The Fashion Orientalist featured the very first edition of India Runway Week back in 2013. The organisers of the event, IFFD (Indian Federation for Fashion Development) directors Kiran Kheva and Avinash Pathania, created this platform for young & talented fashion designers from India to showcase their work to a greater audience. Fun fact: 2013 was also the year The Fashion Orientalist was launched and IRW was one of our first features. We caught up with the directors, right after yet another successful edition which was held 28-30th of April in New Delhi. The event was described as young, fresh & colourful and included a homage to Indian handlooms.
Looking at the first edition in 2013 and this year’s edition, which is the eighth edition of India Runway Week (IRW), how has the platform evolved?
Avinash Pathania: It seems like only yesterday. It all started in 2013 with just 15 designers participating. I remember everyone around us had their doubts. Was India Runway Week just a gimmick, like many start-ups in the Indian fashion industry or would it become a great success? Today we are among the top fashion events of the country, in just 4 years. If I compare the first edition with the eighth, it’s like it’s a completely different event, but with the same focus; young fashion designers. The first edition showcased 15 designers, the eighth edition featured 43. The first edition had just one show area, now it has two; a main show area and ‘fashion brooder runway’. The eighth edition also had a special area for bloggers called the ‘IRW Fashion Shuttle’. We also had fashion shows in different categories like Newgen, budding, upcoming and so on. The most important change we are seeing as the organisers is that the young designers have really evolved over the years, their designs have matured and the audience is witnessing this growth, it’s one of the reasons the media turnout is increasing with each season.
Could you say that IRW has grown into a fashion movement? It was discussed in the media that some of the young designers of India Runway Week not only showcase their fashion, but also bring to light social topics through their work.
Avinash Pathania: IRW’s existence itself is a fashion movement. It was the first event to change the focus from the fashion legends to the young & talented of the industry. After seeing the success of IRW many events have tried to follow this concept in their own way. You could say our young fashion movement has taken over the entire fashion industry in India.
Kiran Kheva: Many social topics need to be addressed in the society in which we live. If IRW designers are doing that, then they are not only showcasing their creativity to the world but they are also fulfilling a social responsibility. As the organiser we must keep in check that the IRW platform is not misused in any way, the designers’ work at the end of the day, needs to remain the main focus.
In your last edition you’ve dedicated one whole day to bring a homage to Indian handlooms, a moment to promote textile designers. Could you tell us more about this homage and the role handlooms play in Indian fashion?
Avinash Pathania: The handlooms of India are its biggest assets. Indian hand woven fabrics have been known since time immemorial. India was famous even in ancient times as an exporter of textiles to most parts of the civilized world. In history but also in the present. After agriculture, Indian handlooms are the second biggest provider of employment. This is why it is necessary that these young designers use Indian hand woven textiles and the consumers need to know more about its background. It needs to be celebrated.
What are the Indian fashion trends of 2017?
Kiran Kheva: This summer is all about gold, shimmering outfits in various cuts, drapes or pleats. This season also redefines metallic’s & glitters. Bright & bold colours are also in trend.
What are your plans for the upcoming editions of IRW?
Avinash Pathania: As organisers we only have one plan, which is to make the next season of India Runway Week better than the last season and to provide its visitors with the very best of India’s young & talented fashion designers.