Fashion designers aim to create industry lobby

August 7th, 2008 - 6:20 pm ICT by IANS  


New Delhi, Aug 7 (IANS) A group of prominent Indian designers have come together to create what they hope will become an industry lobby much in the manner of those that promote India Inc. “It’s a coming together of concerned minds. We aim to work toward capacity building of the fashion, design and manufacturing industry,” designer Meera Ali said at the launch of the Fashion Foundation of India (FFI) here Thursday.

“We will focus on key developmental activities for the industry and work toward marketing India as a designer hub,” she added.

Apart from Ali, FFI’s founding members include Tarun Tahiliani, Rohit Bal, Anamika Khanna, Raghvendra Rathore, Gaurav Gupta, Varun Sardana, Malini Ramani and fashion consultant Sumeet Nair.

“The foundation has been set up with the intent of bringing together leaders from across sectors to help grow the fashion and design industry in India as well as overseas,” Ali explained.

“The foundation will focus on developmental activities, incorporate best practices across areas, facilitate business collaborations and undertake other initiative in the interest of the industry other than just fashion events,” she added.

Speaking on the occasion, Nair vehemently denied suggestions that the FFI had been promoted to rival the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI), a body from which he had a bitter parting in June.

“On the contrary, we will complement each other - that is, if they want to,” Nair maintained.

Nair has organised a parallel event on the same dates as the FDCI-sponsored Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week (WIFW) in October and this had raised the spectre of a vertical split in the fashion fraternity.

“On the contrary, my event will create greater synergy. There are a number of buyers who will be attending my event and I would most certainly like them to witness the fashion week,” Nair explained.

“I am prepared to sit with FDCI to work out the schedules (of the showings) to make things easier for everyone. I am even prepared to run a shuttle service (between the two events),” he added.

“Like you have the CII (Confederation of Indian Industry) and the FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry), that’s what we aim to make the Fashion Foundation of India,” Nair contended.

“There’s a huge world out there. There’s room for everybody,” Tahiliani added.

Ali expanded on this.

“The foundation will work closely with designers to understand their needs and bottlenecks and endeavour to provide customised solutions. It will work towards furthering the business interests of each designer by giving assistance such as soft loans and grants.

“The foundation will also help in developing infrastructure to enhance the business capabilities of the designers. It will set up a legal cell to assist the design houses in matters including IPR (Intellectual Property Rights), licensing and contracts,” Ali added.

Pointing out that this was exactly the rationale for creating FDCI, Rohit Bal said: “We could have done much more in 10 years (that the council has been in existence) but it didn’t happen and so we want this body to be more result oriented.”

Ali, Tahiliani, Bal and many of FFI’s founders are also members of the FDCI and have showcased at its previous fashion events. They said they will remain a part of the council but the jury’s out on whether they will feature at future fashion weeks.

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