JAIPUR, India — The International Foundation of Fashion Technology Institutes’ IFFTI conference, which is held in different locations each year, this time was hosted by the Pearl Academy of Fashion here last week focusing on the theme “Fashion Without Borders.”
Among those attending were Angela Missoni; Jeffry Aronsson; Simon Lock, creative director of Dubai Fashion Week; Frances Corner, head of the London College of Fashion; Rajeev Sethi from the Asian Heritage Foundation, and Santosh Desai, managing and chief executive of Future Brands Ltd.
Representatives from more than 40 fashion technology institutes from the U.S., Japan, France and 16 other countries put their heads together to reflect on how the industry could do better in terms of design and technology and some of the overriding issues that cut across borders.
The $58 billion Indian fashion industry came under scrutiny, too, becoming a focus for analysis from both design and fashion experts from India and internationally.
“The idea of fashion has struck a universal chord with multiple fashion weeks occurring across continents. Despite these global market trends, fashion and design haven’t quite evolved as mainstream career options in India,” said Dr. Satoshi Onuma, chairman of IFFTI. He pointed out that the meeting of global minds would help “place India on the global platform of fashion education and change mind-sets significantly.”
Sharad Mehra, chief operating officer of Pearl Academy of Fashion, said that fashion was one of the fastest-growing sectors in India and that the forum in which brands, designers and academics came together to discuss ideas and become thought leaders was a key way of moving the industry along in India. He said that more than 35 to 40 percent of the organized retail market in India is dominated by fashion retail.
Missoni said that fashion was one of the filters of society, like movies or music, a way to translate the world with your eyes into clothes. “India will be an opportunity in the next few years, and we plan to enter...with a strong presence in the accessory space. It is also one of the few markets in the world where ties are very popular,” she said.
Rajeev Sethi of the Asian Heritage Foundation, who has been a designer, cautioned that westernization was not modernization and that the process of growing design needed to be carefully monitored. “We need to make the base of the pyramid very firm instead of making random notes into a floating situation. The corporate sector needs to be less myopic in the way they approach fashion, too,” he said.
Simon Lock, who earlier founded Australian Fashion Week and has been closely associated with others across the world including Lakme Fashion Week in Mumbai, said that there are 283 fashion weeks across the world and one of the key learnings was that each of them had to create a clear cultural identity. He said that India was sitting on a gold mine, with its hand-loom industry and crafts and embroidery, and that with more unity within the industry and a clear focus on the silhouettes, the opportunity for the nation’s fashion industry is immense.
Aronsson, former ceo of Emanuel Ungaro, shared a strong brand perspective and the challenges of growing a brand. He said that the key is to balance the strategy for the brand in terms of balancing cohesion and consistency; the need for repetition while creating freshness and managing distribution. He said that one of the most important things to remember is the big multiethnic opportunity where countries like India with a deep cultural heritage and those like China with years of suppressed creativity have an important role to play.
The changing world of technology and how this is affecting fashion globally was a recurring theme during the event. Ram Sareen, head coach and founder of the TUKA group, described the concept of the smart fitting room on the Internet which allows customized outfits using sites such as styku.com or avirate.com to be produced and delivered within hours of an order being placed. Technology is also driving the creation of new fabrics. E-commerce has also grown rapidly — 43 percent in India in 2009 and 2010, and 25 percent globally in the same year — but m-commerce via smartphones is the new growth area.
The point that emerged was that each culture had to address their own markets and then compare and work together with the rest of the world. As Tina Guglielmino from the School of Fashion and Textiles, Royal Melbourne, Australia, observed: “Collaboration is the catchphrase these days. This is true for movies and music. It is also true for fashion.”
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
Not only does #TheProfit return to CNBC tonight, but @marcuslemonis has launched @shopmarcus, a new shopping and lifestyle retail experience in Aspen and Chicago, with more locations to come. The retail stores offer in-store stylists and a variety of contemporary womenswear selections.
“It’s life, I’m going to face it,” @mingxi11 sighed. “I fell, but you know, I think the most important thing is that I get back up. I had the love, the help from my sister — the girl next to me Gizele [Oliveira] — she’s so nice. When I went backstage everybody was trying to comfort me like ‘Oh Ming, it’s OK.’ I’m really, really touched. I think it’s them who gave me the courage to go back on stage for the finale,” Xi told WWD of her fall at the @victoriassecret fashion show. (📷: David Fisher) #wwdfashion #vsfashionshow #victoriassecret
@louisvuitton tapped @therealpeterlindbergh for its latest city-centric photo book, which is part of a series called Fashion Eye. The primarily black and white book captures the spirit of Berlin in 57 images shot between 1989 and 2019. “Berlin is an inspiration for me, more than a city. I mean @millajovovich is simply Berlin!” said Lindbergh. #wwdfashion
“You know, I think audiences expect a certain performance so I have to deliver to them what they’re expecting to a certain degree. But I’m also a different actor and a different person, I have my own spin on the character,” says @noahegalvin of his takeover of the leading role in “Dear Evan Hansen” following the departure of @bensplatt, who originated the role. Read WWD’s interview with the 23-year-old actor on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
For pre-fall 2018, @etro created richly-colored wonderland, using tapestries, textiles and wallpapers from the Eastern world at large. The line featured floral and graphic prints and jacquard motifs, like this two-piece look featured here. #wwdfashion (📷: Giovanna Pavesi)
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)