The Indian Premier London Fashion Week hopes to open up the UK market to established and budding Indian designers.
The announcement of any new fashion week is most likely to meet with a drawling “One more”. So far, it has been a case of one goes, another comes – the former being usually explained as the need to put forward a united face and the latter arising out of a need to create a more “inclusive” platform for design than the one existing.
Also, the participation of an Indian designer in any of the prestigious fashion weeks of Paris, London and Milan is still something to write about and congratulate.
Now, the recently announced Indian Premier London Fashion Week, organised by Idea Weavers, plans to take Indian designers abroad and give them their own platform there.
While retailers do form a major chunk of the target buyers, the aim is to tap the huge (and well-off) British-Asian community there. As Vivek Agarwal, chief events co-ordinator, Idea Weavers, explains, “About four per cent of the total population of the UK is made up of British-Asians, and they contribute six per cent of the GDP. It's a huge market just waiting to be tapped.”
The India Premier London Fashion Week's Autumn/ Winter 2010 edition will be held from April 9 to 14 at London's The Old Truman Brewery. So far, designers Anamika Khanna, Narendra Kumar, Ritu Beri and Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna have confirmed their participation.
The event will be divided into five categories: individual collections, group designer collections, Gen-Next show (for new designers), trade show and shows by established as well as new designers. Applications are invited online, the last date being February 20. New designers need to send in photographs of their recent collections as well as information about their production capacities.
“The best talent which has the potential to cater to an international market will be selected,” adds Agarwal. Elite Model Management will provide models for the event.
Target buyers include international retail chains and departmental stores like Harvey Nichols, Liberty, Harrods, Net-a-Porter and Browns, to name a few.
London, much revered for its rich fashion heritage and old-world charm, has been considered by many as just that, labelled second cousin to Paris or Milan in terms of what is every fashion event's chief driving force – buyers.
Agarwal, however, feels the British Asian community will tilt that balance in IPLFW's favour. The retail buyer's response too has also been encouraging, he says.
“About 90 per cent of the buyers have verbally confirmed their participation,” Agarwal adds. The organisers hope to keep it running for at least three years.
“This fashion week is the spread of the idea of fashion. So far, fashion weeks are generally good for Indian designers but not so much for Indian design. It's great to have ambition to expand the idea of fashion beyond the borders of the country,” says designer Narendra Kumar.
Anamika Khanna, who has been part of London's fashion scene as a participant at London Fashion Week, said, “Any new idea is a challenge. There are a lot of pre-conceived notions about India and new design. This is a right time to make a mark collectively.”
For registration and more information log on to www.iplfashionweek.com.