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IFF 2014: Transforming the Business of Fashion in India!

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India’s biggest fashion business event, India Fashion Forum (IFF) 2014, scheduled on 17th and 18th January 2014 at the Bombay Exhibition Centre at Mumbai showcased attitude, bustling trade, invigorating knowledge and networking like never before. The fashion retail event concurrently is hosting the Mega Fashion Trinity- India Fashion Forum 2014, InFashion 2014 and India Shoes & Accessories Forum (ISAF) 2014.

At the inaugural session of IFF 2014, key leaders of the fashion retail industry such as Rakesh Biyani, Chairman and Jt. MD Future Retail; Kulin Lalbhai, Executive Director, Arvind; Ritu Kumar, fashion designer and Premkumar Gera, Director General, NIFT were seen discussing the importance of Nurturing the Eco System of the Fashion in India. The session was anchored by Arvind Singal, Chaiman Technopak, whereas Ram Sareen, International Specialist and Consultant shared the key notes on the subject.

Rakesh Biyani shared his optimistic views: “If you look at the number of online fashion stores, I think it’s time that more departmental stores should open up. We see a lot of regional players opening new stores. Value fashion model and outlet business like megamart have a lot of potential, however, online will be larger than this.”

Kulin Lalbhai from Arvind highlighted the subject of Indian textile, in his views innovation, integration and investment is not closely looked in the textile space but the product is at the heart of the textile value chain. “Retail is about giving the customer what he wants and where he wants. Manufacturers and retailers have to work closely to bring product innovation into the heart of what we do. If we truly integrate, we can give the customer what he wants,” he said.

Celebrated fashion designer, Ritu Kumar expressed her views about Indian and international fashion industry and how it has evolved over the years. Kumar opined: “In India so many things exist at so many different levels. Look at European fashion history, in 60’s a lot of talent was emerging. Then, there was a law for not importing zips and buttons. It took 40 years for Europe to become such a huge market, while we were just scratching the surface. You will not find anywhere in the world other than in India where you will find a parallel design future”. She further added, in India for women we have western wardrobe, a wardrobe which fits their culture. In India we dress, in rest of the world people dress minimal and for them it’s more fashionable. In india it’s completely reverse.

Premkumar Gera from NIFT congratulated Images Group for their association for 20 years and for the 14th addition of IFF. He mentioned: “The growth of India is at 2  percent for 2 trillion, we only need more people in the fashion technology industry. In 1986, no one would have thought we will need a fashion institute in the country. The business is changing at the speed of thought. The technology is the change of the time. We have a huge population and there is a huge demand by this market of skilled people. Our students go to live with craftsmen in the rural area to learn and create innovative fashion.”

During the keynote address in the inaugural session of IFF 2014 on Nurturing the Eco System of the Fashion Ram Sareen from Tukatech mentioned that most customers like to go back to the stores where brands are designing. Amazon is one company that has largest information about the customers and the power of information is immense. Retailing has become a challenge. Fashion changes quickly, new trends happen every 10 weeks. No one has to be very rich to be fashionable. “It’s very important for every brand to provide the right fit or the brand won’t sell and people pay for the fit. The brand has to sell through every style in every size,” he added. Sareen concluded mentioning that adaptation to technology is the key. He further added that textile industry is doing well in India, there are 165 sizes for Indian men and technology plays a very important role in getting the right fit.

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