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Fashion industry on threshold of a boom

From a fledgling affair to a robust industry, the Indian fashion mart stands on the threshold of a revolution in designs, colours and opportunities, thanks to changing lifestyles and an insatiating consumer.

Fashion at one time was the prerogative of the Maharajas and the elite. Today it percolates to all sections of society, resulting in an ever-expanding industry. Not too long ago, only a few were well dressed. But now it is an exception not to be well dressed.

Be it bridal wear or trendy designer apparel for youngsters, the Indian fashion scenario has never looked so bright. The Fashion Design Council of India's (FDCI) decision to make the 'India Fashion Week' a biennial event testifies to this. Leading fashion designers feel that this would soon enable New Delhi and Mumbai to be at par with London, Rome and Milan or other cities that hold a fall/winter and a spring/summer show.

A recent report released by management consultancy KPMG and the FDCI estimated that the turnover of the Indian designer-wear industry is around Rs 180 crore, which is a mere tenth of the salwar-kameez market in eight metros pegged at Rs 1,700 crore. The country's apparel market does business worth Rs 20,000 crore, of which branded apparel accounts for Rs 5,000 crore.

The country’s fashion industry has the potential to generate huge revenues and foreign exchange. Manufacturers say the thrust in 2006 will not only be on technology and inexpensive labour but also on creativity of a high order. Innovation in design will play a crucial role in a highly competitive global market.

With the domestic fashion industry working in tandem with the government to showcase its wares worldwide, outsourcing of another kind is currently in vogue for the fashion sector. Indian fashion designers are working in sync with global fashion houses to showcase their brands to a wider global clientele.

With the advent of a band of dedicated young designers like Rohit Khosla, Raghavendra Rathore, J J Valaya, Rina Dhaka willing to take risks and explore hitherto unexplored territory, the Indian fashion scenario underwent a sea change. It began to get its due recognition domestically as well as internationally.

Forecasting trends for 2006, men's apparel company Arrow, Business Head, Janak Dave is of the opinion that nascent categories like accessories which include ties, belts and cuff links would register a 100 per cent growth. 


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