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IFF 2014: The Future of Fashion Lies in Technology

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Top honchos discuss revolutionary concepts and techniques in fashion at India’s Leading Fashion Forum

During the final sessions at IFF, top brands and designers felt the need of creating the aspiration in consumers to want fashion and to crave for the best in fashion and lifestyle. For this, it is imperative that professionals involved across the entire value chain of the fashion industry – fashion designers, fashion retailers, fashion journalists – create this aura for consumers to want fashion, by treating Fashion as an aspirational, and creating their processes around it to make consumers aware of latest trends, educating them on an inspirational lifestyle, and become a fashion forward consuming class.

The session gave out new trends and business opportunities for creating the next fashion revolution. Dr. Vandana Bhandari, Dean, NIFT moderated the session with key industry leaders Pradeep Hirani, MD, Kimaya; Manish Kapoor, COO, French Connection; Priyadarshini Rao, Creative Director, Mineral and Designer; Rajiv Nair, CEO, Celio Future Fashion; Malini Agarwal, Founder & Blogger- In- Chief, MissMalini Publishing.

Hirani said that the future of fashion is digital and it will be going high street. 3D printing is going to take fashion by storm. We call it as new dictator of fashion. 3D printing is going to make things cheaper and more accessible. Its green and sustainable colour changing technology with washable microchips will help the customer to change the colour and design. In future designers will also need engineering degrees as the future of fashion will see the collaboration between engineering and designing. Another concept which will gain popularity is a virtual store which the brand plans to put in place. Karmik will soon open an outlet at Delhi where it will have ipads instead of clothes. There will be a virtual trial room where one doesn’t have to change the clothes for trial. Today, consumers have to go from shop to shop to compare products but online will make this easy in the coming days.

Kapoor added that the brands need to look at commercialization in terms of concept. The idea also has to be inclusive. Brands that have been successful have had local management. If the brand gives inherent value to the customer, they will do well.

Rao commented that the Indian women at some point looks for value plus something that fits her well and works for her aesthetics.

Nair said that before we educate the customer about the value standards, it is more important to be responsible as a retailer. Celio is a brand which does not standardize men’s wear as the owners believe that the brand has to be affordable, accessible and must have a twist.

The session on catalyzing new Ideas, concepts, categories, occasions and inspirations to create the next wave of fashion consumption, Roshni Bakshi, MD – Licensing and retail, Disney UTV said that there is an emerging market for graphics in fashion and couture brands. Another emerging market is where consumer buy online and pick it up offline. Workwear is becoming part casual and part formal. Augmented realty is also emerging. It is an experience where you can try the product online. Clearly, trends are continuously changing but some remain the same as graphics, polka dots, blacks and greys.”

Neeta Lulla, Fashion Designer and Founder Director, NSL Fashions mentioned that the aspect of making fashion aspirational is already on the roll. Whether it is buying something old season collection or a new collection, consumers will buy it if it looks good.

Rohit Sobti, VP- Licensing & Merchandising, Yash Raj Films said that Bollywood has been setting trends for 100 years. Since Bollywood sets trends, the company launched Diva’ni which is the first cinema inspired fashion brand towards this purpose. Diva’ni has received a phenomenal response. Creating designs, trends and making them accessible and affordable to consumers is what the company is  looking at.

The session, Retail Real Estate Growth Powering Fashion Retail: Taking the Synergy Further for the Growth of Fashion Spaces discussed that great fashion needs good ambience and savvy environment for showcasing its various aspects perfectly. Fashion dominates the biggest spaces in the Malls. As per IMAGES Malls of India Yearbook research, the fashion category constitutes 59% of the mall’s tenants and occupies 30% of the Retail Area inside the mall. The reason is easy to understand because Malls provide the essential components which make shopping for fashion not just an occasion but a complete experience.

The session brought together leading mall developers and heads of Fashion to provide insights on how to further build upon the mutual synergies, covering key points.

As per the Images Malls of India Year Book, the malls tenants occupy 30% of the retail area inside the mall.  Commenting on the same, Raza Beig, CEO, Splash and Iconic (Landmark Group, UAE) said that entertainment is an integral part of any mall and the right mix of entertainment and food is necessary. He said in India the right attitude for fashion is missing,  the seriousness of fashion is missing in the business, making it challenging.  Unfortunately, fashion is not used to bring change.

Dhiraj Dogra, Group CMO, Shrishti Group further said that  the developer should charge a reasonable rent from the retailer which is sustainable so that both parties make money. In India, we spend 40% of our disposable income on food and 20%  to 25% of disposable income on fashion, hence, we have to proportionate on the demand of the consumers and devote on what the customer wants more.

Recognised by the international retail community through its B2B Magazines, Conferences, Exhibitions, Research Volumes, and Web Portals, the Images Group is a retail intelligence organisation that is trusted as the catalyst for profitable growth of modern retail through knowledge platform leadership. A strong portfolio of business publications have served since 1992 to inform, advise and inspire leaders and decision makers of the retail industry. Focussed media serves key retail verticals like Food & Grocery, Fashion, Beauty & Wellness, Food Service, Textiles, etc., and also cover Franchising, Retail Support, Technology and Real Estate. The need to connect with businesses, people, knowledge and ideas associated with modern retail is served by Images Business Exhibitions and networking meets. Conducted alongside these, Images Knowledge Forums and Conferences featuring global leaders inspire not just debate and discussion, but even influence policy decisions. Images Awards are respected for the accurate, unbiased and transparent evaluation and recognition of retail performance and loved for the style with which these successes are celebrated.

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