Is Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week (WLIFW) moving out of Delhi over the contentious issue of entertainment tax exemption? We find out
The Capital’s fashion circuit is abuzz with speculation that Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week might move out of Delhi to an adjoining area in the NCR. The reason being that the Delhi High Court has declined to interfere with the issue of entertainment tax being levied by the government on ramp shows organised by the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI).
The fashion body maintains that none of these events are ticketed and that entry is exclusively by invitation, both for domestic and international buyers, associated professionals and the media. Due to this, no entertainment tax should be levied. FDCI president Sunil Sethi has clarified that it’s not an entertainment industry, these are B2B events and if he has to take the Delhi Fashion Week outside Delhi to the NCR region, he will. “We would like to stay in Delhi. But if we don’t get tax exemption, we have no other choice,” says Sethi.
Delhi designers are not too thrilled with the idea of the event moving out of the Capital, but say they’ll go along with it if the neighbouring states (Haryana or Uttar Pradesh) provide a full tax exemption and better facilities. “It would be such a pity if the fashion week is moved out of Delhi that has always been the fashion Capital of India. Fashion shows are totally trade events and not commercial/entertainment events,” says veteran designer Ritu Kumar.
Fashion designer Shantanu Mehra says, “Shifting of venue and cities is not a good idea but Delhi Government is acting stubborn and FDCI is right on its part. If the shows shift to NCR area, it won’t be much of a problem as they also provide for a better infrastructure and are in close proximity to Delhi.” Designer Raakesh Agarvwal believes that Gurgaon and Noida have better exposition facilities. “Our government should learn something from Milan and Paris fashion weeks. Their government gives them all kinds of support, tax exemption, loan facilities and full support. Designers won’t mind going to Gurgaon or Noida, they have better exposition facilities.”
However, some feel that this threat of moving out is just a ploy to put pressure on the government to grant tax exemption. “The fashion week will have to stay in Delhi. FDCI knows that getting sponsors and buyers to a faraway NCR location would not be easy. But making a noise about moving out may put pressure on the government,” says a designer, on condition of anonymity.