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Style partners

Designers are tying up with corporate houses for mass appeal at the Fashion Week, writes Isha Singh Sawhney.

india Updated: Aug 30, 2006 15:56 IST

Designer wear conjures up images of fancy attires at exorbitant prices. But with a miniscule clientele for such creations, designers have realised that they need to do more to survive — quite a few of them have tied up with corporate houses to reach out to the middle class.

The latest is Sabyasachi Mukherji, who has joined hands with Bombay Dyeing.

Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna along with Monisha Jaising were the first to retail clothes from Wills Lifestyle stores across India.

Raghavendra Rathore has a tieup with Shoppers Stop where he sells under the name Kasbahh.

And post WIFW, Manish Malhotra’s designs will also be available on Wills Lifestyle racks.

Others with such tie-ups are Manish Arora-Reebok and Suneet Varma-Tuscan Verve.

Big deals: It makes sound business sense. Says Sabyasachi, “This tie-up gives me a huge consumer base. A collection of bedsheets, pillow cases, bed covers, all bearing my signature prints, will now be sold from over 500 stores across India.” This range will also have prints which Sabyasachi will showcase at the upcoming New York Fashion Week Spring/ Summer 2007 collection.

This also gives designers access to a more organised sales network. After a successful tie-up with the FDCI for two fashion weeks in Delhi, Wills Lifestyle will now be roping in 10 top designers to retail through its stores.

Cut to size: To keep in sync with the change, designers modify their creations without comprising on the fabric. Says Rahul Khanna, “We’ve fewer embellishments for this collection priced between Rs 1,000-Rs 8,000.”

Raghavendra’s range is priced between Rs 800-Rs 1,800. He adds: “This is a logical step. With two fashion weeks, designers have to keep in touch with the public’s pulse too.” The corporate houses too benefit.

Says Atul Chand of ITC’s lifestyle retailing business, “An increase in creativity for the corporate label and a more formalised base for designers is the outcome of such a tie-up,” with which Arun Bawasingha of Bombay Dyeing agrees. Seems couture is fine but prêt-aporter is where the money is.