It is officially that time of the year when fashion week will take over our feeds. This season, however, comes with a double bonanza. Recently, Lakmé Fashion Week (LFW) and Fashion Design Council Of India (FDCI) announced a joint fashion week for S/S 2021. The 5-day showcase will be a mix of digital and phygital shows brought together by the two Indian fashion giants.
Jaspreet Chandhok, head of Lifestyle Business at Lakmé Fashion Week, talks to ELLE about the new initiatives to be launched for up-and-coming designers and what this collaboration means for the future of Indian fashion.
ELLE: What can we expect from the coming together of the two major fashion weeks in India?
Jaspreet Chandhok: From our perspective, the biggest thing would be that this starts an era of collaboration. The three heavyweights in Indian fashion – Lakme, RISE and FDCI have come together to work towards the industry’s betterment. So I think irrespective of the event this season or what happens in the future, these platforms have started working together in a much more collaborative fashion. The seeds of this have been sown in the past few months, when we collaborated with the FDCI on their Covid fund. The basic idea is to help designers grow their businesses, and that doesn’t change, irrespective of whether it’s a singular event or a joint venture.
ELLE: Since it’s a partly phygital and largely virtual fashion week, how will it pan out?
JC: Right now, the shoots in Delhi have already begun at the FDCI headquarters. Next week, the shoots will begin in Bombay as well. We are evaluating whether we can have a physical interface for the event, but that is subjected to government approval.
ELLE: Last year was the first time LFW went digital. How was it received, and how did the virtual transition affect the business?
JC: Consumers spending capacity towards luxury has reduced significantly. That has had its effects not just on designer businesses, but also on the platforms that are promoting designer businesses. So, it’s impossible to say that businesses were not affected last season. Since the market is showing some agility now, there is a positive movement, and we’re hoping to build on the fact that this collaboration will help the industry gets back on its feet.
ELLE: After a year of fashion films, what new can the audiences expect from the fashion week this season?
JC: Well, how can we surprise you any further after making that big of an announcement? I think that’s the key conversation this season. Also, now that we are in season two of digital initiatives, and designers have gotten used to the concept of creating fashion trends, we will see more creativity.
ELLE: As the world is transitioning back to normal, what can we expect from the lineup of designers in terms of trends?
JC: We give that power to the designer, to choose what works best for their business. A certain set of designers will be showcasing in season, a certain set of designers who will be showcasing next season, and some will be showcasing for the international buyers. This is a trend that you see in fashion weeks globally as well; The whole event will be seasonal fluid. As long as you can communicate that transparently and consistently, each stakeholder understands exactly what part of the fashion week is for them.
ELLE: What are the new initiatives being launched to help new designers establish their brand?
JC: We started a new award called The Next Spotlight, where emerging designers will pick their concepts for fashion films and present them to a jury. The winner gets a fully produced fashion film from our end. We already have the Gen-Next program that we do. The FDCI has also instituted one showcase towards their pick of the emerging designer of the season. The intent will always be to promote younger talent and push them to the next level. When we announce the finale designer, it will be someone who hasn’t closed fashion week before. Discoverability and sustainability remain to be the core of all our initiatives.