Thursday, August 23, 2012

Lakmé Fashion Week witnesses trajectory growth this Winter/Festive 2012

As the country’s leading trade and fashion platform, Lakmé Fashion Week ushered in new talent and expanded its reach by tapping buyers from across the country to promote Indian craftsmanship and facilitate trade for designers. Winter/Festive 2012 addressed the power of e-commerce, creativity and social media and successfully concluded yet another season of Lakmé Fashion Week.

The season witnessed a remarkable growth in the number of buyer registrations from across the globe with a total of 220 buyer registrations that included 175 domestic and 45 international buyers. A platform that functions as a creative and trade outlet to showcase innovative designs from around the world, LFW has established itself as a strong networking ground for designer and buyers to collaborate and build relationships. LFW Winter/Festive 2012 saw an exponential growth of participating designers and greater business opportunities for buyers as well.
Lakmé Fashion Week this season also announced Gaurang Shah as the winner of the LFW Heritage Award- a cash prize of One Lakh rupees for the designer who best incorporated Indian textiles in their collection for Indian Textile Day. The winner was selected by a prominent jury of Jaya Jaitly, Maximiliano Modesti, Krishna Mehta and Anjana Sharma.

 “Business has been very good from the domestic buyers which has already summed up to a total of 50 lakhs and up. Most of our buyers were from South and Western India and a few from Northern and Eastern region. This season International buyers were less compared to the other seasons but they don’t really matter at this stage because Indians today are far stronger buyers. Besides the Indian contingency takes up my full production capacity”, said designer Krishna Mehta.
Participating in his second season, designer Nikhil Thampi says, “For a non-design student and an absolute newbie in fashion the response I have got is dream like. My collection was so very well accepted and the sales and store inquiries kept pouring in every minute. I have one confirmed order and one from a big store in Bahrain and they have asked for 37 pieces per garment which adds up to an estimate of 15 lakhs. I think that is brilliant for a new comer to start. I am in talks with an international store in New York and others leading stores in Mumbai like Ogaan, Fuel and others that would be stocking my collections. Also what is overwhelming is the interest people have shown for me to showcase my collection at international events. So far a London Fashion Week representative and somebody from Dubai have shown keen interest. To sum up the season has been a really fruitful one for me and I am keeping my fingers crossed for more.

Designers Mayank Anand & Shraddha Nigam said, “This season we have had much more inquires, footfalls and more serious buyers. It’s festive time and the season’s really opened up. It has just been really awesome. I think each season it just gets progressively better and better. If we compare our last Winter/Festive season, business has really tripled and also the response has been pretty good in terms of our growth and a much better response to our work”.

Shruti Sancheti said, “I have had a good season so far and much more business keeping the festive season in mind. The collection was well appreciated with a lot of lucrative offers. I was retailing with a lot of stores but this time, the number of buyers has doubled and more business offers have come in with some very interesting ones. I am looking forward to my next season already”.

First time participating designer Aniket Satam of the Gen Next category said, “I have had a pretty good response from buyers, and all the stores that I was aiming for have approached me. They are all looking for consignments but since we are part of Gen Next it is good and is a start to a business opportunity for sure. It is really good to see established multi designer stores approaching young designers and giving them an opportunity to have a rack along with the other big designers in their stores. I was surprised to see stores from Nagpur, Hyderabad, Pune apart from Mumbai and Delhi approaching me and looking for pieces that were shown on the runway”.

 “This has been my first year and first show and it has taught me a lot of things and what I probably should concentrate on the next time around. I have got a lot of good response, a lot of people that have come in and are looking at following up. In fact a lot of people have come back twice and thrice. I also have a lot of confirmed inquiries. Hope that translates completely into a really fruitful season for us and it’s been good so far,” said, designer Karishma Shahani.

 “We have had a very good response from the buyers this season. Our existing stockiest have come and confirmed orders worth 30-40 lakhs for this season’s collection and we have also met around 10 new stores that we are still in negotiation with. We have also had new enquires from new retail outlets and one or two e-commerce sites that we are interested in. So overall it has been a really positive season”, said designer Isabelle Mittal.
Designer Ritika Bharwani said, I would say that LFW is a really good platform to facilitate buyer - designer interaction, especially for new designers like me that give us visibility and the reach”.  I am very happy with the response by label has received at LFW. Post LFW Summer/Resort 2012 I was able to start retailing at many stores and this season my aim has been to continue to reach out to other stores

Falguni and Sushil Jhaveri of Fuel, Mumbai said, “As buyers for the past 9 years in the country we are extremely happy with the overall arrangements at Lakmé Fashion Week as always. Every season it gets better. The participating designers are far more mature than earlier & are well prepared to do business. We are highly impressed with the Gen Next lot, they have great potential. Our budgets for buying is normally 30% for LFW, 50% for WIFW and 20% others. Must say that this season it shall be 40% LFW, 40% WIFW & 20% others. We are already planning business with the likes of Richa Agarwal, Aniket, Sonakshi Raaj, Shruti Sancheti, Babita M, Gaurav Shah, Rajat Tangri, Swati Jain, Pia Pauro, IZI Atelier, Mayank & Shradha and many others.

 “Lakmé Fashion Week has always been a nice experience for me and this time as well, it was very well organized. We see a lot of new designers coming, showing their talent on the ramp and getting recognition. For the business of fashion it is very essential to have good prices. We are looking forward to working with Yogesh Chaudhary who has come up with a beautiful collection this time and has made a nice come back in his second season after participating in Gen Next last season. We are also looking forward to working with designers like Swati Jain, Nandita Thirani, Shruti Sancheti, Krishna Mehta and some more”, said Nilesh Parashar of Nautanky.

Rasika Wakalkar of Rudraksh, Pune said, “Firstly, the initiative to recognize buyers and giving a platform to share common concerns with industry peers was a laudable and much required effort, perhaps the first of its kind at a public platform. The Gen Next designers seemed to have been mentored much better in terms of their market readiness rather than just fashion week readiness, which in turn will help them establish a retail relationship with stores than just hope to have it. There was a pronounced positive feel and vibe in terms of the designers-buyers-FW organizers’ working towards a common market place, which for a Trade show is important. We are buying outright with Krishna Mehta, Priyadarshini Rao and Wendell Rodricks, who we’ve been buying from since FW2008. We are also investing in Pia Pauro, Vaishali Shadangule, Rohan Arora, Anushka Khanna, Mayank Anand Shraddha Nigam, Nimish Shah, Swati Vijaivargie Jain. Also looking at a business relationship with Aastha Bahl,Shruti Sancheti, Jatin Varma & Karishma Shahani  and Gen Next designers Aniket Satam, Threesome, Richa Aggarwal & Sneha Arora. I think we would clock minimum about 10 lakhs of buying budgets if not more”.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

LAKME FASHION WEEK WINTER/FESTIVE 2012 Presents the Knowledge Sharing Workshops

The Knowledge Series Workshops were started during Lakmé Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2012 to celebrate the Indian Textile Day. The workshops featuring eminent experts in the field of crafts textiles and fashion who shared their views with the audience proved so popular that the second round took place during Lakmé Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2012...

1.      Knowledge Sharing Session: August 5 2012

The first in the Knowledge Series Workshops at Lakmé Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2012 was held on August 5 2012 at Sajala the Source in the Usha Talent Box. It was an enlightening and very informative session with the venue packed with very eager and interested students, designers and media.

The keynote speaker was Jaya Jaitly, President of Dastkari Haat Samiti and the prime mover of India’s crafts people. On the panel were Krishna Mehta, Designer and Creative Director Krishna Mehta and promoter of arts and crafts in India. With her was Wendell Rodricks who has been instrumental in reviving the Kunbi sari of Goa. Completing the panel was Ritu Sethi, Chairperson of the Craft Revival Trust and Editor of the largest online encyclopedia on arts, crafts and textiles.

Presenting an interesting AV, Jaya Jaitly explained the different ways that Indian crafts and textiles can be promoted. “India’s crafts and textiles are well known but this is an area which shows beauty and ugliness of the lives of the crafts people. Our aim is to bring them to a new level. Artisans in Banaras at times do not know where their next day’s meal will come from.”

Ms Jaitly requested students to work in these sectors to uplift it. “We must have a sense of confidence in our heritage and not be standardized. Our culture reveals our identity.  It is necessary to understand the cultures of the people.”

Ms Jaitly then related a story of how Thai and Indian craft experts have different techniques of dyeing and how the latter from Kutch had a more natural system. The Akshara Project in Delhi created by Ms Jaitly encouraged artisans and craftsmen to use calligraphy for embroidery, prints and weaves which can send a message in different Indian languages as well as create an unconventional form of craft.

The panelists then joined in with Ritu Sethi emphasizing that in craft there is no boss or master. While Krishna Mehta felt that one has not yet touched the tip of the craft mountain. Wendell Rodricks related his experience with Kerala weavers who need to be promoted and encouraged. “Our country is the only one in the world besides Peru where we wear our clothes still. Our weavers need to be encouraged and promoted and given a more contemporary path to follow,” revealed Wendell.
L-R Ritu Sethi, Krishna Mehta, Jaya Jaitly Wendell Rodricks, Anjana Sharma

1.      Knowledge Sharing Session: A discussion with Ritu Sethi - Chairperson of the Craft Revival Trust

The second workshop of the day was a discussion with Ritu Sethi Chairperson of the Craft Revival Trust and Editor of the largest online encyclopedia on arts, crafts and textiles who gave an interesting insight into her work.

Ritu Sethi, the famous handloom and Indian handicraft connoisseur presented an informative and in depth workshop about traditional Indian fabrics and textiles – from the art of making them to keeping the relationship between karigars strong so as to promote this beautiful process and to help Indian cultural art grow. The workshop was aimed at influencing design students to use handloom fabrics for they are the young generation, the ones who will bring back this art.

Ritu Sethi spoke of the importance of helping talented karigars out by involving them in design processes; “Why be lesser than you are?” she queried. She went on to say that there needs to be a harmonious balance between design and one’s roots.

She made a note of fashion being a ‘visual tool’, its importance being a giveaway to one’s class, value, ideals or simply where they see themselves. Making note of the fact that India has a handicraft culture dating back 5000 years she pointed out that whether for high end or mass consumption it’s important to stick to the root of why one is using this diverse art. “Original is always better, we are all original (people), aren’t we?” she asked when a student questioned if it’s alright to look for a cheaper alternative.

Speaking on the controversial plagiarism issue, she said if one were to go to a village in Kutch or any other place known for its textile work, one would be surprised or even shocked at the affordability which unfortunately sadly affects the quality of life of the karigars.

Before ending the seminar she then shared information about her website which can be found as the first option on Google when one looks for information on Indian textiles. Her website aims to be the new Wikipedia of Indian handlooms and handicrafts, offering information on karigars, Indian traditional work along with their geographic origin, etc.

Passionate and sincere, Ritu Sethi’s seminar imparted her wisdom with the younger crowd in a fun and knowledgeable way. 
Ritu Sethi
1.      Knowledge Sharing Session: August 6 2012

The first workshop of the day was an Interactive session with Rta Kapur Chisti author of "Saris: Traditions & Beyond" Rta Kapur Chisti is the founder of Ananda Delhi Textile, an organization devoted to the marriage of organic cotton farming and hand spinning in the production of khadi, the Indian textile championed by Gandhi. Rta Chisti, known for her extensive research into Indian traditional handloom pieces - especially saris, presented a humorous but informative workshop on Sari draping.

She started the workshop off saying, “If fashion is about reinvention then the sari is the ideal garment”, and also introduced her protégé and assistant, Pallavi Varma a textile collaborator who specializes in the art of weaving.
Keeping her talk fresh, Rta Chisti explained that it is the weaves of a sari that stand out before the embellishments followed by prints. “We don’t like to sit on the embellishments,” she said winking, making the audience laugh. The aim of the workshop was to share the magic of this unstitched garment; “Show your assets not your shortcomings,” she said before continuing on to explain the technicality of saris.
She explained that saris have three parts- body, borders and a pallav (end part). Another interesting fact shared by her was that the length of the sari determines the wearer- be it a young girl or an older woman. Going in depth into the size of the borders she explained that the sizes are: 1 inch- the size of one’s eyes, two inches- the size of one’s lips, three inches- the size of a forehead, four inches- crossed fingers, five- the size of closed hands in prayer. She also pointed out that the largest can be nine inches for the maximum inner border.
“We’re going backwards instead of forward. Let’s not compete with China, we’re a democracy,” she said. She also made a note of her own group which produces 40 varieties of tussar silk and 2 of mugha.
“You’d be surprised. It’s of the future not of the past, there’s so much you can do,” she said enthusiastically as she took the audience all over the Indian subcontinent, making note of each city and state, pointing out their traditional specialty and her adaptation of their sari wearing styles to something that is modern yet in touch with Indian roots. 

Demonstration by Aminaben
Demonstration by Govardhan

Demonstration by Govardhan
Workshop with Rta Kapur Chisti

Workshop with Rta Kapur Chisti