Winter is here in the northern hemisphere. It is the time to bring the cosiest woollens out of your closet. If there are a few things that define winter fashion appropriately, it is warm fuzzy sweaters, woollen scarves and mittens, but more than anything, it is the knee-length leather boots.
But if you live in the capital, you too must have noticed the rise in overall winter temperature. The Delhi winter is dead. And this change in climate patterns and rise in global temperature are having an effect in an unlikely place: your closets. Especially the way you buy long leather boots.
To find out whether climate change has really taken a toll on how brands sell long boots in the capital, IndiaToday.in contacted store managers and employees of various outlets in the National Capital Region.
When we asked the store manager of a Zara outlet how climate change has had a significant change over their stocks of leather boots, their answer was, “Now, we generally don’t sell leather boots. We have synthetic leather boots and the stocks have gone down because winter hasn’t arrived properly yet. The sales and the entire stocks have also been impacted because of this. Compared to last year, the drop in the stocks has been 20 to 30 per cent and it is quite significant.”
According to Gaurav Malhotra, store manager at a Rosso Brunello outlet in the capital, which is a premium brand for leather products, though the stocks of boots have not been affected, there is a shift in the material used. “Every year, we have 8 or 10 different variety of boots and this year too, we will have the same variations. As a brand, we focus on leather, but for one or two variants, we have moved to suede.”
While premium brands like Rosso Brunello are focusing on the material, fast-fashion brand like H&M hasn’t received any stock for this year. Alok, a store employee told us, “Earlier, we used to get 10 to 15 different styles of boots every year. Last year, we only received two colours. But this year, we haven’t received any stock till now.”
According to Steve Madden store manager, Rohan Neogi, the stocks have considerably gone down as a result of the rising temperatures. “Yes, climate change has definitely had an effect because in the past few years, we have reduced our stocks of knee-length boots. Earlier, we used to get around 15 to 20 options, but now, we get only five to seven options. In that too, we have now substituted leather with fabrics.”
In fact even Bata, which is one of the largest footwear retailers in India, has stopped investing in knee-length boots. Dheeraj Krishnani, store manager, told us, “There is a considerable shift in stocks for leather boots. The fashion industry is coming up with a lot of trends; therefore Bata is still not spending that much on knee-length boots as compared to other brands. Last year, we got a good range in the boots section, but this year, we got only three designs.”
Add Clarks to the list of brands that have getting knee-length boots in the capital. “We only have ankle-length boots here; we never get knee-length boots in our stores. Clarks does have knee-length boots as it is a UK brand, but in India, we generally don’t get that stock. Our merchandise team decides that according to the climate here,” a store employee said.
CHARLES & KEITH
According to an employee at a Charles & Keith store in the capital, “Since the temperature is rising, a lot of times what happens is that the material gets affected because of sweating. This can lead to an increased chance of the material chipping. Earlier, we used to get a large stock, but since we get winters for approximately two months here, we have reduced the stocks. If the stocks are not cleared in that time period, we need to store the boots for a longer duration; hence the reduction in leather boots.”
While brands are already combating ways to keep customers happy and also creating stocks in a way that doesn’t hurt their sales, it is quite clear that our choices are being affected by rising temperature.
According to the India Meteorological Department’s (IMD) report for December 2019 to February 2020, this year, winter will be warmer than usual across the country.
Is it time to say goodbye to our favourite winter fashion essentials? In Delhi, that answer is yes.
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