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Parting Note

The FDCI hunts for a new title sponsor as Wills Lifestyle and India Fashion Week part ways.

Written by Kimi Dangor | Mumbai |
January 29, 2015 1:00:51 am
 India Fashion Week A file photo of the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week.

After a nine-year long association that has spanned approximately 18 seasons, title sponsor Wills Lifestyle has ended its partnership with the Fashion Design Council of India’s (FDCI) premier fashion event India Fashion Week. A press release, disseminated on January 26, announcing the dates for the Autumn-Winter 2015 edition (March 25-29), simply referred to the event as India Fashion Week, putting an end to months of speculation about a split between FDCI and Wills.

Sunil Sethi, President, FDCI, says, “Yes, our partnership with ITC has ended effective January 2015. But, our relationship with them remains intact. Our designers will continue to work with Wills Lifestyle and they will continue to come to India Fashion Week as buyers.”

The two joined forces in 2006 when, in a move that famously split the domestic fashion industry, the FDCI terminated its contract with cosmetic giant Lakme and event manager IMG, who went on to launch Lakme Fashion Week. And Wills Lifestyle lent its sponsorship to FDCI for the formation of Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week.

Sethi says that there are a lot of “serious contenders” in the sponsorship fray, even as market sources point towards Amazon and Flipkart being the biggest players in the running. “The credibility of the event is such that no serious player in the fashion arena can ignore us. Since the e-commerce space is currently booming, a few online retail companies are strong contenders,” he says.

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While the fashion grapevine was abuzz that Lakme had also made a play for the position, but the deal fell through due to a disagreement about the venue, Sethi was unwilling to confirm this. “I may be offending members of our Mumbai fashion fraternity, but I strongly believe that the national capital is also the fashion capital. While a majority of designers are based in Delhi, many more are moving here to take advantage of the business environment. We want to keep FDCI’s choice of venue as Delhi,” he says.

With the FDCI board on the verge of finalising sponsorship details, here’s looking forward to another fashionable partnership.

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