It was a lanky period for Liberty shirts with complexity in imports and the export market initiation, so the late Bhawandas Wadhwani approached the lingerie business with technical knowhow from the USA. The brands got an achievement of optimum level with their styles and quality. But due to the government's restrictions for foreign brands, Wadhwani discontinued the overseas tie-up and changed the names to Libertina for lingerie and Liberty for men's underwear in the late 70s. From 80s to 90s the company focused on undergarments. Even today Libertina and Liberty are still one of the major players in the lingerie market.
With the great triumph of Libertina and Liberty, other Indian companies also shifted into the lingerie markets. In the 70s Peter Pan from Dawn Mills entered in the market with lingerie styles of the West. The brand was popular amongst the Indian women, but two decades later it vanished from the market.
In 1971, VIP entered the men's underwear market with a big-bang and became the most talked about brand due to its advertisement featuring model Dalip Tahil. Since then VIP is a leading player in the men's and women's underwear market. VIP launched Petals, a Lycra moulded cup bra with motifs, which was accepted well at that time, but was later discontinued. But introducing Loveable in 1996 was a huge success as they brought in a foreign brand, but it was made in India. Lovable was followed by Feelings, VIP's domestic products and Daisy Dee another foreign brand. The very ultra Vanity Fair was introduced in 2004 and lastly a Korean Brand Try for men and women in 2004. VIP's fashionable new men's innerwear called Frenchie X was targeted to meet the challenges thrown by the foreign brands.
Another leading brand in the lingerie market is Rupa & Co established in 1985. Its variety of men's, women's and children's underwear put together makes it India's biggest innerwear manufacturer and seller. Besides these two brands there are other labels produced by them. Amul, Lux Cozi, Dollar are some of the brands catering to a particular segment of the men's underwear market, while the lingerie segment has its own local offerings like Neva, Bodycare, Softy, Lady Care, Little Lacy, Red Rose, Sonari, Feather Line and many more.
In the 90s Jockey re-entered the Indian market followed by Calida and Liberti Blu. Then the very high fashion Gossard existed for a limited time. In the 21st century, Enamor, another foreign brand entered the Indian market through Gokaldas Exports and the very chic French brand Aubade started its only outlet in Mumbai. La Senza is the next foreign brand that is set to enter the market while Hanes has already set with a very unconventional ad campaign targeted to comfort for the Indian male.
One of the leading foreign players in the Indian lingerie market is Triumph. They have a presence in 150 countries around the world and a turnover of US $2 billion with a production of over 200 million units annually, producing 6000 new fashion styles per year designed by 200 designers in 11 countries. Triumph started its operation in India in six metros, and is now spread in 45 cities. As far as lingerie is concerned, India is still in its initial stage. India has to wait to become a matured market as compared to the other Asian markets like Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, China and Vietnam. In the last three years there has been a great growth in the business but the retailing of lingerie and distribution channels are limited. Triumph markets through retailers, MBOs, and two franchisees in Mumbai and Kolkata, and further more they are going to increase in the near future. From 300 outlets in India they target to cross 1,000 outlets in three-five years. With all raw materials imported from Europe, Triumph is produced in Chennai and has gained a 50 per cent raise in sales since it came into the country. Though, Triumph is the only internationally managed brand, it also aims to satisfy Indian buyers and has the capability to source intelligent fabrics not offered in India. Triumph was the first to introduce moisturising fabrics with Aloe Vera and the one-piece bra which is produced by one piece of fabric. The sizes and styles are very particular to Indian consumers. Triumph which begun production in India in 1998 has been exporting to the USA before it came into the local market. With 80 per cent exports and 20 per cent local sales in India, Triumph adds new products and concepts for 5-10 styles each year.
Lately, well-known international lingerie brands - Aubade - from the fashion capital of France has entered in Indian market.
While the international lingerie outlook is as exciting and bright as the outerwear one, India's growth in the former segment can be called just about negligible. Body and beach fashion shows are showcased twice a year around the world showing the latest trends in innerwear fashion. New underwear fabrics with 'anti' treatment like anti-stress, anti-smog, anti-static, anti-allergic, anti- bacterial, anti-moisture and anti-odour pamper the body. Top European products like Bruno Banani, Excellent, Schneider, Louis Feraud, Calvin Klein, Gianfranco Ferre, DKNY, La Perla, Gossard, and Schiesser are some of the brands that set their inspiration to the ultimate test. Thanks to the new outerwear performance made by designers around the world and India, lingerie is seemed with renewed fascination in India too.