Like any other fashionista and a follower of whatever is going in the fashion industry, each of us want to wear something that is made by a designer, especially an Indian designer. We see these beautiful, amazing Indian wear on the catwalk in India made by prominent designers such as Manish Malhotra, Varun Bahl, Tarun Tahilini etc etc, but as South African consumers can we buy these items in the South African market?
The answer unfortunately is no. Although the fashion market place in South Africa has evolved and many stores sell clothes from international designers, they however don’t stock and sell items of designers from India. Indian fashion has evolved so much and can compete with designers from New York and London Fashion Week so why can’t we also be part of this evolution? I was quite surprised when I learnt that we couldn’t buy any Indian designer wear, as South Africa has like the second largest population of Indians that are out of India.
I couldn’t understand why it was like this and I always thought it was the Indians designers that were not yet ready or were maybe unaware of the clientele here in South Africa, until I had a Google hangout with Mr Sunil Sethi, the head of FDCI (Fashion Design Council of India), and I asked him if it would be possible for the Indian Fashion Industry to move internationally and for us to actually obtain items from designers from India. I was surprised when he answered by saying that the designers are ready, but there’s no one from South Africa who’s actually going to stock the merchandise. The FDCI are happy and willing to supply SA with clothing from these designers if buyers come and purchase items from these fashion weeks and stock them in our local Indian stores. He also encourages buyers from South Africa to attend Willis India Lifestyle Fashion where they will be hosting over 200 buyers from all over the world and be part of this fashion world and purchase Indian wear from these designers.
We sent buyers all over the world but we can’t send them to India? I know of many people who go all the way to India for wedding shopping or for shopping, so why can’t we have all those designers clothes right here at home where we can shop leisurely, and cost wise it would equal to the same or even cheaper with all the airfare and hotel expenses etc etc. Many shops selling eastern wear that are quite heavily priced when instead we could be purchasing the latest Indian designer at the same price or even less and you won’t just be wear a red lehenga for your wedding, you will be wearing a Manish Malhotra lehenga or Neeta Lulla sari. The quality, style and uniqueness of local shops selling Eastern wear cannot be compared to the likes of such Indian designers.
It would be really nice if South African buyers went and actually bought items from designers from India, bridal as well as other items and made it available to South African consumers. I wouldn’t mind getting my hands on a Manish Malhotra outfit without having to spend on airfare and those sort of expenses!