The business of fashion is a serious one and the ongoing Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week (WLIFW) in the Capital is showcasing the best of Indian haute couture. Apart from the designers and their muses, the event is seeing the participation of over 150 buyers – both domestic and international.
That the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) sees WLIFW as a major marketing event for the Indian fashion industry can be seen from the fact that the fashion week has been made a bi-annual event.
Said Rathi Vinay Jha, Director General, FDCI, “Every event we do is a learning experience. It’s a collective effort put in by FDCI, PDM as well as suggestions from designers are also taken into account to make the event a success.”
Dismissing the fact that the number of buyers are less this time, Jha said, “Despite the holiday season, we have seen a participation of over 150 buyers and the response has been quite good.”
She informed that this was the first time that buyers from Japan and Israel were participating at the WLIFW.
Amid all the fanfare, WLIFW is about serious business and the contentment was quite apparent when exchange4media tried to gauge the reactions of the designers on the fourth day of the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week.
Designer Mandira Wirk, while speaking about the maturity that the event had attained, said, “The response of the buyers have been quite favourable, but we are still in the process of confirming the orders. Till the time the money transaction takes place, you can’t say anything. But overall, I am quite contented with the reaction of the buyers.”
She supplies her collection to the Middle East, the US and the European market. Buyers from South Africa, Kuwait, Dubai and Singapore have also shown interest in her collection.
On the issue of marketing Indian fashion in the global sphere, Wirk said, “It is not only about showcasing your designs, but also being recognised for serious business. India is coming of age as far as fashion is concerned. We have to make it a serious business. The only issue that we need to address is production, which has to increase in order to meet the growing demand now that the event has become bi-annual.”
Another designer, Anamika Khanna, was also satisfied with the buyers’ response. “Apart from Indian buyers, we have seen a good response internationally from the Middle East, Italy and Paris,” she said.
Khanna stressed that Indian fashion was not lacking in any way. In order to meet the global standards, she said, “We need to do a bit of packaging and marketing. Designers have created an image in India, but they need to fix their schedules in order to do some serious business.”
Jha added, “Our designers need to know the markets that they want to target and issues like infrastructure and capacity building need to be addressed in order to match the global standards. Besides, training, constant orientation of trends and production has to increase.”
This time the event has been stretched to an extra day on September 4 dedicated to creating opportunities for buyers and participating designers. The day has been exclusively reserved for designers to talk business.