The Fashion Orientalist spoke with the directors of the Indian Federation for Fashion Development (IFFD), Avinash Pathania and Kiran Kheva about their upcoming event India Runway Week, the Indian fashion industry and more.
You have established the Indian Federation for Fashion Development in 2012, could you tell us more about the idea behind the IFFD? How did it all come together?
Avinash: We were fascinated by the dynamics of the fashion industry. We knew what hardships new and aspiring designers have to go through before they are able to enter the glamorous world of fashion and felt the need to set up a platform for them, to help them develop. The idea to establish the IFFD was to give these young people a chance, to nurture their talents and encourage their growth. It is also important for them to be introduced to other designers and fashion industry members, to network and share ideas with established members of the industry.
Kiran: This is why we organize several fashion events a year to introduce them to the public, to allow them to make connections, find buyers, who knows they might even feel artistically inspired by these events and their fellow designers.
For those who are new to the Indian fashion industry, could you paint a picture of it for us?
Kiran: I think it is everyone’s dream to be part of the different fashion platforms in India
whether you are a designers, makeup artist, fashion photographer or fashion stylist.
It is quite a lot of work and effort to make it big here. You need to be established and experienced to be able to present your work at these different fashion platforms.
Avinash: I feel we provide important possibilities when it comes to education, growth and experience needed for a new fashion individual to make it in the fashion industry. Obviously you need a good dose of talent to stand out. India knows many skilled individuals; it takes some creativity and individuality to stand out in this industry.
What are the weaknesses and strengths of this industry according to you?
Avinash: In the industry you need a few things to survive like; talent, creativity, a good network but also skills when it comes to selling your product or work. You need to know what is hot or not, know what sells and how to market your product or service. I think this is both a strength and weakness, if your sole focus is to sell your product or service, you become too commercial. When this happens you tend to lose creativity. You should always be creative and take risks, I feel this makes you a true artist. Playing it safe could also be a danger, people want to be amazed by something new and innovative.
Do you feel it is important that Indian designers also cater to an international audience, or should they stay true to their roots and focus on India only?
Avinash: According to me every designer should focus on the domestic market at first. When they become a household name they should start exploring the international markets. Unfortunately some Indian designers solely focus on an international audience, they think once they are accepted abroad the Indian customers and Indian fashion industry will welcome them with open arms. I guess this could also be a good idea, but the percentage of success through this is very low.
Just recently you have organized the India Fashion Summit, the next event coming up is India Runway Week in August, what can we expect from this event?
Kiran: We aim to promote tomorrow’s designers today during India Runway Week. You can expect runway shows, a fashion marketplace, networking opportunities, all the ingredients for a great fashion event. We have quite a few interesting showcases planned and important players from the industry will be present. We will be announcing more details soon.
Do you have any career advice or tips for designing talent/fashion industry hopefuls out there who would like to contribute to the fashion industry with their work?
Kiran: Keep exploring the new opportunities that come your way and use innovative methods to create your designs. Create a signature look that stands out in the crowd. Out of the box thinking is very important when it comes to the creation of unique designs.
Fast forward ten years from now, what would you like to have achieved by then with the IFFD?
Avinash: Being able to set up this platform for new talent to give them exposure is already a big milestone, which we are proud of. There is still so much for us yet to achieve and we are working hard to make it all happen. I hope in ten years we will be an important name in the fashion industry, promoting and supporting new and fresh talent and launching them into the industry with great success.
India Runway Week takes place from the 29th of august until the 1st of september 2013 in Delhi, India.
Visit the IFFD website for more information: iffd.co.in/
Images: India Fashion Summit 2013