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Friday, July 20, 2018

Knotty Tales

As Bridal Asia — one of the oldest fashion events in the country — turns 15,its founder Divya Gurwara looks back at the journey this far

Written by Jagmeeta Thind Joy | Published: October 4, 2013 12:23:53 am

The use of adjectives “big” and “fat” in the context of an Indian wedding is something we are now accustomed to,recession or not. An estimated 2,000 couples tie the knot in India every day and according to a report published this August in the internationally acclaimed portal,Business of Fashion,the Indian wedding industry is currently estimated to be worth $38 billion. But number crunching is something Divya Gurwara has not really indulged in.

Steering Bridal Asia,one of the oldest fashion and wedding expositions in the country,the founder and CEO feels it’s her focus on quality and consistency that has helped her carve a niche for herself over the last 15 years. “It’s quite overwhelming when you realise it’s been so long,” says Gurwara,who will roll out the 15th edition of Bridal Asia in New Delhi on October 5,which will go on for three days.

It all started in 1999 with a selection of designer labels and jewellery brands primarily targeting the Indian bride-to-be. Not much has changed — the focus is still on the bride,though apart from bridal attire and jewellery,home concepts,accessories and clothes for the groom have also been introduced.

The number of participants has steadily grown from 40 (since the debut) to 91 with this edition. This,admits Gurwara,is intentional. “We never wanted to have large numbers. The idea was to create a direct link between the end-consumer and the designer. Since the beginning,we have had a selection procedure regarding whom we want to include in the show,” says Gurwara.

Brides today,she adds,are looking for exclusivity and are eager to experiment with labels and trends. “That’s why our selection includes a good mix of high-end designers and new talent,” she explains. This year’s edition packs in collections by Sabyasachi Mukherjee,Anju Modi,Manish Arora,Gaurav Gupta,Honey Waqar (Pakistan),along side those by Nikasha,Ekaya,Nupur Kanoi,Abha Dalmia and Siddharth Tytler,besides an enviable line-up of jewellery labels.

The last two decades have seen the rise of fashion weeks,including a dedicated bridal couture week,but Bridal Asia has created its own identity. “I don’t see a fashion week or a couture week as competition simply because we are not targeting retail buyers,but the consumer,” explains Gurwara,who was one of the first to bring in designers from across the border. “The association with Pakistan has been successful and they are an important facet to our show every year,” she admits.

While she hosted a Bridal Asia edition in Pakistan a few years ago,last year saw the event head to London. “We participated as part of the Pratham Ball and it was nice to be acknowledged as a serious player in the Indian wedding industry,” says Gurwara,adding that she is not looking to take Bridal Asia overseas as an annual affair. “Our focus will be on the Indian market and there won’t be drastic changes to the format,” she says.

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