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Western buyers not keen

Ethnic designs and elaborate costumes are not earning much greenbacks from buyers.

india Updated: Apr 09, 2006 17:00 IST

Ethnic designs and elaborate costumes may earn Indian designers a mouthful of praise from critics, but they are definitely not earning them much greenbacks from buyers.

The Wills Lifestyle India Fashion week, which is trying to establish itself as the original fashion event of the country by combining creativity and commerce, has disappointed buyers from the US and Europe, besides Japan.

They feel that the designs from the subcontinent are not yet practical. "Indian designers are very creative, but the originality should also be commercially viable. At the moment, Indian designers do not think in those terms," said Moto Yama, a buyer from Japan.

Brocade, bright colours and bollywood-inspired kitsch are typical of almost all designers' creations showcased at the fashion week.

"Clothes by Indian designers are not a growing business in Europe. But it has a niche - a group of collectors buy these clothes," said Daniel Paillioumou, a buyer from France, adding that Indian designer clothes require toning down. "We have to mix and match them with everyday clothes to promote them."

'Tone Down'
There were about 70 buyers from 12 countries at the Wills India fashion week, which saw about 80 designers, including many youngsters, showcasing their wares through 40 shows.

Bloomingdale's Vice President (Operations) Chantal Rousseau seemed to voice the opinion of most buyers when she said Indian designers were not yet ready for the international market.

European buyers were avoiding elaborate designs and embellishments and leaning more towards cuts, fabrics and silhouettes or going for collections from well-known designers like Rohit Bal, Abu Jani and Tarun Tahiliani.

But the Fashion Design Council of India-affiliated fashion event has its own argument. "It's a mistaken belief that whatever is on the ramp is for sale.

The ramp is a place for the designers to showcase their competence and creativity. Buyers can talk to the designers and customise the clothes according to the needs of their market," said FDCI's Director General Rathi Vinay Jha.