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No int'l buyers for ethnicity at LFW

Indian fashion designers must develop an international idiom if they are to go global, say international buyers.

india Updated: Apr 09, 2006 17:32 IST

Indian fashion designers must develop an international idiom if they are to go global, say experts participating in the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week here.

"Ethnicity will not sell. At best it is an embellishment. It's only the international look that will sell," Didier Grumbach of the French Design Council told a seminar on the sidelines of the Fashion Week.

"Indian talent has to undergo an idiom change. Once that happens, the rest of the industry will follow."

The seminar was on the theme "From the Runway To The Racks - Forecasting the Stars" but instead became a tutorial on what Indian designers needed to do to go global.

The theme that emerged was: go Western or perish.

The way Chantal Rousseau, Bloomingdale's vice president for Europe, looked at it, the Indian look could never become global. At best, it could only embellish Western ensembles.

"Tradition doesn't make for fashion. What matters is the architecture of the garment and that architecture has to be international," Rousseau said.

"An exotic object will always be appealing because an antique market is always there. If clothes are works of art rather than being functional, they will go into a museum," she said.

"You can present yourself as an exotic muse the West wants but that's not going to sell clothes," said Adam Levin of the South African edition of fashion magazine Elle.

According to him: "If you sell ethnicity to get attention, the clothes get lost in the process. It's like being trapped in a curio store."