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Split wide open

The fashion fraternity is bickering once again and is faced with a division in its ranks

Photo: Rajeev Bhatt

Not a smooth walk Whose show is it anyway?

After months of bickeringa picture is finally emerging in the fashion world. Sumeet Nair, executive director, Fashion Design Council of India, (FDCI), who resigned amidst charges of misappropriation of funds is on course to form a parallel body and h as already announced another fashion week, the dates of which clash with the FDCI-mandated Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week, in October.

“It is not an act of vengeance. The idea is to give the buyers and designers more options at the same time. The jury has short-listed 25 to 30 designers. We will work with them round the year.” For now biggies such as Ashish Soni (who resigned as the president of the FDCI after Sumeet’s ouster), Rohit Bal, Tarun Tahiliani and Raghavendra Rathore have lent him support. None of them have given up their FDCI membership yet.

Meanwhilethe FDCI has made board member Karuna Khaitan, who was leading the pack of Sumeet baiters, resign from the post. Voices of sanity like Payal Jain and Paras have also quit. The council has appointed a non-designer, merchandiser Sunil Sethi as the president.The Director General Rathi Vinay Jha’s term comes to an end this month. And the buzz is Vinod Kaul, who has served as Executive Director in the past, will replace her. The FDCI still has JJ Valaya, Manish Arora and Rajesh Pratap Singh. “The last thing the industry needs is another division. Designers too have, to an extent, public accountability,” says Jha.

Payal, who tried her best to keep the flock together, feels disgusted. “The industry is not big enough to require even two weeks.” She hopes Sethi will be able to bring some of the designers back. Sethi echoes Payal’s sentiment. “Many designers have written to me that they want to forget the past,” says Sethi. While Sumeet’s camp is offering a couture week in Mumbai to attract the trousseau kings and queens, sources say fence sitters such as Rohit Gandhi, Rahul Khanna and Varun Bahl who appeared to be tilting towards Sumeet, have been reminded that they are in contract with Wills Lifestyle.

Over the years, the FDCI could not induct non-designer industry people into the board. The body failed to realise that designers can’t be event managers. The body couldn’t even make designers showcase their season’s collection at Week. As Rathore says. “This is the great manthan of Indian fashion. Let’s see what comes out of it.”

ANUJ KUMAR

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