Ana-Mika, the dream of India's first international label
Indian designer Anamika Khanna has joined hands with international apparel promoters Amit and Radhika Rastogi to create what they say would be the first international fashion label of India.
Called "Ana-Mika for Boho", the brand would be the main flagship of Boho-London, a new company formed by the threesome.
"The time was ripe to launch a label with Indian sensibilities, a truly global brand," said Amit Rastogi, who said the label would not be touted as an "Indian" product.
"We want to have a sense of mystery about the label," said Rastogi, one of the 400 buyers participating at the fifth India fashion week now on in The Grand Hotel here.
"We want people to wonder who the designer is. Ana-Mika, if you think, could be from any part of the world. Japan, for instance."
The Rastogis have gathered venture capital funds of around two million pounds as initial investment in the brand and they say it's just the first phase.
"The money is required for all the initial costs of manufacture, promotion and expansion of the brand. It's about as much as we think is required for four seasons."
The fashion calendar is divided into two calendars - spring-summer and fall-winter - each year.
The label would first be launched in Britain and then be spread to France, Belgium and other parts of Europe. The first Boho store would be launched in Notting Hill in central London this year and then the brand would start retailing from Harrods, Harvey, Nichols and Liberty.
The company has already built production infrastructure in India and Southeast Asia, and collections would include a complete line of garments, bags, accessories and shoes.
Such tie-ups are the way forward for India's fledging fashion industry worth Rs. 2 billion of the country's textile market of Rs.650 billion.
"The support of a corporate house - with their finance, business links and infrastructure is invaluable to a designer," said Khanna, lauded as the "discovery" of the fashion week in Mumbai last year.
But there is a catch. Increasingly, the label and the promoting business house is becoming bigger and more powerful than the designer, with a revolving door system of big name designers working for them.
Then, the identity is of the brand and not the designer, who, sometimes, becomes dispensable as every new designer works within the parameters of brand identification rather than individual creativity.
This overbearing brand clout makes it tough for new designers to start their set-ups.
"It's a paradox that exists," smiled Khanna, "but as a whole, corporate backing works wonders."