India gears up to rule the intimate apparel market

The growing demand for fashionable intimate apparel in India is providing a boost to the innerwear market. Fibre2fashion gives an overview of the biggest players domestically and globally along with the evolving fabric trends and designs in the intimatewear industry.

The Indian intimate apparel industry is in the process of achieving new dimensions. Under the ‘Make in India’ programme, the country is said to present endless opportunities to become the next big manufacturer of lingerie in the world. India presents a growing fashion-conscious consumer market that demands top quality products from well-established global brands. India has an abundance of raw material as well as a large, inexpensive workforce to provide cost effective solutions to manufacturing lingerie.

Fabric Trends and Designs:
Fabrics used for intimate wear over past few decades have been changing.

Late 90s:

  • 90 per cent of innerwear wear was made from 100 per cent cotton woven non- stretch fabric.

Early 2000s:

  • 10 per cent was allocated to cotton knit fabric.
  • In the following years, 50 per cent of innerwear was made from cotton woven non-stretch fabric and rest 50 per cent was made from cotton knit fabric.


  • 30 per cent of innerwear was made from 100 per cent cotton woven fabric.
  • Out of this, 50 per cent was cotton knit.
  • 20 per cent was polyester or cotton mix fabric.


  • 10 per cent of innerwear made from 100 per cent cotton woven fabric.
  • 50 per cent from 100 per cent cotton knit fabric.
  • 40 per cent from polyester or cotton mix fabric.

This shows how cotton, the most preferred fabric by intimate wear manufacturers, has been losing ground over time. In later years, cotton was blended with spandex for shaped garments. A few manufacturers used polyamide or elastane fabrics which are skin-friendly and made from third generation yarns. Introduction of Lycra changed the scenario dramatically by way of stretch quality.