patterns of consumption of clothes in gangtok, sikkim(india)

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    To the Department of Sociology, Lady Shri Ram CollegeFor Women for giving

    us the opportunity to conduct a sociological research as a part of college


    To Ms. Nivedita Ghosh and Dr. Saswati Bhattacharya for guiding us

    throughout our fieldwork with necessary valuable insights and suggestions

    To Mr. Govind Singh, a dear uncle, for helping connect with local people in

    Sikkim and assisting us in conducting surveys.

    To our friends and parents for their love and support

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    2 THE FIELD 5-7


    4 BODY OF ESSAY 22-38

    5 APPENDIX 39-41



    7 BIBLIOGRAPHY 44-45

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    This project contains the consumption patterns of clothes in Gangtok. Our aim was to study

    the development of branded retail clothing in Gangtok. Though the city has branded stores

    like Puma, UBC, The Raymond Shop, Reebok, or Allen Solly, the local Lal bazaar and

    M.G.Road is flooded with fashionable and cheap clothing and accessories from China and

    other parts of South Asia. Therefore we thought that an insight into the consumption

    patterns of youth might be useful to understand the influences of demand and supply of

    branded and non-branded clothing items in the retail market.Before we started with the

    field work, we were unaware of the fact that in Gangtok, there does not exist any

    production of clothes. Our initial aim was to trace the circulation of clothes in the market

    i.e. to study the production, distribution and consumption of clothes as a cycle. But later we

    realized that clothes are brought from other states of the country such as Ludhiana,

    Kolkata, Mumbai, Bangalore, Kathmandu, Dhaka,Bangkok and China.We conducted our

    research by going to their 6 major local markets such as, M.G.Road, LalBazaar, Paani House,

    Nam Nang Road, Highway and Deorali. Our primary method involve survey method and

    conducting structured interviews among the shopkeepers and the shoppers among the age

    group of below 18 years,18 -34 years, and above 35 years,the target group of the retail

    brand market. By doing all these, we also study the influences and motivations of people

    when it comes to fashion.

    Sociology endeavors to establish the conditions in which the consumers of cultural goods,

    and their taste for them, are produced.Tastes (i.e. manifested preferences)are the practical

    affirmationof an inevitable difference.Taste classifies, and it classifies the classifier. Social

    subjects distinguish themselves by the distinctions they make, between the beautiful and

    the ugly, the distinguished and the vulgar. And statistical analysis does indeed show that

    oppositions similar in structure to those found in cultural practices also appear in dressing

    habits.In the course of everyday life people constantlychoose between what they find

    aesthetically pleasing and what they consider tacky, merely trendy or ugly. The different

    aesthetic choices people make are all distinctions- i.e. choices made in opposition to those

    made by other classes.

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    For our survey, we printed out around 50 copies of our questionnaire everyday and

    distributed to 30-50 people every day. The average time it takes for one person to fill up

    the questionnaire was around 5-10 minutes. After they marked the option, we tried to

    convince them to give their feedbacks and suggestions for improvisation. At the end of the

    day, we used to start our counting of all the responses and categorize each and every

    question-type. We discovered how local people in Gangtok are the least brand conscious

    people. Branded clothes are considered a bonus to the wardrobe. The unbranded clothes,

    on the other hand, are mostly used for everyday wear or daily use. Gangtok is a fashion-

    conscious society and people love to keep themselves updated on latest style by browsing

    through fashion magazines, Internet and fashion channels. The influence of Korean

    superstars/celebrities/movie-stars is immense in Gangtok because people can relate to the

    physical features, shapes and body-sizes very easily.

    For the people of Gangtok, the priority is to feel and look good. Dressing up is not a

    compulsion but a habit. It is important to look good because people like to hear

    compliments from friends and colleagues. The general idea that we got from our interviews

    and survey was that females are more fashion conscious whereas males are brand-

    conscious.The feeling of competition is very strong when it comes to shopping clothes.

    People want to outdo others by wearing equally trendy clothes the next time they meet

    their friends. The competitiveness goes to such an extent that sometimes there is a cold

    war between ladies.It is not enough to have the capacity to perform within specific

    contexts, it becomes essential to be able to project constantly a winning image. Behind

    the emphasis upon performance lies a deeper interest in manipulating the feelings of


    In most of the North-East States, children are brought up very differently, appearance

    means so much to them. Since their childhood, they are taught to dress up properly, to

    wear matching clothes and are repeatedly told not to dirty their clothes even when they

    play. People who dont know how to dress up properly are sometimes looked down upon

    and regarded as those who are not socialized. People judge others by their outer

    appearance, therefore, if a person has a bad fashion taste, he is not smart, and might end up

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    being teased by others or people might laugh behind his back. Therefore no one wants to

    look bad in front of anyone so, they usually choose a matching and contrast pair even for

    their casual wear. Dressing up is the way of showing respect to others. They need to look

    presentable when they are seen by others. One important fact is that look comes before

    comfort. Though they are living in hilly area, people still prefer to wear 5th- 6th inch heels.

    The first thing that majority of people want when they enter a clothes shop is looks,

    followed by quality, price and lastly the brand.

    Fashion, as noted above, is a product of class distinction and operates like a number of other

    forms, honor especially, the double function of which consists in revolving within a given circle

    and at the same time emphasizing it as separate from others. Just as the frame of a picture

    characterizes the work of art inwardly as a coherent, homogeneous, independent entity and at

    the same outwardly severs all direct relations with the surrounding space, just as the uniform

    energy of such forms cannot be expressed unless we determine the double effect, both inward

    and outward, so honor owed its character, and above all its moral rights, to the fact that the

    individual in his personal honor at the same time represents and maintains that of his social

    circle and his class. These moral rights, however, are frequently considered unjust by those

    without the pale. Thus, fashion on the one hand signifies union with those in the same class,

    the uniformity of a circle characterized by it, and the exclusion of all other groups(p. 308, as

    cited by Edles&Appelrouth, 2010)

    Simmel wrote beautifully about the concept of fashion long time back which is still applicable

    for our worldtoday; in fact it is absolutely relevant in our research also. Today, people can

    browse the latest trend in market through internet, television, magazine, etc. Our survey of

    nearly 300 people of Gangtok included questions such as: what people look for when they go

    shopping? Why people in Gangtok are so influenced by Korean Fashion? Which is the winner,

    branded or Unbranded in Gangtok? What are their opinions about dressing up? What

    meaning does it have on people? In our survey, consumers were asked to fill up theten

    objective type questions and specify their preferences for outfits and brands. After our survey

    was done, we conducted structured interviews to get qualitative information.

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    This research project aims to study retail clothing in Gangtok. According to 2011 Census

    report, the population of Sikkim is the least in all of India i.e. around 6 lakhs. Gangtok city

    has branded stores like The Raymond shop, Puma, Reebok, Van Heusen, Levis, AllenSolly.

    But, there exist markets such as Lal Bazaar andM.G. Road who cater to a large proportion of

    the population. These markets areflooded with fashionable and cheap clothing from

    Bangladesh, Bangkok and China. An insight into the consumption patterns of clothes helps

    us understand the influences, choices, interests and preferences of people on clothing

    which talks a lot about Sikkim style and culture. Our initial aim was to trace the circulation

    of clothes in the market i.e. to study the production, distribution and consumption of

    clothes as a cycle. But later we realized