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Wills Lifestyle to sponsor India Fashion Week

Ending weeks of uncertainty, FDCI announced that designer label Wills Lifestyle will be the sponsor for the India Fashion Week.

india Updated: Feb 16, 2006 12:55 IST

Ending weeks of uncertainty, the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) Wednesday announced it had signed on designer label Wills Lifestyle as the sponsor for the India Fashion Week (IFW), which will hitherto be a bi-annual event.

"This is the first time since its inception (in 2000) that the India Fashion Week will be presented in Delhi and Mumbai in an international format to cover the two seasonal markets of autumn/winter and spring/summer," FDCI director general Rati Vinay Jha said at a press conference to announce the three-year tie-up with the ITC-owned brand.

According to her, "2006 will be all about a new beginning. It will be all about giving India Fashion Week a whole new international look, theme and direction".

An air of ambiguity had prevailed over India's premier fashion event for the last few months after FDCI refused to renew the contract of the previous sponsor, cosmetics major Lakme, in the wake of a spat over how much it would bring to the table for two annual fashion weeks.

"All's well that ends well. ITC and Wills Lifestyle will add tremendous value to the India Fashion Week. This is the first step in making it a truly global event," contended fashion academician Harmeet Bajaj.

WIFW (Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week) autumn/winter 2006 will see the participation of more than 80 designers, including India's most eminent names in the world of fashion, accessories and textiles, as well as young and upcoming designers.

Participating designers will showcase their prêt (ready-to-wear) and diffusion (between ready-to-wear and couture) lines in Indian, Indo-Western and Western categories on the ramp and in the trade centre.

A "By Invitation Only" event, WIFW "aims to serve as an effective platform to promote fashion design and provide industry professionals the opportunity to form trade linkages within India and globally", Jha explained.

"It offers participating designers a business presence through a series of marketing tools, including seminars and workshops on various facets of the industry, as also presentations and reports all aimed at informing and updating buyers, investors, corporate houses and the media," she added.

According to ITC chairman Yogi Deveshwar, the Wills Lifestyle-FDCI tie-up provides a "uniquely synergestic opportunity" to WIFW participants to gain global recognition.

"India is gaining a growing share of the global mind space. The tremendous potential of what I call the fibre-to-fashion value chain can be fulfilled by creatively leveraging our natural advantages of a rich heritage of designs and the energies of our formidable talent pool," he maintained.

"I believe that garment designing can turn out to be a new source of competitive advantage. This will help India emerge as the fashion hub of the world, benefiting all constituents of the Indian textile, apparel and fashion industry," Deveshwar added.

Top notch professionals in the fashion industry came together in 1998 to form FDCI to serve as a cohesive platform for Indian designers and to act as a mouthpiece of the industry at all relevant platforms to promote Indian fashion at home and abroad.

FDCI conducted the first three IFWs on its own before roping in Lakme for the next three.

First Published: Feb 16, 2006 12:55 IST