Posted on March 21, 2015 at 7:52 pm

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What is the future of Indian Fashion?

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Over the years, Lakmé Fashion Week has quickly become the most important fashion week in India.  Fashionistas and fashion fans from around the world eagerly watch the week to figure out the big trends in India. The Lakmé Fashion Week team understands that they have a big role in establishing how fashion is seen in India, and how other fashion weeks are run.  As such, Parmesh Shahani, Head, Godrej India Culture Lab hosted the fourth edition of Friday Funda Pop Up, to discuss the topic ‘Past Forward’ at Lakmé Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2015.  A thought provoking debate on the past 15 years of Lakmé Fashion Week (LFW) and its future, had panelists Anil Chopra, former CEO and MD, Lakmé Lever Ltd; Anaita Shroff Adajania, Fashion Director – Vogue India and ace designer Rohit Bal.

The interesting topics discussed were:

  • Panelists’ experience in Indian fashion during the past 20 years
  • Too many fashion weeks
  • Relationship between Indian and international fashion weeks
  • Successfully promoting young talent
  • Promotion of Indian artisans, craftsmen and textiles

Parmesh started the discussion by asking the panelists their experiences since Indian fashion is just 20 years old. Anaita stated fashion was very personal and one learnt on the job as there were no gadgets and technology. Rohit felt it was a very close knit family where genuine bonds between designers were formed. Anil revealed that Lakmé wanted to diversify into the world of fashion and hence LFW was born.

Parmesh then explored the politics of fashion weeks and if there were too many. Anil felt LFW was a genuine concept, which grew from a community of 50 to a fully-fledged industry. Anaita however hoped unity between the fashion weeks would help since there were too many.  Rohit revealed they had come close to unity but failed, so the relevant fashion weeks were LFW and Amazon India Fashion Week with healthy competition between them.

Parmesh wanted to know if the Gen Next and other concepts of LFW had been successful. Anil asserted that he was proud that they stuck to the motto ‘Defining the Future of Fashion’ while Anaita was delighted with the nurturing of young talent. Talking about the correlation between Indian and international fashion weeks, Anaita felt initially designers wanted to please the western market, but later realized that the Indian buyers and media made the difference.

Parmesh asked the panelists if showcasing International brands at Indian fashion weeks hampered the Indian market. Anaita felt Indian fabrics, techniques and culture were of the highest quality and if nurtured, would be internationally renowned. Rohit said Indian weaves, traditions and designers should revive and save the dying art of the handwork by the Indian artisans.  The panelists then went on to discuss the growth of artisans, craftsmen and how platforms like fashion weeks have revived their skills. Rohit was proud that Indian crafts and techniques like Paithani, Bandhej etc. are incorporated into designs and hoped more designers promote Indian wear.

A fun rapid fire round had the panelists responding to single words that influenced fashion in the past 15 years. It started with the word ‘Bollywood’. Anil remarked that Bollywood was inspired by fashion and not the other way around. For the word ‘BridalAnil stated that it was fabulous and essential to the Indian community. Anaita declared that it was the largest market and Rohit admitted that majority of his business was from Bridal wear.

In closing, host Parmesh Shahani urged the audience to share the interesting topics discussed, through social media, so that people worldwide are aware of Indian fashion.  Well, we at Urban Asian sure love to spread the word when it comes to fashion, so make sure you follow all our fashion posts!

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