Let's not be fashionably late | india | Hindustan Times
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Let's not be fashionably late

For the first time, designers are facing punishing deadlines and tough schedules. Can they deliver? Vinod Nair finds out.

india Updated: May 20, 2006 14:30 IST
Vinod Nair

After the high-voltage action of the Fashion Weeks in Delhi and Mumbai comes the gruelling grind. And this time round, designers have their hands more than full.

This is the first time that Indian designers will be making clothes for different seasons in the same year.

After the Autumn-Winter 2006 presentations that ended in April, designers have four months to put together their collections for the Summer 2007 fashion weeks, dates for which have already been set.

The Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week (WLIFW) for Spring-Summer 2007 will be held in Delhi from August 30 to September 3. The Lakme India Fashion Week (LFW) begins from October 30 to November 4.

Race against time

"The coming months will be really hectic for some of us," says designer Tarun Tahiliani.

"There is plenty to do and we have very little time. One should make optimum use of resources and complete the task in hand well on time." The trick lies in the ability to manage volume.

This is something that most Indian designers are not familiar with. It takes considerable entrepreneurial skill to juggle consultations with buyers, draw up delivery schedules and ensure production as per individual requirements.

Of course, right through this very dry grind, the designer has to keep the creative juices inspired enough to innovate on designs for the next season.

Delivery report

Clearly, the challenge will not be easily met. Several designers have claimed to have had good response from buyers — both Indian and international. So can they deliver quality garments within the stipulated time frame?

"Very few of us have adequate production facilities that can take care of the load," says designer Ranna Gill. "Most designers outsource their production and that is not good enough when you are looking at quality."

"It's most important to deliver your commitment each season," says Ritu Kumar. "The infrastructure that a designer has should be able to produce the required number of garments well in time for them to reach the stores both in India and abroad."

Those who have been chosen to showcase their creative wares on global runways also have their task cut out. Unless of course a designer chooses to showcase the same collection as was shown here, which is unlikely.

Says Ashish Soni of the production he oversees, even as he readies himself for the Olympus (New York) Fashion Week in September, "Some of the styles which attracted orders have to be made in different sizes along with whatever other things which we usually do. Besides time management, one has to have the required production facilities."

Home run

The pressure is mounting because as much as the designers eye the international market, there's no ignoring the domestic scene, especially during the wedding season — the biggest money spinner.

This is the time that the whirr of activity is at its highest — from pre-wedding attire to wedding trousseau and post-wedding garments.

Clearly, tough days are ahead for them. Even if 25 per cent of the 100 odd designers who showcased at the fashion weeks manage to deliver their promise, the fraternity may move out of their Page 3 image.