Economic meltdown doesn’t impact fashion designers

October 26th, 2008 - 11:35 am ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Oct 26 (IANS) The world economy might be in tatters, but fashion designers here seem to be safe and sound in their cocoons, attributing this to the high style quotient of their niche market. The array of designers from across India who had gathered here for the just-concluded Lakme Fashion Week (LFW) might have fiercely competed with one another to woo potential buyers but were united in opining that the global economic crunch has not affected their trade in any way.

Acclaimed Kolkata-based designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee perhaps summed it up the best when he told IANS: “Designer clothes are for the elite group who comprise a small segment of society. They might cut down on jewellery or might not buy the latest car, but they definitely will not compromise with their clothes as this will reflect on their personality and status.

“So, the niche buyers that we have will never shy away from this segment as spending a particular amount would be gainful to them as they believe that money brings in more money,” Mukherjee contented.

Mumbai-based designer Lina Tipnis, who has been in the industry for the last two decades, couldn’t agree more.

“The economic meltdown has definitely not affected our industry. We have not been affected as we have select buyers in a niche market but it has definitely affected the larger format like bulk manufacturers and volume-driven companies,” said Tipnis, who has 30 stores in India as well as in Britain, Africa and the Middle East.

“Our segment is going well as a lot of consumerism is permeating. And this season has been quite good for us till now with an addition in the number of buyers,” she added.

Tapash of Kolkata-based designer duo Sudhir-Tapash said the economic crunch did not have any impact on their business as their designs were within a nominal price band that was affordable for the middle class.

“We have our collections ranging from Rs.3,500-Rs.7,000 which is in the reach of any class of people,” Tapash explained.

He said India has a huge population base and it was thus easy to find buyers.

“Every part of the world is looking towards India due to the hugeness of its market. If we even target 10 percent of the population, designers will not fall short. So, it’s always a win-win situation.” Tapash told IANS.

He said this season there has been demand from international buyers for their collections.

“Just on the second day, we have a got an order from a buyer from South Africa who normally buys Rocky S’s collections. Besides, talks are also going on with a couple of buyers from the US.”

Another Kolkata-based designer, Jyotee Khaitan, who is a specialist in saris and other ethnic wear, said the meltdown did not have much of an impact as her collections are meant for special occasions.

“If there is any special occasion, my clients come to me as they cannot get a sari, lehenga or a gown from just anywhere for a special occasion,” said Khaitan, who has been in the industry for the last five years.

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