Who makes the cut?
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Should a fashion week jury comprise designers who are also a part of the event? Should the selection criteria be the same for veterans and juniors? Talk debates the issue with fashion stakeholders following recent reports of disagreements around the selection process for the upcoming Wills India Fashion Week
A recent PTI report on the top fashion cities of the world — with London as number one — listed Mumbai at 38 and Delhi at 48. Nothing to write home about given that even Bangkok is number 29. If the splitting of fashion weeks into small events has been one reason behind our largely scattered fashion industry (a Shillong Fashion Week was announced last week), then disagreements over selection processes for fashion weeks is surely another.
Few know that the recent discord around the final list of WIFW's upcoming Spring-Summer 2013 edition was serious enough to mandate a review by the board. Disagreements reportedly arose on crucial points — should senior designers be on the jury? Should the selection criteria for new designers and veterans be the same? How should designers showing only at stalls be shortlisted? When asked, Sunil Sethi, the FDCI President, only reiterated that the jury comprises some senior designers, stylists, fashion editors, buyers and educationists. The clinching question remained unanswered: should a veteran designer be invite to select or reject a peer as well as participate himself?
At WIFW, only debutantes are expected to send clothes for the selection; emerging designers can send photographs of collections whereas veterans only need send applications. On the other hand, Mumbai's Lakme Fashion Week (LFW) has 18 members on its advisory board who meet four times a year to discuss LFW initiatives. Applications start three months in advance. Prospective designers fill in forms and send garments/sketches with details of their former collections. A pre-selection committee made up of designers, buyers and editors narrows down the number of applicants. Established designers file applications and are selected based on feedback from the advisory board. The presence of biggies like Rohit Bal, Anamika Khanna, Sabyasachi Mukherjee and Manish Malhotra on the jury is considered important regardless of their participation. The last bit is the same at WIFW which also has senior designers on the jury. Now that itself has become a point of heated debates.
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