I manage the Life section of Forbes India, as well as edit articles for the rest of the magazine.
1. Getting a slot at a fashion week takes more than just merit. It helps to know the right people. Surprising? Someone said it’s all a bit like the BCCI. Also, the bigger names a designer gets—either to walk the ramp, or to sit in the front rows—the easier it is.
2. The Delhi-vs-Mumbai catfight plays out here as well. Delhi’s Wills India Fashion Week beats the pants off Mumbai’s Lakme India Fashion Week in terms of business. The bigger designers, the non-Bollywood ones, thumb their noses at superficial Mumbai and stick to the capital, attracting the biggest buyers. But no one does Bollywood better than Mumbai. So, you want to see film stars on the ramp—and therefore in newspapers and glossies—Mumbai is where the action is.
3. Ever wondered who buys the outlandish stuff you see on ramps? There are some, of course, who want that exact lehenga that Katrina Kaif wore. But, usually, what’s strutted on ramps are worked-up versions of the designers’ creations. Leaner interpretations are kept for serious buyers.
4. Afterparties are big, with the who’s who hob-nobbing over deals and insider goss.
5. If new designers can’t afford a slot by themselves, they share it with another designer. But, it seems, the biggies don’t even need to pay for their slots sometimes—they just need to show up with their collection. Some even get sponsored. So, while a newbie is scraping together money for the show (and rope in a TV actor as showstopper), a veteran glides effortlessly through.
6. Given all the hoopla around fashion weeks, how much money do they really make? No one’s telling. There aren’t really that many foreign buyers. And there will always be that one designer who’ll claim deals worth Rs 30 crore (no way to verify it, of course), pushing others to mutter reluctantly about similar success.
7. And all this for a grand 15 (to 18) minutes of fame to showcase a collection. But it’s enough for 36 to 48 items. That means about 3 items a minute. Too little? No one wants to look at any outfit for longer than that.