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IFF commences with forecasts for Indian fashion segment
Mar '12
The first day of the 12th edition of India Fashion Forum (IFF), the largest congregation of the fashion industry, witnessed a euphoric start with renowned fashion brands and industry stalwarts sharing their perspectives and forecasts for the Indian fashion segment.

The inaugural session on - Growing the fashion market put forth some thought provoking insights by leading retail honchos including Akhilesh Prasad, COO, Reliance Trends, Rakesh Biyani, Joint MD, Pantaloon Retail and Kabir Lumba, Managing Director, Lifestyle. Prior to the panel discussion Jayant Kochar, Group Director & CEO of Images Group shared a presentation on the fundamentals driving the growth of the fashion retail segment, key challenges and some opportunities that lie ahead in the industry.

Akhilesh Prasad said, “The previous year saw tremendous growth and it is important that this pace is maintained going forward. The fashion market which was conventionally male dominated is now opening up to women who are becoming more fashion and brand conscious. The fashion segment in India is been driven largely through media including Bollywood, Television, Internet and the proposed 4G and other wireless media channels.”

Adding on to this Kabir Lumba stressed the need to merge affordability with customer needs. “To tackle increased competition and the availability of a large array of brands in the market, companies will have to offer more niche products across various portfolios. The trend is now shifting from western wear to ethnic wear like salwar kameez. There is a need to meet with customer expectations in terms of quality while identifying strategies to ensure affordability,” he said.

“The past twelve months have been challenging for the segment with inflation at its peak and leading to a price hike from 8% to 22%. The introduction of several taxes over the past one year has led to an escalation in prices by almost 11%. The organized retail sector still has his own set of challenges that it needs to tackle,” said Rakesh Biyani.

The session on “Indian Apparel and Fashion Market – 2012 and beyond” witnessed a presentation followed by a panel discussion with Anjana Sharma, Director - Fashion, IMG Reliance, Amir Sheikh, Country Manager – India, Woolmark Services, Nikhil Chaturvedi, MD- Provogue, and Rachna Agarwal – CEO, Indus League. They identified kidswear and maternity wear as the key growth areas for fashion segments.

In the words of Anjana Sharma, “There is a huge market abroad of people using the medium of online shopping, and this trend is surely catching on in India. There is a requirement for fashion brands to keep up to the latest international trends in line with the communication of these brands via various media channels.

Amir Sheikh said, “FDI in retail is expected to player a pivotal role in the Indian retail sector. This will lead to more brands penetrating the Indian market, cut-throat competition and invariably high retail rentals. Given the escalating rentals over the past few years E-tailing is expected to take centre stage as it has in other countries across the globe.

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