The madness begins as Wills India Fashion Week starts today. In five days, over 60 designers will take to the ramp, and for everyone in fashion, the Capital will be the centre of attention. With designers from all over the country, WIFW truly represents Indian fashion and sets the trends for the next season. Today, there is Hyderabad’s Anand Kabra, Mumbai’s Surily Goel, Goa’s Wendell Rodricks and Kolkata’s Kiran Uttam Ghosh, and Delhi can be a daunting task for them. In Milan, Paris, and London, it is common for designers from other cities and countries to show but they all have bases there.
“This is where serious business takes place, but a show in Delhi requires a lot of work,” says Ghosh, who’s showing at WIFW after two years. The main issue is filling those all-important seats, especially the front row. “What should be the easiest part is the hardest part,” she rues. Out of station designers often complain about how unfriendly our fashionistas are and that there’s nothing worse for a designer than an empty hall. Then they find that the media, too, has a better rapport with local designers. This unfamiliarity often see them avoiding solo shows, and instead pairing up with others, most often a Delhi designer. Ghosh is today showing with Poonam Bhagat, and Kabra with Payal Pratap Singh. Surily, too, is pairing up with Geisha Designs. There are also cost issues — fittings mean extra trips, designers need staff to help manage the stalls and teams need to be flown in. Basically for an out of station designer, things can be both expensive and unwelcoming.
Yet they still come back season after season. “For an outstation designer who does not get to meet people from this industry regularly, the week helps you do that over a five-day period; be it media, buyers, clients, designers or models,” says Kabra, who opens for the second time running. There’s more to the week than shows, especially for out-of-town designers. The non-Delhi designers actually add the ‘Pan India’ feel for fashion week, and are hence vital to make it feel like a fashion trade event. For instance, today the Ministry of Textiles is presenting the North-East Show by Atsu Sekhose, where the designer will showcase a celebration of silks and colours from the region. It truly is a taste of what is happening in the different corners of India. So, if Delhi really wants its capital of fashion crown to shine, perhaps we need to be more friendly to our out-of-town designers?