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A letter from Lakmé.

As the fashion industry heads for a bitter split — with Lakmé and IMG Fashion parting ways with FDCI (Fashion Designers' Council of India), the two groups vie for designers. The industry is divided into two fashion events- the LFW (Lakmé Fashion Week) in Mumbai and the IFW (India Fashion Week) in Delhi. Both the groups have been making media announcements with updates on their respective fashion shows.

Some of FDCI's announcements include that designers can participate in only one of the two events, Lakmé doesn't have enough international buyers attending their show and that Lakmé is more interested in promoting its brand and not the fashion designers.

Lakmé wanted to clarify certain issues with the fashion designers and hence issued the following letter to designers and the media. Here's an abridged version thereof:

Dear Designer,

We have received tremendous support from all fashion industry stakeholders since the announcement of LFW. There are media reports with confused, speculative messages. Lakmé and IMG would prefer to communicate with you directly as a key stakeholder in the industry. We wish to highlight certain facts that will equip you with right information.

Designer Participation:

Barring designers from participating in another trade event, we believe, is against the law. It is within the rights of every designer to participate in any event they choose to further their business prospects. We understand FDCI is communicating messages to the contrary.

It was reported on December 4, 2005 that FDCI has the support of 76 designers from Delhi, Kolkata and Bangalore. Also separately reported on December 5 2005 FDCI has stated that they have received 30 applications till then. Though the last date of entries for FDCI's IFW was December 5 2005, it is extended to December 10 2005.

Regarding designer participation in LFW, we have received numerous media queries to reveal names. We are also aware that all designers are being called upon by FDCI to make a choice between IFW and LFW. We have chosen not to release names of designers who have already committed to LFW as many may like to participate in both events.

In an attempt to woo outstation designers, participation fee for Indian Fashion Week, which was Rs 2.5 lakh is dropped, only for outstation designers to Rs 1.5 lakh.

LFW designer guidelines state that participating designers shall not associate with any brand/company in categories which are conflicting with the event sponsors in any manner whatsoever during the period of LFW and within a period of one week prior to the start of LFW 2006. As many designers want to participate in both, we decided not to enforce the foregoing in a manner that will prevent your participation in both events.

Official Status: FDCI have claimed that IFW is an official event. 'Official' in the Oxford dictionary is 'authorized by proper authority' or 'One, who holds an office or position, especially one who acts in a subordinate capacity for an institution such as a corporation or governmental agency'. An event such as the Fashion Week can be called 'Official' only if the organising body is a government body, which FDCI is not.

Buyers And Media:

International: It was reported that FDCI stated, 'In 6 years, IMG brought in only one buyer, Michael Fink from Saks Fifth Avenue'. But the following premium buyers, among others attended LIFW over the last 6 years. They were Albert Morris — Browns, Michael Fink — Saks 5th Avenue, Elizabeth Pederson — Selfridges, Jason Broderick — Harrods, A contingent from Villa Moda In addition, IMG has facilitated attendance at LIFW of several key global media over the last 6 years, which included: Guy Trebay — New York Times, Colin McDowell - Sunday Times, London, Lisa Grainger — Elle UK, Eric Wilson — WWD

Moving on, we have already announced our commitment to ensuring the participation of a minimum of four buyers/ media from North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. We also recognise the importance of Middle East and the IMG team, led by Fern Mallis, is presently in Dubai to facilitate the participation of buyers and media from that region.

Lakmé As A Sponsor:

It is reported that Lakmé uses the Fashion Week event to only promote its products. Over the last 6 years Lakmé worked with 18 esteemed designers for its Grand Finale and they are testimony to the fact that working with Lakmé has also helped them further establish and develop their brand.

It has also given them an opportunity to take their brand beyond the ramp to a wider audience. Moreover, most fashion week events around the world have title sponsors. In fact, FDCI at this point of time are looking for one.

LFW is sponsored by a brand (Lakmé) and is organised by a company (IMG) — relevant to your business. At this point, with only 4 days left for the last day for entries at the IFW (Dec. 10) you do not know under which title sponsor label your brand will be associated.

Finally, Lakmé and IMG were two of the three pillars at the inception of LIFW and have significantly contributed in building it over the last 6 years. We look forward to continuing our relationship to move forward in integrating India with the global fashion world.

Signed by:

Anil Chopra, Vice President — Lakmé Lever and Ravi Krishnan MD — IMG/TWI ( South Asia)


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