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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

The meeting of the giants: After 15 years, Lakme Fashion Week and Fashion Design Council of India will present a joint showcase

"For now, we are creating this partnership only for this particular edition, as both LFW and FDCI were facing similar challenges, courtesy of the pandemic," Sunil Sethi, President FDCI

Written by Ektaa Malik | New Delhi |
Updated: March 3, 2021 8:34:59 am
Lakme Fashion Week, Fashion Design Council of India, fashion week, sunil sethi, Jaspreet Chandok, fashion week march, joint fashion week, fashion week news, indian express lifestyle, indian express newsThe fashion week will be presented jointly from March 16 to 21 in a hybrid format, streamed online for the public. (Photo: PR handout)

It’s a collaboration that the Indian fashion world has been waiting for the last fifteen years. In a welcome development, the two separate fashion weeks — Lakme Fashion Week (LFW) organised by Lakme and RISE Worldwide in Mumbai and FDCI (Fashion Design Council of India) Fashion Week that was held in Delhi — will be presented jointly from March 16 to 21 in a hybrid format, streamed online for the public.

While the fashion week in Mumbai has previously seen big sponsors, Delhi thrived on its unique talent and a certain joie-de-vivre.

The announcement has jolted the Indian fashion fraternity out of pandemic-induced siesta. A new unity logo will also be unveiled to commemorate the occasion. We spoke to Sunil Sethi, President FDCI, and Jaspreet Chandok, Head, Lifestyle Businesses at RISE Worldwide, regarding this latest development. Excerpts:

A joint fashion week is taking place after 15 years. What led to this development?

Sethi: This has been a well kept secret. We — the head of Lakme, Reliance and I — had been in discussions to bring this partnership to the fore for a while. The pandemic has compelled us to rethink, realign and also redefine the future of fashion. With this new collaboration, we are not encumbered by the physical divide of Delhi and Mumbai. We will be able to use our resources better.

Chandok: We have had a very positive relationship with FDCI, we also supported their Covid fund at the onset of the pandemic. Our doors and our intent had always been open for collaborations. We have connected on various industry issues and this collaboration was inevitable, maybe the pandemic just sped it.

Is the collaboration between FDCI and Lakme a one-off thing or will it present a road map for the future?

Sethi: For now, we are creating this partnership only for this particular edition, as both LFW and FDCI were facing similar challenges, courtesy of the pandemic.

Chandok: It is the start of an era of partnerships. We will wait for industry feedback from our partners and stakeholders. The idea is to collaborate more, what form that collaboration takes in the future, that remains to be seen. But we will work together on many industry-related things.

Lakme Fashion Week, Fashion Design Council of India, fashion week, sunil sethi, Jaspreet Chandok, fashion week march, joint fashion week, fashion week news, indian express lifestyle, indian express news Lakme Absolute Grand Finale by Gauri and Nainika during Lakme Fashion Week Winter / Festive 2019 at St Regis, Mumbai on August 25th, 2019. (Photo : FS Images / Lakme Fashion Week / IMG Reliance)

FDCI Fashion Week and LFW, both had very distinct features and advantages. How do you plan to make use of them under a joint umbrella?

Sethi: We are opening new vistas, the shows will be streamed on the social media handles of both LFW and FDCI and the idea of a joint fashion week was to pool in our resources together, and not waste them, especially during a pandemic, where fashion as a whole is undergoing a global change.

Chandok: We plan to play to the strengths of each of the partners, be it capital or other resources. We wanted to get each one’s distinct advantages to the fore, monetary or from a creative angle. These strengths exist by themselves in their respective eco-systems, and it was high time that they come together.

How will this joint fashion week impact fashion in India, especially designers and consumers.

Sethi: I think a singular fashion week is also addressing the issue of fashion fatigue, which I am sure four fashion weeks in a year would cause. Also, now no designer or consumer will have to choose between LFW or FDCI; earlier the calendars would be too close to each other.

Chandok: We are hoping that partnership creates enough visibility and buzz, that it provides a greater consumer and B2B attention to the designer fashion industry, benefiting the designers in turn. We hope that this grabs enough eyeballs and also provides a stimulus to the industry which has generally struggled over the last year.

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