Lingerie in India

“A new sexual revolution is sweeping Indian women and they are more adventurous with innerwear, experimenting with sexy and colourful innerwear like never before”, reports Ritusmita Biswas.

Lingerie sales have increased by 12% in the last five years — this due to a new awareness of intimate wear. In fact, in 2003 the Seattle PI reported that most women in India didn’t wear underwear. According to the article:

“Tens of millions of Indian women who live in rural areas wear no panties because they are swathed in layers of petticoats and saris and use outdoor toilets. Bras are either not worn, or are home-sewn wraparound cloths, tied at the front.”

In order to capture this huge market French-designed Enamor created a line of bras and panties. With an emphasis on comfortable cotton for India’s hot climate, as well as lingerie that’s not too racy, Enamor made a big dent in the market.

Along the way they also presented a radical way for female customers to buy lingerie — including the ability to actually try it on before buying it.

Prior to this, buying underwear was considered an embarrassing act. “Men usually go into a shop, estimate their wife’s or daughter’s size and buy the product in an opaque box from a male clerk.”

(We all know how well that must work out!)

But now, women in India are aware of all their lingerie options. They are asking for and buying corsets, camisoles, demi-cups, halters, teddies, boy briefs, silk pajama sets; lingerie with feminine trims like frills, rose buds, bows, leather detailing, sequins and laces; and the color palette is shifting from white and black to vibrant shades like red and turquoise — though pastels and champagne still remain the favorite colors.

And like most women, they want their lingerie to “be rather naughty and romantic than racy and raunchy.” (For lingerie execs, this means slinky not sleezy.)

Let’s hope lingerie companies don’t blow this huge market by making the same mistakes they’ve made here.

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