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Bench-mark decisions

Lack of proper selection often leave fashion week runways with a lot to be desired..., writes Vinod Nair.

fashion and trends Updated: Mar 08, 2008 14:38 IST
Vinod Nair

Let's see which one is going to be better this time; will it be the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week or the Lakme Fashion Week? But how do we judge?

The answer is simple: A fashion week where talented designers and real buyers are seen should ideally pass muster. More often than not, weeks before a fashion week begins, press handouts are released ‘revealing' the number of buyers and designers participating in the event. But on ground zero, only the number of designers matches this illustrious list. If you look hard, you may find a few registered buyers.

Clear the clutter
The argument has always been that inviting buyers to runway shows are the designers' prerogative. Fair enough. A designer should ideally decide whom he wants at his show depending upon his style and aesthetics. I wish the same rule applies to the media invites as well. The designers should have the right to have the publications they want. At least this is how things are done at all the fashion weeks abroad.

This can eliminate the carefree wanderers in their mid 40s who get their names registered as journalists to have free meals, loud burps followed by desserts for their eyes the sight of 36-24-36 walking about in their catch-meif-you-can demeanours.

Moving away from the burps, the organisers must ensure that those taking part in fashion weeks should get a fair share of their deal by way of buyers' presence and perhaps their orders.

Jury matters
To attain this, the organising body (whether it's the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) or the LakmeIMG) should first make sure that a jury, comprising experienced members in the industry, decides what should appear on the runway.

The members of the jury should first be convinced that what is going to be shown on the runway sticks to seasonal briefs and demands of the market. What I have seen happening at fashion weeks so far is that either it has no jury selection or those who have a jury always go for celebrity names.

The jury itself should be respectable. Society bimbettes or small, inexperienced names that are big by virtue of the bigger publications they have behind them just won't do.

Professionals on board
What really matters is that the jury members should be hardcore professionals - from retail, media, experienced members from the organising body itself, etc - who can make fair decisions keeping the quality and commercial viability of the event in mind.

The collections must be left under the purview of an able jury, then let's see how things take a turn from there.