Day Two of the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week commenced with a seminar on ‘From The Runaway to The Racks - Forecasting the Stars’. Moderated by Harmeet Bajaj, the podium had an impressive line-up of speakers which included Didier Grumbach, President-Federation Francaise de la Couture Du Pret-a-Porter des Couturiers et des Createurs de Mode; Chantal Rousseau, VP, Bloomingdale’s (Europe); Adam Levin, Elle (South Africa); and Pradeep Hirani, CEO, Kimaya. Fashion designer Payal Jain also shared the dais with the eminent speakers.
Levin was among the first of the speakers. He put forward his point through a presentation titled ‘Revolution of style’ and laid emphasis on the South African fashion industry and drew similarities between the South African and the Indian fashion industry.
Rousseau began by complimenting the enthusiasm showed by the Indian designers. She highlighted the differences between department stores and boutique retailing. She said that while department stores had the advantage of space, they were also “very often less efficient than boutiques. Boutiques are incredibly personal. They are less commercial oriented.”
For Rousseau, boutiques scored over department stores in terms of business. This was quite apparent when she said, “I consider boutiques very good partners to our business.”
Grumbach, who is considered to be the most important name at the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week, wondered how Indian design would mix with the rest of the world. He said, “There is no nationalism in fashion. Fashion is what everyone brings to the world. Fashion is what makes people close to one another. It is important to note as to how we will show innovative talents from India to the world. The Indian design should be shown to the world.”
Grumbach laid emphasis on the need to know each other when he said, “We must know one another. Internet interaction is not enough. We must know our American, Japanese and French counterparts as well. We should find all opportunity to meet each other.”
On the issue of whether the business of fashion would encourage the effort of individual designers to create their own identity, Rousseau said, “I do not think customers will buy a piece because it relates to ethnicity of the designer. A customer would buy a piece if it suits her style. She would buy something that she cherishes as an art.”
Kimaya’s Hirani in his short speech highlighted the significance of the target audience which varied from location to location while saying, “If I have to buy for three locations, I have to keep the kind of audience in mind. In Delhi, there is need for higher embellishment, while in Mumbai, there is need for lesser embellishment.”
The seminar concluded with a significant question from the audience on whether we have a market outside India and what it took to be on the global map. Rousseau reply was, “I think crafts have better opportunity.” She was in favour of antiques when she said, “Antique market is everywhere and can please everyone and there will always be a customer for that.”
As far as Indian clothes are concerned, Rousseau said, “It is difficult to say that Indian clothes can sell by tones. The beauty of a fabric and embellishment can be saved in the garment.”