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More big bosses

Has FDCI started acting tough with its member designers under the pretext of their welfare? The answer probably is yes, ponders Vinod Nair.

fashion and trends Updated: Dec 27, 2007 13:23 IST
Vinod Nair

When the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) was formed, I like many others, assumed that it would be for the betterment of designers and the fashion industry. No doubt, along with many other things, the inception of the council also brought in the concept of FashionWeeks, an event seen as a commercial venture around the world.

Objective lost
Fashion designers started feeling and functioning as One' under an umbrella called the FDCI. Has that feeling changed now? Has FDCI started acting tough with its member designers under the pretext of their welfare? The answer probably is yes, it might have.

Ever since Lakme and IMG drifted away from FDCI and kicked off another fashion week in Mumbai, FDCI has been restricting its member designers from participating in it.

Real concerns
Even in its Code of Conduct circulated to its member designers, the apex body of fashion designers in India has asked its members, albeit in a round-about manner, not to take part in any other similar events in the same season. If the FDCI is truly concerned with the growth of Indian designers and the industry itself, restrictive clauses like its Code of Conduct will not help. It's not enough to say that it is there for the welfare of the fashion industry.

To begin with, I do not believe that if a designer feels that by taking part in more than one fashion week in the same season, will further his business interests. More importantly, if FDCI is really

Set them free
During my interaction with our fashion designers, I have seen that some of them want to take part in the Lakme Fashion Week (LFW being the only other similar event held during the same season). The Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week, held under the aegis of FDCI and the Lakme Fashion Week, organised by Lakme are two different events in terms of buyer profile.

For instance, the set of foreign buyers which attends the LFW is never seen in WLIFW. The Grand Madam of NewYork FashionWeek, Fern Mallis , who makes it a point to attend LFW each season to pick talent for fashion weeks owned and runby IMG in New York, Los Angeles, Sydney, Melbourne and Singapore, is not seen during the FDCI show.

Another legend with deep pockets, AlbertMorris of Browns,London, is seen season after season at the LFW not just buying, but also giving valuable tips to young designers.

Free market
So, it's understandable that designers feel theycanget somethingmore by taking part in more than one event. In fact, when I saw a few designers taking part in both the events last season, Iwas beginning to think that things were getting backontrack.But it certainly doesn't seem so now. Restrictions of any kindmust go if the industry is to grow. After all, as the American writer, Elbert Hubbard said, The path of least resistance makes rivers run crooked!