mix in cotton and rayon hold good for monsoon. Crop Pants are all new regulars even during the heavy downpour making a perfect combination with trendy T-shirts,” says Ritika Taneja, Head, Categories Management, ShopClues. There are not many options for men in formal wear during monsoon, hence they should stick to cotton fabrics and suits made of synthetic fibers.
Innovation Matters
Water proofing textile materials are being introduced using nano waterproofing technology. Softshell jackets are designed to keep the rain at bay. They look extremely snazzy, unlike the popular rain friendly materials. They are made out of smooth polyester making them uber comfortable too. Nanotech clothing fabric ‘never gets wet’. The secret to this incredible water resistance is the layer of silicone nanofilaments, which are highly chemically hydrophobic. “The spiky structure of the 40-nanometre-wide filaments strengthens that effect, to create a coating that prevents water droplets from soaking through the coating to the polyester fibers underneath. Combination of water-repelling substances and tiny nanostructures is responsible for many natural examples of extreme water resistance, such as the surface of Lotus leaves,” explains Gupta. Many designers and technology firms have collaborated together and designer tech-advanced clothing like ‘Rain Pallete’ by London based designer Dahea Sun that acts as a pH indicator in the rain. The in-built app suggests the level of acidic component in the rain.

Courtesy: Rent it Bae
Courtesy: Rent it Bae

Tech Talk
Wildcraft has always been a pioneer in using HYPADry technology for their apparel. “The HYPADry technology keeps you dry while also allowing your skin to breathe. The breathable Nylon fabric has nano-pores that mimic the skin – small enough to keep rain out, but large enough to allow sweat to evaporate. Tailored with Nylon and powered by DRY+VENT Technology, our range has superior waterproofing (upto 5000 mm) that makes it perfect for slight drizzles to thunderstorms, all the while ensuring breathability,” says Bhupinder Singh, Chief Product Officer, Wildcraft. Saggar Mehra, Creative Director at House of Sunil Mehra adds, “the key component of any rainwear fabric is the coating or membrane that does the technological trick of blocking rain while also allowing sweat vapor to escape. There are synthetic fabrics like nylon or polyester that are coated with a waterproofing material such as rubber, polyvinyl chloride, polyurethane, silicone elastomer, fluoropolymers and wax.” Waterproof materials have an extraordinarily high use, with products for everyday clothing, sportswear and protective clothing for industrial or technical applications. “The outer face of the textile is treated with a durable water repellant finish that helps form droplets and repels water from the surface. Each multi layered textile is engineered to allow water vapor to pass through from the inside to the outside. This process is used to make sure the fabric is waterproof and comfortable at the same time for the monsoon season,” says Mithi Kalra, Designer.
Challenge Factor
No matter how waterproof the fabric, the stitching seams are still vulnerable to water seepage through needle-holes. “However Wildcraft ensures the seams on these products are 100% sealed using seam-sealing tapes to cover the needle-holes. This extra measure ensures that there are no stray water droplets seeping in through the seams,” adds Singh. The biggest marketing challenge lies in the mindset of people. “Brands face a lot of rigidity with Indian audiences. Majority of Indians find investing in monsoon apparel a wasteful task. Manufacturing is a game of understanding demand and supply. If the demand drops the products automatically becomes costlier or they would go out of production if it drops drastically,” opines Saini. Mehra adds, “challenges for manufacturing these clothes include aspects like energy-intensive manufacture, uncertain demand, cost increased as laboratory test for breathability is required and dyeing such fabrics becomes an issue. Some of the garments are recyclable and non- biodegradable, hence intensive care is required in its manufacturing and disposal.” Again with the kind of technology involved in making monsoon friendly clothing, there is very less awareness among the common public which makes marketing the product harder too. “It is high investment and production category and requires advanced manufacturing process with skilled labour that further increases the cost of the product. Hence waterproof clothing is still under the category of less demand and due to its regional and seasonality factor marketers find it difficult to build long term business solutions around this segment,” says Taneja. Again with the trend to go ecofriendly using plastic in clothes may not be a wise idea either.
• Use synthetic clothes as they dry easily.
• Heavy materials like silk and jute should be avoided as they take a long time to dry.
• Cotton clothes are also very breathable which makes them super comfortable during monsoon.

This story appeared in the July 2018 issue of Apparel Magazine here: Monsoon (July ’18)

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