Sumeet Nair quits fashion body, uncertainity over upcoming event

June 10th, 2008 - 8:17 pm ICT by IANS  


New Delhi, June 10 (IANS) With just four months to go for the premier Wills Fashion Week, uncertainty hangs over the show with Sumeet Nair stepping down as executive director of event organiser, Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI), due to its “narrow-minded crab mentality”. FDCI director general Rathi Vinay Jha had announced she would step down July 31 on completion of her term that has seen the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week (WIFW) rise to dizzying heights as India’s premier business-to-business fashion event. The 12th edition will be held here Oct 15-19.

“At present, there is a complete impasse at FDCI, where there is no mandate for any work. I do not see a future for the council,” Nair said at a press conference here, adding: “I have made up my mind to move away from this negativity and do something positive, constructive and dynamic.

“You will be hearing from me soon,” he maintained in response to a question about his plans.

That there was severe rift in the 16-member FDCI board of governors became apparent last month after designers Karuna Khaitan and Anju filed a suit against Nair in the Delhi High Court alleging lack of transparency and financial irregularities in the council’s functioning.

“I am happy to tell you that an external audit has been completed and that FDCI is in its best financial position ever,” Nair, who timed his resignation with the receipt of the report Monday, said.

“As for the suit, the court will decide who has vested interests in FDCI,” he maintained.

Nair, a founder-member of the FDCI and its first executive director, was brought back by the board in July 2007 “at a time when the India Fashion Week was running a deficit and facing management issues”, a statement distributed after the press conference said.

“The last two fashion weeks held under his guidance have been the very best the industry has seen so far,” the statement added, pointing out that they had resulted in “financial gains” against a loss of Rs.20 million in the event before that.

“Personal agendas have taken over at FDCI. Some members came on the board with an agenda to get me out. This could have been nipped by the FDCI management but that wasn’t done,” Nair contended.

He also defended a decision of the previous board of governors, taken before he rejoined the council, to give Rs.1 million to three designers to showcase their works at the Paris Fashion Week.

“Questioning this is typical narrow-minded crab mentality. But then, that’s what the FDCI is stuck with right now,” Nair maintained.

Asked what constituted the last straw that broke the camel’s back, Nair pointed to the personal allegations that had been made against him.

“The allegations made about me by certain designers in the press and through anonymous mails and blogs are vile, malicious and ludicrous. It is unfortunate that the press has reported these allegations without cross-checking the facts,” he contended.

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