New Delhi: David Schneider, a buyer from Portugal, is a regular at fashion weeks in India. He has been attending the events without fail since last four years. This year his company has cut the budgets for European made products, but for India the outlays remains the same as last year.
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This has been possible because of two reasons. One there is a good market for Indian designs and secondly he can get more for less. David says because of the recession he is buying smaller and more often.
He says earlier “we used to come here (India) and place all the orders and go. Now we place orders and see how the sales go and come back and place repeat orders. Our decision making process is more thoughtful.”
The buyers at the fashion week are certainly looking at more value for money. But they are not willing to compromise on quality. David says he is also challenging them on various price points.
What has come to Indian designers help is their creativity. This talent has won over the international buyers. They maybe fewer in number, especially from US and Europe, but are in love with Indian designs. Also India is attracting new clients from the Middle East.
Japanese buyer Tomoko Inuzuka is a fan of Indian design techniques and vibrant colors. That’s the reason that though her budgets for Paris and Japan markets have decreased, the allocations for Delhi remain the same.
Sumeet Nair, Founder, Fashion Foundation of India says “ the number of buyers from the US and Europe have come down but they’ve been compensated by other regions like the Middle East and regions around India…The West is great in terms of impact but no real sales. The real sales come from the Middle East and India.”
Ajaz Rahim from Dubai, was doing about a million Dhirams in buys in previous fashion weeks in India, or approximately $270,000 at today’s exchange. But that has halved this season. Still, Middle Eastern market remains a better bet as compared to other parts of the world and Indian designers are creating designs to suit their sensibilities.
But he is also now careful how he goes about placing orders. He says, “We are now placing minimal orders, not ordering what we ordered before because we’re not certain how the market is going to move. When we come here we focus on products that will sell faster, design sensibility focused. So I feel every buyer has become sharper and designers are putting their best foot forward to get better prices,” he says.
Indian designers are adjusting to the new reality. They have realized that it is quality and design aesthetics of their work as well as competitive pricing which will make a difference in their sales.
Designer Sanchita (who goes by only one name) says everybody is streamlining, focusing, trying to concentrate on what he or she’re good at and not what they want to be. She says, “I’m very price competitive. If price doesn’t come into factor it just doesn’t work.”
In good times buyers would pick up just about anything hoping it would sell. In a tough market, only a combination of design, quality, aesthetics, and price competitiveness will make the cut. Indian designers seem to have understood this lesson well.