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Indian fashion weeks perform better than European counterparts

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2015-04-06 13:00:00 – New Delhi

Meher Castelino, the country's first Miss India and now a fashion consultant puts the world scenario regarding fashion weeks which seem alarming and question the future existence of fashion shows in India. Right now, fashion weeks work for India is a new concept for the young Indian fashion industry.

But, as the years go by they may lose their charm like it is happening worldwide and there may be a decrease in buyer interest too. All over the world, fashion weeks are having a tough time surviving. Berlin has lost the biggest event, 'Bread and Butter' fashion event and so has Dusseldorf which used to hold the Igedo.

The concept of a fashion week in India, as distinct from stand-alone fashion shows that have been held for long, started in August 2000 as a joint initiative between the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI), cosmetics major Lakme and event management agency IMG. They split in 2005 and from the next year, the FDCI event continued in the national capital and the LFW began in Mumbai.

The plus points of LFW are that it serves as a platform for aspiring designers, dedicating an entire category to Gen Next, and has a special Indian Textile Day focused on promoting the use of traditional handlooms. With Bollywood stars coming to the ramp, it's also more glamorous.

According to fashion writer and commentator Jaydeep Ghosh LFW has become the perfect platform for Gen-Next or upcoming talent. All bright talent started at LFW - be it Rahul Mishra, Aneeth Arora and a few more.

FDCI president Sunil Sethi said that instead of giving morning slots to new designers, this time they chose to let them showcase in the afternoon, for more visibility.

It's a point to note as AIFW, in its previous avtar, had a Hi5 category for a few editions in the morning and this enabled new designers to showcase their creations on the runway. This category was missing this time.

Sethi told that they gave names like Amalraj Sengupta, Sahil Kochhar and few others a three-designer show where they could show more clothes rather than restricting themselves to just five to seven clothes. They want to give a chance to players who have not shown with us in the past and whose brand is fairly unknown. They will be new in the trade and are not our members

Unlike the LFW, where one doesn't have to be a member of any association to participate, showcasing at the FDCI event is only open to its members.

In its latest edition, the AIFW saw less designers doing runway shows compared to past editions. There was even a lesser Bollywood presence - which was a welcome change as the focus remained on fashion minus the celebrity distractions.

But despite a slowdown in Europe, Sethi said that the number of buyers this time was better than expected. Browns of London came after a gap of many years. Then there was Selfridges and American buyer Anthropologie who placed orders with 10 to 12 designers. There were five people from Japan, and most importantly our Middle East buyers (came). It was such a healthy trade event.

Ghosh said that Europe is going through economic slowdown and that has made their designers to stop aiming at them

In terms of designers, while over 100 established and rising designers were participating, only 25 showcased their work on the runway in keeping with the anniversary number.

A noteworthy factor was the culmination of the works of two creations each of 25 prominent designers for the grand finale, themed 'Crafts of India'.

Ace designer Wendell Rodricks opined that it is better to have less shows and have quality

This year, India saw two premier style events, the 25th edition the Amazon India Fashion Week (AIFW) in Delhi while Mumbai saw the 15th anniversary of the Lakme Fashion Week (LFW) event. Both the fashion weeks have carved out a niche for themselves and bode well for the industry.

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