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Mumbai, January 23, 2007: Mr Kishore Biyani, Co Chairman of Fashion Alliance and CEO of The Future Group, today challenged the retail industry to “wake-up” to consumer shifts in India and urged it to learn from the mobile phone sector which was organized and catered to different segments.

Mr Hem Chandra Javeri, Co Chairman of Fashion Alliance and President of Madura Garments, today issued a clarion call to “Expand Fashion” in India and propel its growth into an organized industry.

“The consumer is changing so rapidly and defining standards that only the nimble can survive. India has a rich heritage of fashion and also a creative sense. It is a challenge to bring alive this rich heritage and infuse a new sensibility to world fashion, using the creative talent to build a value-adding machine. With organized retail expected to grow from 3-4% to 10% by 2010, this market has no reason to slow down. The challenge is how to make the industry relevant to India. Do we need a Spring/Summer, Autumn/Winter collection in Mumbai which has no winter? Or do we create a unique seasonality for India?” he asked.

Mr Biyani, in his keynote address, said: “We are too focused on the top when there is a lot more opportunity on the middle and mass segments. The mobile phone industry has models ranging in price from Rs 2,500 to Rs 35,000 and was looking at phones costing just Rs 1,000. There is a need for consolidation in our fragmented industry and for a new Fashion Alliance to set trends in colours and fabrics through designs aimed at every Indian, at every price point for every category,” he added at the inaugural ceremony of IMAGES FASHION FORUM 2007 – IFF ’07.

Over 2,000 leading global and Indian names from the world of fashion branding, retailing, merchandising and the entire gamut of fashion retail support organizations are attending IFF ’07 at The Renaissance at Powai in Mumbai, he said the industry was witnessing a revolutionary change in the Indian consumer, an amazing retail explosion and intense competition in the fashion industry.

Mr Anish Trivedi, CMD, Banyan Tree Communications said, ”IFF ’07 illustrated how the situation had changed in India over the past seven years. “Seven years ago, you had a handful of people getting awards at IFF and few thought of fashion as a business and industry. Today, we have transited to a Rs 3 trillion industry which is growing at 40% per year. There were no global fashion brands here seven years ago. Today, Indian fashion brands are everywhere and every fashion brand in the world is looking at India. India took 60 years to run the 26-mile marathon but will do the last 385 yards in much less time. This roomful of people have understood this and see a great opportunity in the fashion industry in India,” he added.

Mr Tarun Tejpal, best-selling author, journalist and critic, in his inaugural address hailed India’s strengths as a liberal democracy and said its adaptability would help it triumph in the 21st century. “I see India impacting the world in many ways with its cultural effervescence. Yoga, our food and our films will impact the world in many ways,” he said.

Conceptualised seven years ago as a platform to prepare the fashion and retail industry to meet the needs of the emerging Global Indian seeking a global shopping experience at home, IFF ’07 has added interest this year with the current focus in India on organised retail and the current retail boom, the explosion of malls and entry of global fashion houses and retailers. IFF ’07 has brought together leading brands in clothing, footwear, watches, jewellery, beauty, home fashion & lifestyle that make up a huge Rs. 3,00,000 crore market.

Says Amitabh Taneja, Chief Convenor of Images Fashion Forum (IFF), “Over the last six years, IFF has grown to be recognised as the knowledge platform of the Indian retail, fashion and apparel industries, providing companies with a platform to partner, network and promote their business interests through a sharing of experiences. Each retailer here has a story to tell – almost a saga of the market they struggled and flourished in. The market could be in north-eastern Shillong, or the northern Panipat or the recently-carved state of Chattisgarh.”

Talking about a key highlight this year, IFF spokesperson, Meher Castelino added, “IFF 2007 is off to a fabulous start. We had a great morning session with Mr Biyani and Mr Javeri addressing the audience. The biggest names in the business of fashion and retail have come together for the next forty-eight hours and I’m sure they will find this a very useful platform for information sharing and networking.”

For the first time in the history of branded fashion industry in India, Images sees the launch of the Future Fashion House ‘THE INDIA BRAND SHOW’ – showcasing fashion and style trends of 2007 by some of the most powerful brands – live on the ramp. Highlight of the IBS will be the Triumph show live.

One highlight of IFF ’07 is Fashion High Street with brand boutiques of Van Heusen, Dockers, Savile Row, Allen Solly, Reebok, Blackberrys, among others.

International companies representation include Channel, Bin Hendi Enterprises, Baccarose, Porsche, Benetton, Orra, Swatch, Pepe, Triumph, Nike, Tommy Hilfiger, Levi’s, Mango, Aldo, La Cenza, Adidas, and others.

International speakers include Carol Williams, President, May Co. Int., USA, Meg Lustman, Group Strategy and Development Director, Mosaic Fashions, UK, Catherine Dixon, Senior Analyst, GDR Creative Intelligence, UK, Bill D’Arienzo, CEO, WDA BrandMarketing Solutions, USA and Jon Penrice, EVP, Apparel Global Marketing, Invista, Switzerland, Klaus N. Hang, Editor & Publisher, Sportswear Int., Jeffrey Doltis, MD, The Savile Row Co UK and Aziz Merchant, Director – Brandz International Inc. UAE

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