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On the fashion trail... away from the Fashion Week

Last updated on: March 26, 2013 19:08 IST

On the fashion trail... away from the Fashion Week

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A sneak peek into how designers solicit business far from the maddening crowd at Lakme Fashion Week. Photographs: Rajesh Karkera

Located outside the main gate of the Grand Hyatt Hotel in suburban Mumbai is an open ground that gets all tented-up and becomes a business centre twice every year. It is here that fashion designers solicit business by setting up cute-little stalls showcasing their collections.

Far from the glitz and glam inside the hotel premises that hosts the bi-annual Fashion Week, the business centre is a hub of activity at any time of the day (or night). Buyers -- desis and firangis, aspiring designers, aspiring models, and those who do not have the coveted 'passes' to enjoy the catwalks on the ramp make a beeline at the business centre. By the way, this business centre also houses a couple of ramps where upcoming designers get to showcase their creativity.

Euphemistically, it is labelled as the 'Talent Box'. Not that the budding designers are complaining. Talent Box designers too have made it big in the world of fashion.

Lakme Fashion Week Complete Coverage


Image: The entrance to the business centre where designers showcase their creations for prospective buyers
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera/Rediff.com

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Once you enter the elaborate pandal, the action is quite different. Scores of designers occupy small cubicles showcasing their wares to prospective buyers - individuals as well as retailers and fashion studios that retail collections from these designers by adding up a hefty margin. This is the place where designers get to monetise their creativity.

"I have got orders for almost 150 pieces in the last four days," says Soumitro Mondol in a very business-like manner. An easy-going, 'un-fashionable' designer, Mondol sells dresses for anywhere between Rs 22,000 and Rs 28,000. His saris are priced between Rs 40,000 and Rs 65,000.

Ask him about his casual dressing style and he reminds you about Swami Vivekanand. According to Mondol the way Swami dressed made a huge fashion statement about his confidence, the country and the heritage he represented.

The simple, laid-back Mondol believes fashion should have saadgi (simplicity). "You should not dress to show off. Look at Indian saris. Aren't they sexy?," he asks when provoked about his dressing style.


Image: Soumitra Mondol appears on the runway to take a bow as his models and audience break into a round of applause.
Photographs: Uday Kuckian/Rediff.com
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Not all, though, are listening to or for that matter following this Bengali's idea of fashion inside the business centre.

Women in high heels, bare torsos, mini skirts, made still shorter as they take a seat in a makeshift cafeteria, mill freely around, having their own idea of what fashion is all about.


Image: A typical scene at the cafeteria inside the business centre
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera/Rediff.com
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Kayaan, an NRI from Canada, is one such soul. A student of fashion, dressed elegantly, she sports a beautiful tattoo on the ankle of her right feet. "A friend in Canada did it for me. She tattooed a peacock's feather to sync with my Indian identity," she muses proudly.


Image: A Canadian NRI Kayaan at the cafeteria
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera/Rediff.com
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In between shows at the Talent Box and empty chatter the crowds dig the food counter, replenishing their dwindling energy reserves. It's only 3 pm and there is a lot of action still in store.

Talking of action there is lot for those who want a hair or face makeover. A beauty salon right in front of the cafeteria awaits to indulge the beauty conscious. There are enough fashionistas who make a beeline.


Image: A scene at the beauty salon inside the business centre
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera/Rediff.com
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Amid all this order and chaos - depending on who you are and what you are doing here - the fashion designers zealously guard their cubicles with their assistants in tow.

Neatly lined laptops, a desk and a few chairs occupy a small place inside these cubicles. The rest is occupied by their collection line -- stacked orderly depending on their costs and designs. This is where the real business of fashion takes place.


Image: Fashion designer Nishka Lulla inside her stall speaking with interacting buyers
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera/Rediff.com
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