With the highest number of new participants and the strongest line up of sponsors ever, the upcoming edition of Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week (WIFW) will mark not only the maturing of the country's fashion industry but will bring a lot of money into its kitty.
The 11th edition of the fashion event by the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) starts in New Delhi on Wednesday.
"The forthcoming event has the greatest number of sponsors," said Rathi Vinay Jha, director general of FDCI. It reiterated the synergy of business and fashion, she added.
Hectic preparations are in full swing at the Pragati Maidan exhibition complex to ensure the five-day long event runs like clockwork.
The indigenous and international brands associating with the WIFW autumn-winter 2008 event include ITC Group's Wills Lifestyle as the title sponsor and Fiama Di Wills, Chivas, Hewlett Packard, Audi, Birla Cellulose, Reliance Mutual Fund, Elle magazine, Le Meridien, Big FM and Yahoo India as co-sponsors.
As many as 84 designers, established and new, will display their works over five action-packed days. WIFW this year will include 10 budding designers and 15 new entrants. While all participants will get a chance to display their designs in the exhibition area, 61 select designers will showcase their collections on the ramp in 40 shows.
"As WIFW is India's premier business-to-business design event, it proves a tremendous launch pad for new talent and also facilitates employment opportunities for budding designers and models," Jha said.
For a ramp show, a designer will have to pay Rs.200,000 plus the service tax. Space in the exhibition area is going at Rs.10,000 per square metre. So a 3x3 square metre stall will cost Rs.90,000, not to mention service tax.
This year, designers will be showcasing their collections under three broad categories - Contemporary, Synthesis/Heritage and Creator.
Under the Heritage segment, designers will exhibit their collections that celebrate and promote India's unique legacy of clothing, craft and textile. Synthesis will showcase apparel that attempt to merge Indian sensibilities with the international ethos.
The Contemporary category will incorporate ultra prêt clothing in accordance with international standards.
The Creator section gives a free hand to the style gurus to make something original. Designers will blend innovation with new techniques.
Besides famous fashion stores like Alan Bilzerian and Anastasia from the US, Beams from Tokyo and Biffi's from Milan, five public relations and sales agents from France will also be present at the WIFW.
Renowned fashionistas and journalists from around the world, including representatives from the Canadian Council, will participate. The final day has been reserved for buyers.
The edition will also encourage eco-friendly fashion on the ramp with at least nine budding designers showcasing their collections made up of eco-friendly fibre - Birla Cellulose - indicative of the fraternity's increased environmental consciousness.
Among the designers participating are Ritu Kumar, Vikram Phadnis, Mandira Wirk, Manoviraj Khosla, Suneet Verma, Kavita Bhartiya, Gauri and Nainika, Namrata Joshipura, Lecoanet Hemant, Ranna Gill and Rohit Bal.
This apart, Malini Ramani, Deepika Govind, Falguni and Shane Peacock, Manish Arora, Rajesh Pratap Singh, Raghavendra Rathore, Ranna Gill, Rina Dhaka, Shantanu and Nikhil, Surily Goel and Tarun Tahiliani will also feature at WIFW.
Also six aspiring models, selected at the New Faces Going Places auditions conducted in January, will join 48 top-notch models on the fashion week ramp.
Some of them can well see their career graphs zooming as nearly a dozen models who cleared the auditions earlier have gone places. They include Neha Kapur, Upen Patel, Piya Trivedi and Sonalika Sahay.
The biannual event will also preview some of the best-established and upcoming names among models, choreographers, and hair and make-up teams.
Splashing colours and varied silhouettes, WIFW promises loads of razzmatazz and fun. For all those who can't see it, Big FM will set up a radio booth at the venue.