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Indian, Italian institutes sign pact in fashion industry

Indian, Italian institutes sign pact in fashion industry

Indian and Italian fashion institutes signed a contract for launching a program, that will mould Indian design and fashion professionals into managers in the retail revolution, a statement by the Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry said here on 17 th January, 2006.

Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath and Italian Deputy Minister for Productive Activities and Foreign Trade Adolfo Urso were present during the signing of the pact.

The contract was signed by India's National Institute of Design (NID), Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and Italy's Bocconi University, Altagamma (the association of Italian companies operating in the high end of the market) and Confidustria (an Italian employers' federation).

Students who participate in the program "Managing Fashion and Design Companies Successfully" will be awarded a Joint Certificate of participation issued by Bocconi University and NID.

Students will be trained in areas including strategic design management, design process, new product development, packaging, retail impact, competitive analysis of design-business, strengths and design measurement, by a faculty made up of stalwarts from strategic design management, lifestyle accessory design, apparel design and merchandising and faculty of both the NID and the Bocconi University.

NID is an acknowledged repository in the field of design education, consultancy and design promotion in India, while Bocconi University is one of the leading management and business universities in Europe.

Altagamma and Confidustria will help identify the Italian member companies to be involved in the program. FICCI will assist in identification of the Indian companies to be involved in the field projects.


We sell themes, not bags and shoes: Gucci boss

When asked at the Hindustan Times Luxury Conference whether it was the brand that was more important or the designer, Robert Polet, CEO and President, Gucci Group said without missing a beat: “The brand is more important than any designer.”

It was a controversial answer to what has become the classic chicken or egg question in fashion. It is pertinent in context of a nascent Indian fashion industry, but more on the later. It was in fact Gucci itself that brought the debate out in the open. When Tom Ford, the man credited with reviving a dying fashion house with his design vision, left the group in late 2003, the brand v/s. designer row became public.

Corporates run fashion houses worldwide with designers being hired and fired at whim. Louis Vuitton, a luxury brand, employs designer Marc Jacobs in what has turned out to be one of the most successful fashion marriages of the decade. Chanel, created by designer Coco Chanel, is now a company which continued to keep Karl Lagerfeld on the rolls many years after Coco’s death. Micheal Kors was replaced at Celine (also owned by LVMH) by Roberto Menichetti, though he did not get the same reception from critics as Kors.

There is lateral movement of designers across the board as couture houses keep changing crew. End result: The brand reigns supreme. And even in the case of Gucci, brands under them which bear eponymous names like Stella McCartney and Alender McQueen are reportedly floundering in terms of business.

But what of India? It was silent dissent. Designers like Rajesh Pratap Singh, J.J. Valaya and Rohit Bal sat in the audience when Polet gave his verdict. Valaya, for instance, said, “You cannot undermine the designer, as does Pratap. Both believe, like many designers in India and abroad, it is one man’s vision and point of view that must carry a fashion house through, however, commercially successful it may be.” There’s a point here.

Lagerfeld designs for Chanel, but he has imbibed Coco Chanel’s design philosophy, from the tweed suits to hidden luxury themes. And Gucci’s success story is incomplete without Tom Ford. India, however, is a different story. In the absence of enduring brands and consumer-relevant designers, the debate will continue to rage.


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