Fashion Fiesta Wrapped In A Week

Creative sensational from different parts of the world taking style, beauty and definition of fashion to its edge, promotional linchpin of a multibillion-dollar industry, I am talking about nothing else but Fashion Weeks. Fashion weeks are hallmarks of fashion industry to rollout the new season feel in fashion. They generally last up to a week allowing fashion designers, artists and fashion houses to display their latest collection. It hallmarks next seasons in things, that’s why it is very important for buyers, media, celebrities and entertainment industry who take that fashion among the general public.

The most famous fashion weeks are held at Fashion Mecca Paris, Milan, London and New York. Since the new millennium fashion weeks are held in different parts of the world to put the local fashion on the world map and making a packed fashion calendar throughout the year. A refreshing sense of national identity and pride has emerged from the achievements of fashion sector – something that was otherwise traditionally been restricted to feats of sporting prowess, adding that its benefits go well beyond the fashion world (Emling 2006).

Fashion weeks are held several months in advance giving chance to designers, media and buyers to preview the trend for the next season. Fashion weeks are bi-annual events; the fashion weeks conducted between January and March are called “fall fashion weeks” whereas the one conducted in September through November are called “Spring Fashion Weeks”. Some fashion weeks can be genre-specific, such as a Miami Fashion Week (Swimwear), Prêt-a-Porter (ready-to-wear) Fashion Week, Couture (one-of-a-kind designer original) Fashion Week, Palm Springs Fashion Week (Resort Collections) and Bridal Fashion Week.

History

Omission of fashion week history would be curious at this point of time. Let me throw some light on that. Edna Woodman Chase–former editor of Vogue organized “Fashion Fete,” in 1914 to benefit the war-relief effort which is often apocryphally called the first fashion show ever. By the 1920s, the fashion show had gone mainstream. Early shows were often more theatrical than those of today.

Indian Fashion Industry

Colourful fashion trends of India

With the end of the 20th century came the end of all hype which has created a more practical and pragmatic environment and has given a more stable picture of the fashion business.
In the 50s, 60s and 70s, the Indian fashion scenario wasn’t exactly colorless. It was exciting, stylish and very graceful. There were no designers, models, star or fashion design labels that the country could show off. The value of a garment was judged by its style and fabric and not by who made it.

It was regarded as ever so chic and fashionable to approach any unfamiliar tailor, who could make a garment for a few rupees, providing the perfect fit, finish and style. The high society lady, who wore it, was proud for getting a good bargain and for giving her name to the end result.

In 60s, tight ‘kurtas’, ‘churidars’ and high coiffures were a trend among ladies. It was an era full of naughtiness and celebration in arts and music and cinema, manifested by liberation from restriction and acceptance of new types of materials such as plastic film and coated polyester fabric.

The 70s witnessed an increase in the export of traditional materials outside the country as well as within. Hence, international fashion arrived in India much before the MTV culture with the bold colors, flower prints and bell-bottoms. Synthetics turned trendy and the disco culture affected the fashion scenario.

It was in the early 80s when the first fashion store ‘Ravissant’ opened in Mumbai. At that time garments were retailed for a four-figure price tag. The ’80s was the era of self consciousness and American designers like Calvin Klein became popular. In India too, silhouettes became more masculine and the ‘salwar kameez’ was designed with shoulder pads.

With the evolution of designer stores in Mumbai, the elegant fashion design culture was a trend among Indians along with their heavy price tags. No doubt that a garment with a heavy price tag was at the bottom stage of fashion. But clients immediately transformed into the high fashion fold where they were convinced that that the word ‘elegant fashion design culture’ means, it had to have a higher price tag.

Garments were sold at unbelievable prices only because the designers had decided to get themselves noticed by making showy outfits and getting associated with the right shows, celebrities and events.

Later, fashion shows shifted to competitive events each attempting to out-do the other in theme, guest list and media coverage. For any newcomer, the fashion business was the number one professional art that time.

In the 90’s, the last decade of the millennium, a move towards the drastic pairing down returned with ethnic wears (Today, ethnic wear market in India is accounted to Rs. 9000 crore). This led to the decline and the recession, the push to sell at any cost and keep staying in the limelight. With heavy cut throat competition and sound awareness of the client, the inevitable occurred. The price tags, which had once reached at a peak, began their downside journey.

At those times the downturn was not only being experienced in the price tags of the garments, but also in the business of fashion shows. More models, choreographers, make-up men, hairstylists and designers streamed down into their business.

The fun and party time in the Indian fashion scenario had not ended with this, but continued. It was a point, where it reached at a certain steady level and from there, in the beginning of the 21st centaury, with new designers and models and some sensible designing; the fashion hype accelerated its speed.

Indian fashion industry spreads its wings globally

For the global fashion industry, India is a very big exporter of fabrics and accessories. All over the world, Indian ethnic designs and materials are considered as a significant facet for the fashion houses and garment manufacturers. In fabrics, while sourcing for fashion wear, India also plays a vital role as one of the biggest players in the international fashion arena.
India’s strengths not only depend on its tradition, but also on its raw materials. World over, India is the third largest producer of cotton, the second largest producer of silk and the fifth largest producer of man-made fibres.

In the international market, the Indian garment and fabric industries have many fundamental aspects that are compliant, in terms of cost effectiveness to produce, raw material, quick adjustment for selling, and a wide ranges of preference in the designs in the garments like with sequin, beadwork, aari or chikkon embroidery etc, as well as cheaper skilled work force. India provides these fashion garments to the international fashion houses at competitive prices with shorter lead time and an effective monopoly in designs which covers elaborated hand embroidery – accepted world over.

India has always been considered as a default source in the embroidered garment segment, but the changes of rupee against dollar has further decreased the prices, thereby attracting buyers. So the international fashion houses walk away with customized stuff, and in the end crafted works are sold at very cheap rates.
far as the market of fabrics is concerned, the ranges available in India can attract as well as confuse the buyer. A basic judgmental expectation in the choosing of fabrics is the present trend in the international market. Much of the production tasks take place in parts of the small town of Chapa in the Eastern state of Bihar, a name one would have never even heard of. Here fabric making is a family industry, the ranges and quality of raw silks churned out here belie the crude production methods and equipment used- tussars, matka silks, phaswas, you name it and they can design it. Surat in Gujarat, is the supplier of an amazing set of jacquards, moss crepes and georgette sheers – all fabrics utilized to make dazzling silhouettes demanded world over. Another Indian fabric design that has been specially designed for the fashion history is the “Madras check” originally utilized for the universal “Lungi” a simple lower body wrap worn in Southern India, this product has now traversed its way on to bandannas, blouses, home furnishings and almost any thing one can think of.

Recently many designers have started using traditional Indian fabrics, designs and cuts to enhance their fashion collections. Ethnic Indian designs with batik cravat, tie-and-dye or vegetable block print is ‘in’ not just in India but all across the world.

In India, folk embroidery is always associated with women. It is a way of their self expression, and they make designs that depict their native culture, their religion and their desires. Women embroider clothes for their personal use, and the people linked with the pastoral profession prepare embroidered animal decorations, decorative covers for horns and foreheads and the Rabaris of Kutch in Gujarat do some of the finest embroidery. Embroidered pieces are made during the festivals and marriages, which are appliqué work called ‘Dharaniya’. One of the significant styles of Saurashtra is ‘Heer’ embroidery, which has bold geometric designs, woven on silks. The Mutwa women of the Banni area of Kutch have a fascinating embroidery where they make fine embroidery works with designed motifs and mirrors in the size of pinheads, the Gracia jats use geometric designs on the yoke of long dresses. Moreover, the finest of quilts with appliqué work are also made in Kutch.

Garments embellishment with bead work is another area where it in demand in the international market. Beads are used to prepare garlands and other accessory items like belts and bags and these patterns now available for haute couture evening wear too.

Though performing individual presentation is not an alternative choice for most of the young talent, because of the limitation of finance, a beginner designer’s name fails to come to the forefront.
Another thing, with regards to the ramp, is what the designers offer is barely appropriate to be worn ordinarily. You’ll see there’s dissimilarity between what is there on the ramp and what the Page Three crowd wears. Some believe at present the fashion is in, but the tendency hasn’t changed much as it is the old ones coming back. We have had short kurtas, long kurtas, flowing skirts, etc. coming back into fashion with only a new variety of designs.

Many management consultants and professionals believe that the Indian fashion industry will be boosted if the new comers are paid proper attention. What they require is more support so that their work gets due recognition. According to the consultants and professionals there should be a panel of people who choose designers for showcasing according to their work and not their name or who they’ve worked for earlier, and hence selection would be purely based on quality. Besides this, the panel of judges should comprise of people from the fashion schools rather than designers.
It has been observed that the media-hype around the big designers and blatant commercialism has hindered business in the Indian fashion industry. No clear cut picture is provided about the feasibility of the products. Basically it is only the famous names that are being talked of. What they offer is not quite daily-wear. The entire focal point of the industry is on commercialism. The discussion is only regarding how much is sold and for what price and nothing about the designs or styles.

Efforts to develop global fashion brands

It needs innovative designers, a seamless supply chain, control over retail and distribution and concentration of quality while dealing with some image. While a few have accomplished something in the west covering Tommy Hilfiger, Gucci, Zara, Armani, Versace, Ralph Lauren, etc, India has not been capable to track on.
A serious reason for India not being successful has been its isolation in the fashion system. Each stakeholder including designers, exporters, textile players and retail chains need to come together along with the government to make sure that the position of Indian fashion is strong in the coming years.

There are various agencies and industry associations that can support in brand-building practice. Many of these agencies require attractive resources and making a global image of Indian fashion rather than independently trying to promote particular brands or textile segments.

Efforts to create strong global image

Large textiles players require more and more to target on the market facing activities while developing an association with small medium enterprise (SME) clusters. Such kind of networks would be a benefit to that which can focus on demand making and branding as well as for clusters that can focus on quality production.

Efforts to create value networks

After the entry of large retail chains like Wal-Mart, Gap etc in India, Small scale manufacturers in India will find it very difficult to satisfy the demands of these international buyers if they continue to promote their products individually. Therefore, it is very important that value networks are created between large textile and apparel companies in India and small scale manufacturers, so that the marketing muscle of the leading players can be utilized for receiving large orders while the bigger players then assign the orders to the small-medium enterprises according to their past record of quality and service. For this to be put into practice, it will be vital to well-organize the information on small-medium enterprise clusters in a perfect manner so that supplier selection decisions are made according to the information in the long run, only the more efficient small-medium enterprise players survive and develop.
Efforts to concentrate on designers and designsDesigners have a fundamental role to play in the future of Indian fashion scenario. There should hence be an effective process for preparing these designers. This can be done by sponsoring exchange programs with international schools, increasing participations in the fashion capitals of the world, motivating and offering business incubation to new designers and rewarding efforts through proper design awards.
Even in India, well-known designers are incapable to tap finances from well-organized resources, since a vital part of their assets are brands and design talent which are not measured in terms of money and hence it becomes difficult to judge the value. This has severely inhibited their development and capability to raise retail existence across the country and abroad. Likewise, there is no systematic approach of existence in the fashion capitals of the world like Paris, Milan and New York. Due to this, designers have to depend on their personal contacts and relationships for organizing fashion shows and making retail alliances. The French government as well as the British government helps designers of their particular countries appreciably in these areas as they understand that value creation through design is the only way to carry on in the competitive landscape of the global fashion industry. The Indian government and related agencies should also accept this aspect of textile, apparel and fashion industry sincerely if they need to see India on the global fashion map.
Work in collaboration: designers-corporate efforts

Designers and many organizations can work globally through various models and with many working relationships. The Indian fashion industry has many views but only one such model, wherein a designer creates a retail venture with his/her own brand through organized retail chains. There are many other models according to brand ownership and division of operational activities.

Globally, many models of collaboration between designers and corporates are available. For example Ralph Lauren has made an agreement with Jones Apparel for producing and retailing various Polo brands. Likewise, Armani had an agreement with Zegna for production, even while it was competing with them in the marketplace. There are many cases of designer brands being co-owned by the designers and corporates, Gucci-Alexander McQueen and Gucci-Stella McCartney being some of them.

In the end, many designer businesses have been obtained by corporates where designers play a major role in the design elements of the business, but the brand and the organization is owned completely by the corporate.

The current possession of Calvin Klein by Philips Van Heusen and earlier holdings of Hugo Boss and Valentino by Marzotto are some related examples in this segment. These examples strongly point out that not only designers find such relationships important for development, but also corporates find these attractive for rising their profitability and growth. Likewise deals in India could go a long way in developing the brand values of corporates and designers.

Developing clusters

Making common infrastructure for functioning such as design and sampling, affluent treatment, product testing, etc can help in increasing the capability of the clusters since noteworthy investments could be made by the cluster itself rather than any single player.

Well-managed databases can help in decreasing search costs and through data mining, rating of players can be done so as to make the procurement process easier for buyers. Cooperative marketing programs at different clusters can also support players to grow up in the value chain by mixing their strengths within the cluster.

Cluster based battle in the fashion industry is characterized by the Italian industry. The National Chamber for Italian Fashion for example, supports the development of the fashion clusters at Milan and Florence in a well organized manner. Indian industry can learn a lot from Italy because India has a similar cluster based scattered production base, but has been incapable to link it with design and branding capability.

If the above activities are successfully considered, India could have an extraordinary development in the fashion industry, which could increase from a negligible size to Rs 8,000 crore in the coming decade.

Conclusion

In the 50s, 60s and 70s, the Indian fashion scenario was colorful and stylish, in the end of 20th century it was quite subdued and with the beginning of the 21st century it has geared up and is still experiencing the growth with many spectrums of colours. Though this industry is growing at a very good pace, besides achieving a negligible share in the global market, still it needs to make severe efforts to stand amongst international fashion market in various aspects.

How to Become a Successful Fashion Designer

If you are like me you live and breathe fashion. You are constantly inspired with so many new designs racing through your mind, so many you can’t seem to get them all down quick enough at the pace they arrive. You constantly dream of the day your fashions will be on the fashion runway with the lights beaming brightly overhead, the cameras flashing everywhere and the audience being completely mesmerized by your incredible designs. You can’t stop thinking of the day you will open a magazine or watch the Oscars and see a famous celebrity in one of your breathtaking designs. Your book shelf is stocked with fashion books and magazines, and you absolutely can’t resist visiting textile stores to view all the latest fabrics, decorative beads, rhinestones and trims.

It’s this ever present dream of being a successful fashion designer that has you work day and night on your designs in most cases for many years without pay and working a job to pay the pills which is brutal torture, when all you can think about is living and working in fashion.

Famous fashion designers come from all walks of life there is no one system to follow that will have you become the next famous fashion designer. Some have graduated from elite fashion schools and some have never attended fashion school. Some have undertaken a fashion internship with a fashion house and others have made their own designs in their basement. The only elements all these fashion designers have in common is they had an intense passion for fashion, were able to design fashions highly sought after and connected with someone who gave them the opportunity to break into the fashion industry. It is essential in becoming a successful fashion designer you get you and your designs out there as much as possible, as how will anyone know about your fashions if they can’t see them?

In getting your fashions out there here are a few things you can do:

1. We are not usually good at everything some of us are great at designing clothes but lack the sewing and pattern making skills. It is here you can partner with someone who shares your passion for fashion and has the skills you lack. It is in the bringing together of different skills you can create a real product that can be showcased.
2. In having a fashion line of 14 outfits you can apply to your local fashion week. In the USA: New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco all have fashion weeks. These fashion weeks attract many editors, journalists and local socialites who will see your fashions and potentially give you the exposure you need to get known.
3. Many city night clubs hold fashion shows, find out what night clubs hold fashion shows and contact them as to how you can be apart of an up and coming show.
4. Locate fashion boutiques that cater to the fashions you design, first make a trip to the stores to look around, if you can see your clothes fitting in well with the store, find out who the owner is and ask if they would be willing to have some of your fashions offered for sale in their store. You will be amazed at how many store owners are willing to work with you. I walked around San Francisco in the Nob Hill district and had my fashions placed after visiting and discussing my product with four boutiques. In having your fashions displayed you will receive valuable insights as to whether or not your designs are in demand and if you need to change your designs to increase sales. It will also give you free exposure to the public. When your fashions do sell you can present this to investors who are more than willing to invest in your line, when you prove the existence of a strong demand for your fashions.