Young designers win applause, good business at WIFW (Review)

October 20th, 2008 - 5:59 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 20 (IANS) A young brigade of designers, a clutch of foreign buyers and a high style quotient were ample indications that the just concluded 12th edition of the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week (WIFW) has firmly established itself as the premier business-to-business platform for the design industry.Though figures on the business generated at the five day event Oct 15-19 are still being collated, it is expected to be in the region of Rs.800 million ($16.5 million), considering that 160 buyers, 70 of them from overseas, attended the show.

According to Sunil Sethi, the president of WIFW organizer Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI), the event received an overwhelming response.

“This time, we witnessed maximum number of buyers and the response was overwhelming. I am not saying this because I am the president of the FDCI, but this is what I have been hearing from all designers. Be it a debutant or an established designer, everyone is happy,” Sethi told IANS.

Most of the young designers who participated saw a successful reception for their outfits from the buyers, who were predominantly from the Middle East.

Some designers felt that buyers from the US and Europe were apprehensive about investing heavy amounts due to the recession in their economies.

However, according to Sethi, “the creativity of the FDCI designers bloomed despite the gloom in the global economy”.

Designer Amit G.T. was extremely upbeat, saying he had orders for 1,500 outfits mainly from Middle East buyers.

“My business has been much better this time. In fact, it’s almost seven-eight times higher than before. Middle East is buying a lot of my long gowns but due to the recession in the international economy, US and Europe do not want to buy expensive stuff,” said Amit, whose stall was packed with buyers from day one.

Abhishek Dutta, who retails his outfits under the ADnormal label, participated in WIFW for the first time and garnered encouraging profits.

“I’ve got two buyers each from Saudi Arabia and Europe and one from Kuwait, to whom I am selling around 15 designs that have three different sizes and two pieces each, which makes good business for me,” Dutta told IANS.

The designer, in his 20s, was expecting “much better business” from European and US clients since his collection was “subtle to suit their tastes”.

“I never thought I will get a good response from the Middle East buyers as they prefer bling, which I didn’t use,” he said.

Delhi-based designer Nida Mahmood also got around five to six buyers from the Middle East, apart from one from New York, and she has sold around 70-80 pieces of her works to them.

Parvesh of designer duo Parvesh and Jai, who specialise in resort wear, said they had managed to get overall orders of around Rs.300,000.

“Though we are majorly catering to domestic buyers, we have a few Middle East buyers, to whom we are selling around 80 pieces,” Parvesh added.

Hemant Lalwani of debutant designer duo Hemant-Nandita said their participation in the event has been very beneficial for them as they have been able to establish contacts with several buyers.

“We are still in the stage of finalisation. Here, we have exchanged a lot of contacts and got about two to three buyers from Kuwait and Middle East. But this is a good opportunity to bring all designers and buyers under one roof. Then, word of mouth publicity works best for us,” he said.

Established designers like Puja Arya, Charu Parashar, JJ Valaya and Rina Dhaka also saw good response coming their way.

Even international buyers were impressed by the creativity of the young designers and lauded the works of creations by Samanth Chauhan, AM:PM (Ankur Modi and Priyanka Modi), Nitin Bal Chauhan, Urvashi Kaur and Gauri and Nainika.

Mahipat Singh from a Russian store Viva confirmed that he has placed orders with these designers.

First time buyer Vittoria Radice from Italian store laRinascente said: “We will place orders after a month but I am definitely talking (creations of) Nitin Bal Chauhan and Manish Arora.”

Apart from this, Tomoko Inuzuka from Japanese store Beams ordered around 50 pieces from her favourite designer Manish Arora.

Other than Arora, she has also placed an order for three to four pieces from designers Puja Arya, Kavita Bhartia, Namrata Joshipura, Vikram Phadnis and Payal Jain.

Inuzuka, who came for the fashion event for the fourth year this time, said the arrangements for the fashion week were “perfect”.

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