Pockets no longer just a man thing – Deccan Herald

Pockets no longer just a man thing – Deccan Herald

Pockets no longer just a man thing – Deccan Herald

The ‘Pocket Song’, a video that went viral in 2021, put the spotlight on the absence of pockets in women’s clothing. The patriarchy and domesticity of women kept this utilitarian feature out of their clothing for centuries. And decorative or fake pockets were never pockets really!   
Things are beginning to change. Dresses, kurtas and other ensembles are featuring functional pockets. 
DH on Saturday asked designers and brands about the challenges of sewing pockets in women’s wear. 
More prominent 
Though pockets aren’t a new phenomenon (see box), they are more prominent in the women’s fashion industry only now, observes Shruti Sancheti, fashion designer.
“The modern-day woman needs pockets not just for fashion but also to carry out her daily tasks smoothly,” she says.
Pockets are not just limited to pants and jeans now — you can find them in lehengas and linen kurtas. Customers prefer clothes with pockets as they look stylish, increase comfort and create a sense of independence. “Lack of functional pockets restricts women’s ability to explore public spaces,” she says.
Bigger pockets now
Productivity matters most in today’s fashion, especially in the Covid era, says Shivani R, managing director of manSi by Sudha Kumar, a clothing brand. “Pockets are bigger now. There is no point in having pockets that are just for style but not useful like in the skinny jeans earlier,” she says.
Women’s slacks, dresses, blazers and other outfits often had fake or no pockets. Earlier, many designers deemed pockets as ‘too ugly’ for women’s clothing. Others thought women needed them. “These decisions have created a chasm in women’s fashion for long. The evolution is finally happening now,” she concludes.
Style quotient
Referring to the viral video, Kartik Sapra, co-founder of Amydus, a clothing brand, says social media doesn’t bring about change, it only amplifies human desires. “The need for pockets in dresses was there before. It’s just that many came forward expressing their desires through reels, and brands did what they should have done earlier — added pockets in dresses.” 
Pockets aren’t just for functionality now, says Prakhar Gupta, founder of Untung. Earlier, they were mostly concealed but now they play an important role in the overall look. “Various sizes, embroideries and prints are being used to make pockets more aesthetically appealing,” he says.
While women carried purses with them, men solely depended on pockets to keep their belongings. Thus, men’s pockets used to be bigger, he observes.
“But since many women want to avoid carrying purses or wallets, pockets are bigger and incorporated in all kinds of clothing now,” he says.
Challenges in the making
Adding pockets to Indo-Western clothes is always a challenge, says Shivani R, managing director with a clothing brand.
“Questions like ‘what should be the pocket’s size; how to place it right, distance from the arm to the pocket, should it be seen or a peek-a-boo one’ are considered when designing pockets,” she explains.
Once the pocket is added to the dress, altering or changing it can also become challenging, she observes.
Types of pockets
Patch pocket 
Flap pocket
Secret or side seam 
Zippered 
Hidden 
Expanding and cargo pockets
Kangaroo pocket
Draped pocket
Even in saris
Women have come a long way fighting non-feminist fashion, says Kartik Sapra, co-founder of a plus-size apparel brand. “It is important that women look fashionable without sacrificing comfort. The fashion industry is recognising that. More and more home-grown designers are coming up with ideas for feasible pockets even in Indian kurtas and saris,” he adds.
Too small?
Only 40% of women’s front pockets can properly fit one of the three leading smartphone brands and less than half of women’s front pockets can fit a wallet.
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