Attn: Nicole, Mark,Deepali Shobhaa’s World For 21st Sept 2009
Phashion Phaux- Pas….?
Heave ho and here we go! Phashion, phashion everywhere, not a frock to wear!! One more Fashion Week ended. Another one looms. No. Not just one, but several Fashion Weeks loom. Very niche. Very focused. For Men. For Women. For Kids. For dogs.For Bridal Wear. For Lingerie. For Jewellery. For Shoes. For Handbags. For Accessories. For Toenails. But the irony is that like everything else, the fashion industry has been hit really, really hard by the global meltdown. And let nobody fool you into thinking otherwise. It has happened all over the world.From Milan to Tokyo, couturiers are reeling, wondering when the turn around will take place. Closer to home, all those fancy international labels that had marched in with so much hoopla, not so long away, have beaten a hasty retreat and pulled out of what was going to be their dream market along with China. But even more than these guys, the ones directly affected by the recession are our desi designers. As a sharp retail guy with a lot of money riding on his various labels told me, “ Even though some really swanky foreign brands pulled out because of the downturn, they managed to kill a whole bunch of talented local designers who were at the take off stage. Even the established names are finding it very hard to hang in there and attract big ticket customers.” As he explained it, consumers were ready to shell out a pretty packet for a foreign frock, on the basis of its snob value and little else. But suddenly started to feel conned by local designers asking for similar prices, that too for obvious knock offs ( red carpet inspirations, zindabad!). That effectively took care of those people who had a wildly exaggerated notion of their talent and appeal. Apart from splurging on pricey trousseaux, buyers resisted paying ridiculously inflated prices for mediocre clothes. The so-called ‘pret’ lines could not scale up sufficiently. And couture attracted but a handful of regulars who had their pet designers waiting hand and foot on them. In other words, the fashion business, which was at a promising take off stage two years ago, and had graduated from being seen as an indulgence for people with extra garage space, has now gone back to where it started - as a boutique model, catering to neighbourhood socialites.
This is such a pity, given the explosion of bright, young talented designers who were beginning to make their mark and carve out a market for themselves. These kids had trained at the best institutes, and knew their craft, unlike their predecessors who’d cut their teeth on the job, dealing with ‘masterjis’ and darzis who couldn’t go beyond cholis, chaniyas and churidars. It is discouraging, to say the least, that the present doom and gloom scenario may take down a lot of budding designers who deserved recognition far more than some of their seniors in the rag trade. I’m told glitzy, multi brand fashion houses that had thrown their doors open not so long ago, are in trouble as well. Unable to move those pricey frocks from the racks, they are waiting to be bought out by just about anybody who has the lolly.Despite this depressing picture, those whose core business it is to keep the fashion bubble from bursting, are still pretending it is party time! So… brace yourself… do not moan and groan…. the fashion hype is back, with or without buyers!
Just to give you an idea of the scale of my hero's statue at Mandela Square!! Mayawati will be soooo jealous. The dwarf at his feet is moi!