Designers feel ‘lost’ in new WIFW set-up

March 18th, 2009 - 11:02 pm ICT by IANS  

By Radhika Bhirani & Shilpa Raina
New Delhi, March 18(IANS) With single rooms for each designer, an exhibition area spread over four floors and packed elevators - several designers at the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week (WIFW) that kicked off here Wednesday said they felt “lost” in the new avtar of the five-day event.

“I am lost!” exclaimed designer Ranna Gill while trying hard to locate her stall on the seventh floor of the Eros Intercontinental hotel at Nehru Place.

Veteran designer Niki Mahajan also has her room on the seventh floor. She is extremely upset that her stall is located in a hidden corner and that no directions have been given to reach the room.

“There’s no network here! I can’t even talk on the phone. I can’t find my own room - it’s very confusing. My room is in a cave! Even Rajesh Pratap Singh’s stall is right next to mine but no tag - nothing has been given to say that these are our stalls. Rajesh is also very upset,” said Mahajan.

The confusion has emerged out of the change in the WIFW venue from the one-level spread at Pragati Maidan to the multi-level hotel, where only four elevators are available for use. The staircase is also not open for use by all and sundry.

Citing the reasons for the venue change, Sunil Sethi, the president of the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) that has organised the event, had told IANS this was because buyers, who play a crucial role at the fashion week, used to complain about the “bad washrooms” at Pragati Maidan.

While this issue has been dealt with, the question now is whether FDCI has taken a right decision by dividing the main show areas (MSAs), the lounges, the media room, and the exhibition area et al among separate floors.

Towards the end of day one of the event, a number of designers were still getting “used to” the new venue.

Ekta Jaipuria of label Ekru said: “This sort of a set-up is very private and personal. Pragati Maidan was better since it was like a trade show. We had the freedom to roam around and had the convenience of looking at other designers’ collections without making an extra effort of going up and down. There was no hesitation to go to someone else’s stall.

“Here, one has to think whether to go or not to go as most doors are closed. Even buyers are confused about where to go and the elevators are jam-packed. It might become difficult for them as there are a total of 103 designers,” Jaipuria explained.

Others like Ritu Kumar, Reynu Taandon and Kavita Bhartiya want to take things as they come and agree that people would gradually get used to the new setup.

“It’s too early to talk about this place because it’s just the first day. You have to roam around a bit and get the feel of the whereabouts here Everyone - be it buyers, designers or guests will take some time to get used to this venue,” averred Kumar.

Taandon, too, shared similar sentiments and added: “When the fashion week first happened at Pragati Maidan, we had apprehensions then as well. But within sometime we started loving it and we were happy with it. The same can happen here as well.

“Besides, Nehru Place is a central location. If 20 of my friends used to ask for passes earlier, only 10 used to actually turn up at Pragati Maidan. But now, 40 of my friends are willing to come to watch the show here,” Taandon added.

For Bhartia, the place doesn’t matter as much as the amount of business she does.

“I don’t want to give any negative comments about the place. I was not very fond of Pragati Maidan even because I used to get lost there - it used to be so huge. For me, as long as the business goes well, everything is fine and I have already had some good buyers visiting me,” she said.

On the brighter side, FDCI has provided a TV connection in each room so that “designers can watch the shows from there only”, Sethi pointed out.

“This will save their time and they can concentrate more on their business even while watching the shows,” he added.

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