New Delhi, Sep 1 (IANS) The creation of a dedicated fashion management cadre could be one of the many spin-offs of the Wills India Fashion Week (WIFW), the spring-summer edition of which is underway here.
Among the others could be corporate tie-ups between designers and industrial houses, a dedicated couture week as distinct from the prêt/diffusion lines now being showcased, a men's wear week and a series of awards to recognise talented designers.
Today, India has no dearth of talented designers. But barring the top few like Ashima-Leena, Rajesh Pratap Singh, Arjun Khanna, Rohit Bal and Tarun Tahiliani, very few have access to special marketing, management and accounting facilities which are increasingly becoming necessary in a fast globalising world, experts said.
'Yes, the creation of a dedicated cadre of fashion management professionals will serve to improve the bottom lines of designers, who will then be able to focus on the creative aspect of their work and leave the rest to the experts,' contended designer Rohit Gandhi.
'It's bound to happen. With the fashion week getting institutionalised, that's the next big frontier we should aim to cross,' Gandhi told IANS.
Fashion academician Harmeet Bajaj agreed.
'What they (designers) all lack is the business acumen to make it that big brand - to make it a few thousand million brand, they don't have that right now. They don't have the infrastructure, the finances and the managerial skills,' maintained Bajaj, who is also a designer and a choreographer.
She felt that while it might take time to put in place a fashion management cadre, an immediate solution could be corporate tie-ups.
'Today, if Reliance is talking of Rs.25,000 crore (Rs.250 billion) and Pantaloon is talking of Rs.33,000 crore of retail business, apparel and lifestyle form a big chunk of it. In fact, the entire retail trade is driven by fashion.
'I know four or five investors who are willing to spend anything between Rs.20-30 crore on a brand in a designer's name - they say find a person for us and we'll put the money. Why is this happening? Because there're saying there is money there. This will be another big spin-off from (WIFW),' Bajaj said.
In this context, she pointed to the just announced tie-up between home linen major Bombay Dyeing and Sabyasachi Mukherjee to market his line of 'Art in the Bedroom' bedsheets/pillowcases and towels.
'It's happening; I know other designers who are in talks with (business houses) for home décor, furniture, accessories, or even jeans and sports ware. It's a spin off from this event. They're (designers) starting from here, they're getting noticed for talent; what they all lack is management skills,' Bajaj pointed out.
Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) director general Rathi Vinay Jha felt a fashion management cadre is something 'we'll have to surely look at'.
'There are three aspects - design, production and marketing. Design is a creative aspect, and production and design are management aspects. Younger designers might even need to help on doing a business presentation, on how to export. There's a lot to be done,' Jha said.
As for the couture and other specialised events, both Bajaj and Gandhi felt they were ideas whose time had come.