Capitalise on the world?s insatiable hunger for India
What is a fashion week and why are they springing up in every country? It's no longer just the circuit from New York to London followed by Milan and Paris.
What is a fashion week and why are they springing up in every country? It's no longer just the circuit from New York to London followed by Milan and Paris. There's a fashion week in Los Angeles, Toronto, Montreal, Mexico, Istanbul, Sao Paolo, Rio, Melbourne, Sydney, South Africa, Singapore, Tokyo, the Caribbeans, Moscow, and even Cleveland, just to name a few.
Fashion, like sports, doesn't need language to be understood. Watching beautiful models in gorgeous clothes strutting the catwalk can be great entertainment, but everyone needs to realise it's first and foremost a business. Fashion weeks are a semi-annual business, where millions of dollars are spent and careers are made.
Working from the front row back, one can see fashion editors, TV reporters and internet editors. These are the people who write about collections, photograph the clothes, and explain a designer's ideas, but more importantly, they can make or break careers.
Next to them sit the retailers, store-owners and buyers. They decide what you'll be able to buy. Then there are the stylists who put the looks together, the publicists who promote the clothes and get the ‘buzz' out, the celebrities who wear the clothes and can make a designer famous, and the good customers who are the lifeblood and ambassadors of the business.
In all this, where does Lakme India Fashion Week fit? How does it compare? When IMG, with its immense international expertise, took up the responsibility of creating LIFW with the FDCI, we did so because we believed it would give talented Indian designers a unique platform.
After five years, I feel LIFW is like an anxious teenager, growing up quickly, wanting to be noticed, asking for the keys to the car, waiting to be taken seriously – like any young adult wanting recognition. But one needs to understand that it takes a lot of time, talent and dedication.Today, with the boom in technology, everything is available to everyone instantly, and everyone is looking for ways to distinguish themselves, to be unique. Fashion-savvy customers are tired of seeing the same stores and merchandise in every city and every magazine, and this creates an opportunity for LIFW and its participants.
India's designers need to demonstrate their ability to produce and manufacture, ship and sell in a timely manner. They need to have a signature style. Designers need to set up showrooms or appoint sales representatives, and do the homework necessary to price their merchandise and know the export market, the customs and duties that are applied. But most importantly, they must know who their customers are, whom they're designing for, and who's the target customer around the world? What stores do they shop in, and what magazines and publications do they read?
Indian designers have to stay the course, and the local media has to support them if they believe in them, and keep getting the word out. It doesn't happen overnight. They must use this time constructively, to build their retail base, use the media to get the message out and capitalise on the world's insatiable appetite for India, its colours and culture, which are enjoying a unique moment.
— Fern Mallis is the Vice-President of IMG, the agency that owns the New York Fashion Week and is the event manager for LIFW