Was this year’s Lakme Fashion Week (LFW) slow or successful? With the crowds missing and shows carrying on peacefully, that was the question on everybody’s mind.
It’s the lack of energy that has left many unhappy. Designer Anupama Dayal for instance has plenty of compliments for the backstage production crew and the organisational skills of the IMG team but, she points out, there doesn’t seem to be a link between the main show area (MSA) and the Source, where the designers’ stalls are located.
“The buyer turnout is abysmal this season. The fashion week also coincided with Ramzan so perhaps many of the Middle Eastern buyers dropped out,” she says.
The sheer distance between the designer stalls and the main show area have put a dampener on the event, feels Digvijay Singh, who started off at Lakme Fashion Week as a Gen Next designer at one time.
“When it was being held at the NCPA, the attendees and celebrities would come over to the stalls and we’d make sales. In fact, once Anil Kapoor came over to my stall and purchased half my collection on the spot,” says Singh, insisting on the need to lure international buyers to the event to boost sales.
On the other hand, designer Rocky S is pleased with the way things have worked out this season.
“I think they’re being strict with the passes this time, so only serious buyers and media are allowed to enter. In the past, the rows would be full of friends and family, while important people wouldn’t get seats,” says Rocky, who believes that the sales will speak for the show’s success.
We mean business
“The buyers’ response is fantastic,” he says. “The younger designers will have to get used to this style of functioning because this is the way it’s done in London and Milan as well. It’s more business-oriented now.”
“The number of designers seem to have diminished. Many of the big designers don’t even have their stalls there,” rues Shaan Thadani, owner of White, a Delhi-based high-end store.
“For a buyer to spend that much money coming into the city to find only three or four designers to stock doesn’t make economic sense,” he adds.
Thadani would also like to see more accessory designers participating, “Lakme needs to look at the accessory market more seriously, there needs to be more for a buyer to see, whether local or international,” he says.
However, Vikrama Raizada, Head of Fashion, IMG, believes they have worked to increase the flow of traffic between the MSA and the Source.
“We’ve started a shuttle bus service which was very well received. We’ve also started the buyer’s lounge and on the first day, a high tea for buyers and media was organised there. The goal is to make the Source a business hub where people will want to go,” says Raizada.