Fashion weeks: Smaller cities the new entrants

Wednesday, 05 January 2011

India’s fashion associations, holding fort in Delhi and Mumbai, are looking at a serious decentralisation of their power. Besides, Pune is the latest city joining the fray of cities holding fashion weeks. Sunil Sethi, President, Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) says they themselves had five fashion weeks last year, the two pret shows in Delhi, two couture weeks in Delhi and Mumbai respectively, and the men’ s week. Sethi feels the smaller cities having fashion weeks are more like fashion ‘melas’ where a rich sponsor gets to treat his friends and family to a glamorous event.

But in all these glamorous events it’s not the designer who’s reaping the benefits. Designer duo Dev R Nil who started their fashion innings at Mumbai’s Lakme Fashion Week, and then moved to Kolkata Fashion Week (KFW) before finally settling with the FDCI’s Wills Lifestyle India Fashion week, is hopeful that the fashion week fad will die a natural death. The duo says it’s just a money-making racket and a way for everybody to get their 15 minutes of fame. The people who really benefit are the organizers and the crew like the models, choreographers and make-up artistes. In the case of KFW, the modeling agency had not been paid even a year after the shows ended.

Sethi agrees, he feels the kind of people who attend these events are not there to appreciate fashion, but to ogle at the models. These fashion weeks give the nouvuea riche of smaller towns a chance to hob-nob in glamorous circles where they would otherwise not be able to buy their way in. Most of the smaller fashion weeks, which claim to have big names as part of the line-up, have to pay big money to get these designers to participate.

Babal Saboo the MD of Pune Fashion Week, however says that Pune and other fashion friendly cities like Chandigarh, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Kolkata who have all attempted to strike out on their own, have growing luxury markets that are as yet untapped. Moreover, buyers from these cities do not travel to Delhi or Mumbai to see the shows.

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