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2012 IN REVIEW - Banking On Fashion
Indian Fashion in 2012 - A Review
31 st Dec 2012

The year is drawing to a close, just a few more hours here in London and we'll be in 2013 - very exciting times! 2012 was an interesting year and some of the memorable themes that stood out for us, and the potential for 2013 are,

1. Retail FDI in India

FDI for multi brand retail in India was passed into regulation by the Indian parliament. This is a substantial step in opening the doors for foreign investment to the very lucrative Indian retail sector.

Opening up of FDI in single brands was a substantial step and one that permitted key International brands like Louis Vuitton and the like to enter India. Multi-brand retail FDI is going to open the doors for brands like Walmart to enter India.

Some of the brands that entered India earlier however have been re-evaluating their strategies and their expansion plans. Partnerships and JV's between key local players and International companies (e.g. Esprit and Madura Fashion) were re-evaluated in the environment of slower than expected growth. Is this a trend that is going to continue? Or are brands going to go rushing in searching for the end of the rainbow?

2. Young Indian Designers in Focus

Masaba Gupta was appointed the creative head at Satya Paul. This represented a very important step both for the designer and for the brand. Satya Paul as a brand has been around since before Masaba started her career and Masaba by all accounts is very young in the Indian Fashion space. This is of course a welcome step because it truly means that talent has been rewarded over experience, and this is certainly a step in the right direction.

Speaking of younger designers being in focus, one has to mention the finale by Kallol Datta at the fashion week - a very bold step for a fashion week. Are the designers going to be able to deliver and keep people interested? Are the senior designers going to be happy about the lack of focus on them?

3. Indian Designers Making a Political Statement

Fashion designers have long been considered as taking a stance on political situations from the sidelines. In 2012, one of the designers that stood out for us was Wendell Rodricks, who closed one of his stores in a key location because the group that owned the hotel was accused of irresponsible practices. What impressed us was the fact that a stance was taken and some action followed. It was not just rhetoric. Is this trend is going to continue? Should designers even be venturing in this space or should they just stick to designing and selling?

4. Indian Fashion Designers Turned Authors

Some Indian Designers launched books, notably Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla and Wendell Rodricks. The books were launched with much fanfare and in the case of Abu and Sandeep, even a very extensive International launch. Are these just one-offs or are these going to become a sustained strategy by senior designers? Books are an interesting revenue stream for the designers, even if they are not aiming for this, because they are capitalising on their past efforts and creations. At the same time, the coffee table books become constant reminders about the designers, so a brilliant marketing strategy.

We think that this might be a phase and the designers that launched books might be an exception to the pack, rather than the rule.

These are the themes that we thought are key to 2012. There were notable events like Sonam Kapoor re-asserts herself as a style diva and Manish Arora parts ways from Paco Rabanne, but none on the lines of a theme.

We are looking forward to 2013, it has all the makings of an interesting year. Is Europe going to be out of a recession? Is America going to fall over the fiscal cliff? Are (heaven forbid) onesies going to back in fashion? Are Indian designers going to make an impact internationally? Let us all wait and watch.

In any case, Best Wishes for the new year from everyone at Strand of Silk !

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