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Images Fashion Forum: 97-mn strong middle class segment emerging as potential buyers for luxury brands

25-January-2007
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Images Fashion Forum: 97-mn strong middle class segment emerging as potential buyers for luxury brands

The Images Fashion Forum was held in Mumbai on January 23-24. The Forum was conceptualised seven years ago and provides a platform for the fashion and retail industry to meet and discuss the needs of the emerging global Indian looking for a global shopping experience at home. The forum saw several Indian and international retail bigwigs forth their views.

The participants urged the Government to rationalise the taxation structure in the country so that luxury brands were available to the Indian customers at globally competitive prices. They also asked the Government to take a fresh look at FDI, VAT and other duties in order to promote the sale of luxury brands.

The speakers stressed on the lack of appropriate retail space, the renting of space in 5-star hotels, which works out to be expensive, poor roads structure and very heavy taxation (for luxury cars). According to them, these were some of the reasons that made Indian customers feel that they were not getting their value for money.

The session on ‘The Business of Luxury’ was anchored by Devyani Raman, CEO, Leading Brands of the World. The panelists included Tarun Joshi, CEO, Brand House Retail; Robert Hennin, VP and Country Head, American Express; Davide Carelli of Georgio Carelli; and Sanjay Kapoor, Managing Director, Genesis Colors. The panelists pointed out that there was a 97-million strong middle class segment emerging as potential buyers for luxury brands.

In the session on ‘Brand Pride’, Bill D’ Arienzo, CEO, WDA Brand Marketing Solutions, USA, said that branding was an external and internal exercise that involved igniting a passion for the brand among the employees while persuading the consumers to embrace the brand. He further said “It is an exercise that is driven by the CEO, involves all stakeholders, constant assessment and refining of every touchpoint and raising the bar continuously.”

The session on ‘Funding Fashion Future’ was anchored by Prashant Desai, Group Investor Relations and New Ventures, Future Group. The discussion centered around the pros and cons of debt, equity and other fundings to promote brands.

Images Fashion Forum spokesperson, Meher Castelino said, “Day two started off on a high note with a very enthusiastic audience supporting their respective teams in the Fashion and Retail Quiz hosted by Derek O’Brien. This was followed by a series of enlightening panel discussions and brainstorming sessions by Indian and international experts, for which we have received very positive feedback from the delegate contingent.”

The Forum ended with the Lycra Images Fashion Awards.

Representatives of international companies like Channel, Bin Hendi Enterprises, Baccarose, Porsche, Benetton, Orra, Swatch, Pepe, Triumph, Nike, Tommy Hilfiger, Levi’s, Mango, Aldo, La Cenza, and Adidas, were among those who attended the Forum.

International speakers included Carol Williams, President, May Co. Int., USA; Meg Lustman, Group Strategy and Development Director, Mosaic Fashions, UK; Catherine Dixon, Senior Analyst, GDR Creative Intelligence, UK; Bill D’Arienzo, CEO, WDA BrandMarketing Solutions, USA; Jon Penrice, EVP, Apparel Global Marketing, Invista, Switzerland; Klaus N Hang, Editor & Publisher, Sportswear Int.; Jeffrey Doltis, MD, The Savile Row Co UK; and Aziz Merchant, Director, Brandz International Inc., UAE.

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