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'Indian designers lack marketing skills'

business Updated: Sep 07, 2007 15:52 IST
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The Indian fashion industry has huge potential but international buyers feel designers are unable to capture a bigger pie in the global market as they lack marketing skills.

"Indian designers are not famous abroad and global customers mainly want to buy branded stuff," Kichiro Motoyama, president of Japanese fashion store Sun Motoyama Co Ltd, told IANS.

But Motoyama said he was planning to buy silhouettes for up to $60,000, which would include nearly 500 outfits of Tarun Tahiliani, Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna.

"Designers are very localised in their approach. They must do the promotion and marketing more aggressively to compete with other internationally renowned names. It is very difficult to convince customers to buy Indian designer clothes as the labels are not famous," said Mohammed Salah of designer store Moda In of Kuwait.

The Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week (WIFW) has completed two days, but not many buyers can be spotted. Though 63 international buyers have registered, only a couple of them have turned up till now.

Designers like Tarun Tahiliani have received orders for over 400 silhouettes, Rina Dhaka over 100, Anjana Bhargava and Varun Bahl about 50. Puja Arya, Rajesh Pratap Singh and Vikram Phadnis are expecting good business in the coming days.

Buyers felt that there was a lack of individuality and perfection in the collection of Indian designers to attract global customers, especially when the on-going New York Fashion Week and upcoming Paris Fashion Week run parallel to the WIFW.

"Don't forget that competition is tough and Indian designers have to give buyers an extremely strong reason to come here rather than going for other shows," remarked Armand Hadida, founder of French fashion store L'Eclaireur.

"There are two major problem with designers here. Firstly they are not perfect, I mean some are good with fabric and techniques while others are good with design and cuts. They also lack the personal touch in their collections.

"Secondly they are not sure about their target audience. They must decide whether they want to sell in the Indian market or Middle East or Europe and work accordingly," he said.

Buyers also said that there wasn't enough international media coverage for the fashion extravaganza.

"Every year we bring some fashion journalists along with us on our own expense, so that the Indian fashion week can be written about and customers become aware about the labels. Unfortunately this year we couldn't work out the same so there will be no coverage of the fashion week in our country," said Motoyama, a regular buyer at the WIFW.