Designers happy as business takes front seat at WIFW (Review)

April 11th, 2011 - 3:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Vidya Balan New Delhi, April 11 (IANS) This time around, designers at the just concluded Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week (WIFW) had every reason to celebrate as there was a flurry of buyers from the Middle East, Europe and the US. And with the celebrity quotient at an all-time low, the focus was predominantly on creativity and serious fashion.

“I can very easily say that this was the best ever fashion week I’ve ever had, especially in terms of business, because there were so many new buyers and automatically more business for us. Apart from my regular buyers, I have confirmed orders from new Middle Eastern and European buyers,” Leena Singh, of the designer duo Ashima-Leena, told IANS.

“Buyers have placed confirmed orders for around 1,800-2,000 pieces and mind you, my garments are high-end couture, which means that a single piece won’t cost you less than Rs.12,000. Hence you can see how good this season has been for me,” she added.

And this time, the organisers of the event - Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) - succeeded in making this event a complete business-to-business event by not having “too many” celebrities on the ramp, ensuring the limelight was always on the garments and designers.

“WIFW is truly a business event. We have always maintained this and this was proved as well. We have deliberately shied away from glamour quotient because it always takes away the attention from the designers,” FDCI president Sunil Sethi said.

“Last time, a few designers had complained that there were few buyers. This time, no one is complaining because there are a lot of new faces and they are placing orders, that is what matters,” he added.

With 141 designers participating in the event, buyers from Dubai, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, Paris, Australia, the US, Japan and Europe were busy with designer meetings from day one.

Hiba Al-Ateeqi, a regular Kuwait-based buyer at the event, has placed orders with Pankaj-Nidhi, Ashima-Leena, Tanvi Kedia and Rana Gill, among others.

“What makes me a regular here is the quality and the design of the product. We people like bright, colourful, comfortable clothes and that is what I get it from here. Kaftans, smart dresses, trousers - that is what I pick up,” she said.

“Also, what is more important is the delivery and production. With my old clients, I can place orders in bulk, but for new clients, we initially place small orders, see the quality and then go ahead with confirmed orders,” she added.

For young designer Tanvi Kedia, business was “very good”. She had confirmed orders from three-four international buyers and with a few others, the process is in the pipeline.

“Buyers from Australia, Paris and Japan, showed interested in my line. They haven’t placed orders now, but we will be in touch after the fashion week and let’s see how things shape up. But personally, for me, this was a good fashion week,” she said.

Jaipur-based designer Puja Arya was flooded with buyers, especially from Japan and the Middle East, who loved her funky, chic line and hand-block printing.

“Compared to last two seasons, this has been the best season for me. There were a lot many new buyers this time and hence the business was really great. I think, this is the first time all the designers were busy doing business in their stalls,” she said.

Apart from international buyers, the domestic buyers, who get the designers the maximum business, too were out in full force. All domestic buying houses - Kimaya, Aza, Evoluzione and Ensemble - were seen buying from their favourite clients as well as a few new faces.

Bollywood quotient was at an all time low at WIFW. While Sharmila Tagore walked for Joy Mitra, Sonal Chauhan and Mughda Godse walked for designers Pallavi Jaipur and Sadan Pande respectively.

Neha Dhupia and Vidya Balan made it to the front rows for designers Gaurav Gupta and Sabyasachi Mukherjee respectively.

Designers like Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Manish Arora, Tarun Tahiliani, Varun Bahl, Shantanu and Nikhil, Kallol Datta, Abraham and Thakore, Preeti Chandra, Kavita Bhartia, Rohit Gandhi-Rahul Khanna, Niki Mahajan and Anamika Khanna showcased on the ramp, while a few names like Rina Dhaka, Nida Mahmood and Samant Chauhan chose to take a break from the five-day fete, but were spotted at the WIFW.

(Shilpa Raina can be reached at shilpa.r@ians.in)

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