It is a collaboration that the Indian fashion world has been waiting for fifteen years. In a welcome development, the two separate Fashion Weeks – Lakme Fashion Week (LFW) hosted by Lakme and RISE Worldwide in Mumbai and FDCI (Fashion Design Council of India) Fashion Week held in Delhi – will be jointly presented from March 16 to 21 in a hybrid format, broadcast online to the public.
While Mumbai Fashion Week has already seen big sponsors, Delhi has thrived thanks to its unique talent and a certain zest for life.
The announcement brought the Indian fashion fraternity out of the pandemic nap. A new unit logo will also be unveiled to commemorate the occasion. We spoke to Sunil Sethi, President of FDCI, and Jaspreet Chandok, Head of Lifestyle Activities at RISE Worldwide, about this latest development. Excerpts:
A joint fashion week takes place after 15 years. What led to this development?
Sethi: It’s a well-kept secret. We – the head of Lakme, Reliance and I – had been engaged in discussions to bring this partnership to the fore for some time. The pandemic has forced 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 make better use of our resources.
Chandok: We had a very positive relationship with FDCI, we also supported their Covid fund at the start of the pandemic. Our doors and our intention have always been open to collaborations. We connected on various industry issues and this collaboration was inevitable, maybe the pandemic just accelerated it.
Is the collaboration between FDCI and Lakme ad hoc or will it present a roadmap for the future?
Sethi: For now, we are creating this partnership only for this particular edition, as the LFW and the FDCI were facing similar challenges, thanks to the pandemic.
Chandok: It is the beginning of an era of partnerships. We will await industry feedback from our partners and stakeholders. The idea is to collaborate more, what form this collaboration will take in the future, that remains to be seen. But we will work together on many aspects related to the industry.
The FDCI Fashion Week and the LFW both had very distinct characteristics and advantages. How do you plan to use them under a common umbrella?
Sethi: We are opening up new perspectives, the shows will be broadcast on the social media handles of LFW and FDCI and the idea of a joint fashion week was to pool our resources, and not waste them, in particular during a pandemic, where fashion as a whole is undergoing a global change.
Chandok: We plan to leverage each partner’s strengths, be it capital or other resources. We wanted to highlight the advantages of each, monetary or from a creative angle. These assets exist on their own in their respective ecosystems, and it was high time they came together.
How will this joint fashion week affect fashion in India, especially designers and consumers.
Sethi: I think a singular fashion week also addresses the issue of fashion fatigue, which I’m sure four fashion weeks in a year would cause. In addition, no designer or consumer will have to choose between LFW or FDCI; earlier, the calendars would be too close to each other.
Chandok: We hope that the partnership will create enough visibility and buzz, that it will provide more consumer and B2B attention to the designer fashion industry, for the benefit of the designers in turn. We hope this catches enough eyeballs and also gives a boost to the industry which has generally struggled over the past year.
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