India: The Emerging Market of Luxury Fashion

India is to top the global pool of luxury markets and here is why.

Sectors & Markets

03 August, 2023

Table of contents

By the end of the next decade, India will have the fastest growing economy due to its rigid phygital infrastructure, local demand, and competitive skills around the globe. The enhanced spending power of the Indian population is one of the main factors for luxury brands to target this market. A large group of Indians (especially young people) became frequent purchasers of luxury items due to the higher disposable income, stable economic growth, and raised luxury brand awareness among them. A Bain and Company report claims that the luxury market in India is expected to rise three and a half times the current expanse and soar to earn $200 million by 2030.

History of Global Luxury Brands in India

The luxury market is not new in India. Global fashion leaders have always been eyeing the market. Brands like Montblanc and Ermenegildo Zegna entered the market before 2000. But it was Louis Vuitton that made the first huge impact on the people. Prior to that, in December 1989, Saint Laurent hosted a show in Gateway of India. From 2000 to 2010, the country saw many brands such as Chanel, Dior, and Gucci making a debut.

Michael Kors partnered with Reliance Brands Limited (RBL) and debuted in 2013. Now, the brand is the most notable global luxury brand in India. It has become popular among Indians with its communication strategies and holiday-based collections. Michael Kors launched a Diwali special collection in October 2022. Fossil, Inc. has acknowledged India to be one of the largest growth markets. In November 2022, the brand named Bollywood actress Anushka Sharma as the brand ambassador.

Even though Cartier took inspiration from Indian culture way before 1911, its first store was laid only in 2008 in the capital city of New Delhi. The brand acknowledged the growing importance of the country as it appointed Indian actress Deepika Padukone as its global ambassador in October 2022. Deepika Padukone was also the first Indian to be appointed as Louis Vuitton’s brand ambassador in May 2022.

Gucci entered India in 2007 by partnering with the Murjani Group, but later in 2009 parted ways with the group. By 2010, the luxury house started to expand its arena throughout the country. Today, Gucci operates independently in the country. In 2022, around 36% of Gucci’s global revenue was from the Asia-Pacific region. Now, in May 2023 the brand chose Alia Bhatt, another Indian actress, to be its first Indian brand ambassador.

Versace entered India in 2005 through an exclusive agreement with Blues Clothing Company to sell its products. In 2013, the brand opened its own boutique. In January 2023, Athiya Shetty was looped in to endorse Versace Watches in India.

In 2004, Dior planned to place India in its top 12 markets. The brand made its debut in 2006 by opening a boutique in New Delhi. In March 2023, Dior staged its Pre-Fall 2023 show at Gateway of India in Mumbai, India. The collection incorporated designs of India with the support of its longtime partner, Chanakya School of Craft. With the awareness of Indian craftsmanship growing globally, Dior is among the few houses that acknowledged this partnership. To show the designs effectively, the brand went with mostly Indian models. Famous celebrities, including Cara Delevingne, Maisie Williams, Naomi Ackie, Rekha, Sonam Kapoor Ahuja, Anushka Sharma, Virat Kohli, Liza Koshy, Karisma Kapoor, Diana Penty, Poorna Jagannathan, Ananya Panday, Freida Pinto, Simone Ashley, Sobhita Dhulipala, Charithra Chandran, and Athiya Shetty, attended the show. Be it a national news channel to local online sites, all the fashion-conscious media groups were covering this event.

Bulgari opened its first stores in Delhi and Mumbai in 2004. However, it exiled the market in 2011 in order to get the government’s approval to launch its own store. The brand re-entered the country in 2014 by opening its first boutique in New Delhi. Priyanka Chopra serves as the global ambassador of Bulgari since February 2022.

Valentino launched its first boutique in 2022 in DLF Emporio, Delhi. But, the brand garnered a huge buzz in India in 2018 when it designed the bridal lehenga for Isha Ambani, the daughter of business tycoon Mukesh Ambani. It was a unique and pioneer attempt for the brand.

Key Factors for this Emergence

Drifting Cultures

According to Vogue Business, Indian society is going through a shift of identity. Previously, the society followed a rooted identity that included traditionalism in a religious context, collectivism, repression, being with an allotted identity, intangibility, and spirituality. With various changes and improvements in one’s way of thinking and living, society has changed to desi-inspired modernism, flexible, individualistic, designing one’s own identity, tangible and materialistic.

The younger generation (especially millennials and Gen Z) are the key characters for this drift. Due to this change, people are open to trying new things which also includes luxury brands.

Wedding Market

Kalyani Chawla, former VP in Marketing & Communications of Dior, states that while everyone is busy getting over the aftermath of the pandemic, there is a major outpour in big-fat Indian weddings during November and December 2022. According to a consultant KPMG’s report, India’s wedding market billed more than $50 billion in 2017, falling just behind the US. It is estimated that around $46 billion were spent on weddings over the last two months of 2022 and expected to touch $159 billion in the first half of 2023.

Even though the HNWI wedding spending starts from $1 million, The Voice of Fashion’s Atlas of Affluence 2022 report highlighted that many are opting for intimate occasions, customised luxury proportions, and uplifts gifting rules with respect to sustainability. Some wedding planning experts exclaim that even though the expenditure is the same as it was before the pandemic for ultraHNWIs, they are spending it differently. For example, spending on perishable items such as flowers is high. A wedding industry expert Thyagarajan explains that around 2000 families across India are willing to overspend on weddings. He suggests that this group is the ideal client for the top 10-20 Indian couturiers, international luxury brands, and elite jewellery designers.

Devika Narain, the founder of the popular wedding planner company Devika Narain & Co., stated that High Net-Worth Individual (HNWI) weddings account for a minimum of $1 million. Gaurav Gupta, one of the leading bridal fashion designers in India, says that HNWIs will generally spend INR 500.000 and INR 1 million and even more for customised outfits. The personalised outfits are requested by the brides either for their sangeet, reception, or wedding day. Most of his clients are from Indore, Pune, Raipur, Gujarat, and Punjab.

Favourable Economy

The Indian economy is forecasted to increase by 7% in 2023, leading it to be the fifth-largest economy worldwide. The EY report estimates that the GDP of India will touch $26 trillion with a per capita of $15.000 by 2047. Over the last decade, the percentage of rich people has grown 11 times in India. Knight Frank Wealth Report 2021 evaluated that, till 2020, India’s HNWI strength is 0,35 million, out of which there are 113 billionaires. By 2025, the billionaires count is expected to increase by 43% accounting 162.

With that, global luxury brands see India as the next potential market. Moreover, the Indian retail sites such as Ajio, Shoppers Stop, Nykaa, and TataCliq have opened a new retail department dedicated to the sale of luxury goods. Other sites like Myntra, Ashni + Co and The Collective are actively selling luxury goods too.

Top Indian Luxury Fashion Labels

Just like global brands, India has its own maisons that are carrying the country’s culture and tradition in their designs. Some have even entered the long list of global luxury brands and compete with leading fashion players around the world. One among them is Manish Arora, a brand launched by the designer of the same name in 1997. He was the first designer to present his collection in an international fashion week in Paris. It has sold its collection to more than 80 retailers around the world. Unfortunately, due to poor business deals, and lack of profits, the brand was shut down with its last runway show for spring 2020.


Sabyasachi was founded in 1999 by a Kolkata-based designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee. It is India’s most influential brand and a topper in the bridal fashion market. Sabyasachi follows a customised design with a unique philosophy - “personalised imperfection of the human hand.” The brand made its international runway debut in 2003 and bagged the Grand Winner Award at Mercedes Benz New Asia Fashion Week in Singapore. It was in 2017 that the designer announced his plan to go global. In October 2022, Sabyasachi opened its first boutique in the West Village of New York.

Manish Malhotra

Officially launched in 2005, the couture label Manish Malhotra is based in Mumbai. The brand’s extravagant and embellished outfits are very popular in the Bollywood sector. The designer Manish Malhotra has designed outfits for various films across India and also for celebrities in their off-screen appearances. The brand has been one of the top options for bridal fashion. In 2021, the house unveiled its first virtual couture store. In May 2023, it became the first-ever Indian fashion house to launch its private design headquarters. The couturier expressed his interest in expanding the brand around the world in 2022.

Ritu Kumar

Ritu Kumar was founded in 1969 by a designer of the same name. The company has 4 different categorical brands under it - “Label” offers modern garments for women and girls, “Ri” is for bridal and lehengas, “Aarke” provides women’s nightwear, and “Home” sells home décor. She was the first woman to initiate the idea of ‘boutiques’ in India. Since the 70s, the brand has been successfully operating in Europe and India. For her immense craftsmanship, Ritu Kumar has won many accolades including Chevalier des arts et des lettres. The brand has also expanded to cities like New York and London.

Gaurav Gupta

Gaurav Gupta was founded in 2005. The brand is known for its way of combining Indian design with the designer’s idea of the future. The silhouettes are more likely in a form of surrealistic art. The brand’s outfits are worn by global celebrities like Cardi B, Priyanka Chopra, Megan Thee Stallion, Aishwarya Rai, and Jennifer Hudson, and can be regularly seen in the list of Best Dressed for The Oscars, Festival de Cannes, Tony Awards, and The Emmy Awards. The brand recently staged its AW24 Olive couture show in Paris Couture Week.

Rahul Mishra

Founded in 2008, Rahul Mishra is the one of the first brands to display their works at Paris Haute Couture Week. The label is known for its amalgamation of traditional Indian crafty designs with slow fashion. Celebrities like Zendaya, Ashley Jini Park, Britt Lower, Andreea Cristea, and Zinnia Kumar have worn Rahul Mishra’s designs. The brand will be in the concluding part of the India Couture Week 2023, which starts on July 25.

Anita Dongre

House of Anita Dongre was launched in 1995 by Anita Dongre, Mukesh Sawlani, and Meena Sehra. The brand has 286 stores worldwide and is well-established in New York and Mauritius. It is celebrated for its strong consciousness towards sustainability and employing local artisans. Moreover, the house has launched handcrafted jewellery. Celebrities like the Princess of Wales Kate Middleton, the Jonas family at Priyanka-Nick’s wedding, Beyonce, and Kim Kardashian have worn the pieces from Anita Dongre.

Abu Jani Sandeep Khosla

Abu Jani Sandeep Khosla was launched in 1986, making it one of the oldest couture houses with high-end clients including royal families. The brand exclusively works for formal, occasional, and bridal wear. Some authentic Indian designs like Zardozi, Chikankari, Tharad, and mirror-works are used by the house in modernised forms. Actress Dimple Kapadia was their pioneer celebrity client, followed by notable celebrities such as Gigi Hadid, Sonam Kapoor, Sara Ali Khan, Deepika Padukone, Priyanka Chopra, and Janhvi Kapoor.

Tarun Tahiliani

Tarun Tahiliani is a label established in 1987 by Tarun Tahiliani. He is one of the first Indian international designers and is known for his creative amalgamation of traditional and modern arts. In 1999, Tahiliani, along with six other designers, formed the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) which created India’s own Fashion Week-cum-trade show. He was the first Indian to present at Milan Fashion Week in 2003. The brand has dressed celebrities like Janhvi Kapoor, Madhuri Dixit Nene, Sobhita Dhulipala, Katrina Kaif, Shriya Saran, and Trisha Krishnan.

Cover Image: Dior Pre-Fall 2023 show in Gateway of India, courtesy Vogue India