Fashion and Trade – Room for both on the runway

October 22, 2008

i.jpgMy previous post introducing the Delhi Fashion Week (DFW), dwelt on its capabilities as a newcomer in India’s fashion field.

Set up after organizers of the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week fell into dispute, the object of the new fashion event on the block stimulated amplified suspense.

As I wrote half way into the DFW, the success of the event was clear.

Shows had run smoothly and spurred good turnouts. I had yet to discover the Wills Lifestyle week and how the two weeks compared.

First impressions at Wills Lifestyle week left me agreeing with my fellow reporter who claimed it would be more “buzzing”. 

circus.jpgHustle and bustle and the sponsors’ busy marketing stalls made for a more exhibitionist and business-orientated atmosphere.

Trade aspects aside, actually attending the shows didn’t earn much difference between the two venues.

Both settings delivered a blend of entertainment, with circus and space themes, a live band, unique choreography, and dramatic make-up. This, all without even mentioning the clothes.

Designers, eager to make their indent in the international market deeper, largely focused on western style as opposed to the traditional Indian wear. 

After all, much of the hype leading up to the fashion weeks has been how India sits within the international sphere of fashion. 

I noted with interest the attire of the audiences. Fashion was high off the runway, as well as on it as spectators were dressed in the latest international trends.

pinkbr.jpgIndian designers are not only working to reach out to the global fashion industry but to satisfy the country’s domestic demands. 

The split of the fashion weeks remains at odds.  It wasn’t all bad and designer Rathore is optimistic.

“It’s a new place but the people are the same. The buyers are split so there is a positive.”

Intertwined with the upbeat mood at the DFW, there were sentiments of sadness as designers felt the dispute has torn apart the Indian fashion family.

“It’s really sad. We are all like a big family. The organizers need to get their act together,” a designer said.

A reader commented in response to my last post ‘But whats the point of holding a separate fashion week in the first place? I guess it just brings down the quality’.

Part of my response to her is not so much the quality as the misfortune of not being able to enjoy the splendor of both fashion events.

If I feel the split as an onlooker, what are the implications for the buyers? 

Industry insider Vishakha Kumar said the numbers of buyers have actually gone up from last season. 

“It hasn’t really affected business. The buyers generally go to the stalls and not the shows,” she said. rt.jpg

This way they can get a better feel of the clothes and their finishings and it allows participation in both fashion weeks.

I think the establishment of a second fashion week in Delhi with the formation of the Fashion Foundation of India could be a major step forward in strengthening the developing industry and making room for new designers.

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