Slump-hit designers give Fashion Week a go by,ramp hit worst

There’s less than a month to go for the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week and the Delhi Fashion Week showcasing winter fashion for 2009 but many designers are still unsure about spending on a ramp show.

Written by Leher Kala | New Delhi | Published:February 19, 2009 9:32 am

There’s less than a month to go for the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week and the Delhi Fashion Week showcasing winter fashion for 2009 but many designers are still unsure about spending on a ramp show.

The reason,they contend,is simple: the retail industry,both here and abroad,is going through a serious downturn.

Many designers are still coping with international orders from last year being cancelled or seriously reduced,and a pile up of stock and inventory. The Wills Fashion Week,scheduled from March 18 to 23 at Intercontinental Eros,has so far received confirmation from over 80 designers,but many are opting only for stalls and are hesitant to commit to hold ramp shows.

“I have not decided whether I will have a show yet,” designer Ashish Soni said. Having spent a hefty but undisclosed amount to hold a show in Paris last year,Soni recently shut one of his outlets in Delhi and said stores he retails from in Europe are not doing well either. “I am judicious about spending right now because you cannot be certain of results in the current business environment.”

At Wills,a prime show slot costs Rs 3,85,395. At the Delhi Fashion Week,a prime-time slot at 9 pm costs Rs 4,37,024; while a 7-pm slot costs a designer Rs 3,80,000.

“Irrespective of recession,promotions should be continued to stay top of mind of the consumer,” said Sumeet Nair of the Fashion Foundation of India,the promoters of Delhi Fashion Week. “After all,this is still way cheaper than advertising.”

Designer Rajesh Pratap Singh,scheduled to participate in Paris Fashion Week in April,has opted out because of lack of sponsors — he needed to raise Rs 80 lakh for the Paris show. “We are not doing Paris Fashion Week now for personal and emotional reasons but I’ll definitely show at Wills,” Singh said. “Indian designers need to focus on the domestic market since international markets are bleak.”

Newbie designer Vineet Bahl,just back from a successful exhibition in Dubai,is also evaluating whether he needs to participate in the fashion week at all. “Abraham and Thakore never hold shows yet they sell,” Bahl said.

Other top designers like Raghavendra Rathore,Malini Ramani and Meera-Muzaffar Ali are also not holding shows this year.

FDCI member and designer Rohit Gandhi of the label H2O said despite the economic slowdown,they have confirmations from over 30 international buyers and have already booked hotel rooms. “Nothing has reduced from last year,” Gandhi said. “We have invited stores from across West Asia to make up for the shortfall in buyers from Europe.”

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