More prized birds fleeing the coop? Despite attempts to rejuvenate itself, Mumbai’s fashion week might be further trimmed this season, with top designers like Raakesh Agarwal, Anand Kabra, Rocky S and Asmita Marwah, many of whom were discovered at Lakme Fashion Week (LFW), choosing to skip the event and joining a popular fashion tour instead.
"These are paid tours which allow us to showcase in cities like Bangalore, Chennai and Kolkata, where we wouldn’t travel otherwise," says Agarwal. "I’m not worried about cost of production, when I can expand my clientele."
The Blender’s Pride Fashion Tour kicks off on August 5 in Mumbai, followed almost immediately by the Winter Festive edition of LFW. The competing time schedule makes it difficult for designers to create two separate collections, forcing them to drop one or the other.
Bollywood’s blue-eyed boy, Rocky S, says he has no time to create a new lineup for LFW, and will also be giving it a miss. "For designers like me, buyers set up appointments and place orders after fashion week anyway. I don’t want to show in Mumbai, where I’m already known. It’s better suited to upcoming designers." Another LFW discovery, Anand Kabra, will also be MIA this season. "I’ve been doing show-after-show for the past couple of years and needed some time off to get my bearings. These fashion tours are simpler because they’re not season driven, the pressures of doing business don’t exist."
But CEO of Lakme Lever, Anil Chopra, points out that while many designers are moving away, names like Rohit Bal, Narendra Kumar and Neeta Lulla are returning to the fold this season.
He says, “The designers who are unhappy with our format are a minority, and we must pay heed to the majority.
For those who choose to show at LFW, it’s our job to promote them. Those that have chosen to show elsewhere do it to further their own business.”