Posted on 20 March 2012.
Kingfisher Ultra Kochi International Fashion Week is now the talk of the town. Bringing together models and celebrities from across the country, KIFW is ready to take off. All thanks to the Storm Fashion Company for bringing this to our city, and a double applause to Gaurav Sharma for playing a key role in organizing this event! Kochivibe spoke to Gaurav Sharma, and here are the excerpts of the interview.
You come from a film production background. What made you switch over to fashion production?
I come from a production and distribution background. Our company still continues this work, mainly from Bangalore. The thing about Fashion Production is that, it has immense growth opportunities. It can be developed as a vertical, operating in cities with a lot of opportunities but without any standardized approach. The response is encouraging and the growth is taking us higher and higher.
You have produced Fashion Weeks in Chennai, Kochi, Ludhiana, Jaipur and Hyderabad. Tell us something about your experience in these cities.
Chennai, Kochi, Ludhiana, Jaipur and Hyderabad are interesting in their own ways. All of these are a non fashion market. Earlier there were cities like Bombay, Delhi and Bangalore that hosted these shows. But we believe that if we develop fashion week in these cities the right way, with a new international format, it has a huge chance of becoming a success. The biggest advantage we have is that we are the first to bridge the gap between designers and their coveted audience.
How different would it be in Kochi? What can we expect this time?
In Kochi, this is our second season. Last year we had our debut and we found a huge consumer response from the target profile. This time we have taken into account all the shortcomings from our previous shows and have also added a certain glamour, spice and entertainment value; apart from the business of fashion – making it consumer engaging and media worthy.
Weren’t you skeptical about doing such a high profile event in Kochi?
In Kochi, there is a huge exposure to global fashion. Kochiites know all the latest trends. The problem lies in the media, and the kind of coverage they do. They have drifted towards covering certain kinds of issues as more important than the other. All the five leading newspapers are circulated in Kochi- and none of these have an exclusive Lifestyle page, a kind of prima facie to capture and cover Lifestyle Events. Whatever little coverage they provide for these events happens in the course of the publication, the same applies to regional media. They cover Political news, Film news and general topics.
It’s all in the media. We have been here since last August, and a Ritu Kumar store has been opened in the city. We have to create awareness so that these designers can capture opportunities. Awareness Building Programs for Photographers, Fashion Models and Fashion Designers would be the perfect catalyst to kick-start this process.
You have seen many designers come up in the fashion scene. What tips do you have for the budding designers in Kochi?
Budding Fashion Designers should work towards showcasing their designs, exhibiting it in every possible platform and of course networking with other Fashion designers.
How do you choose the models for the Fashion Week?
For models, we hold an open audition, we choose by invitation, and there is also a segment in the model pool favored towards the localites.
Do you see any drawbacks in models from Kerala?
Models in Kerala have a lack of exposure, and this is their greatest drawback. Here, it’s more of a beauty pageant driven market- as created by the local event organizers. Fashion market is an entirely different ballgame. Beauty Pageants will take you to TV, Cinema etc and that is where everyone wants to be. But what they don’t understand is that with that kind of attitude they won’t get a break into the runways. Hopefully, with our initiatives, there will be a drift in what Kerala’s models can offer for Fashion.
Do you see a market for International Fashion Houses in Kochi?
It all depends on how the malls pitch it to these Fashion Houses. But it’s only a matter of time! An average Kochiite buys the same kind of things an average Mumbaikar buys. So the market is definitely there.
How has the Kochi experience been so far?
KIFW has become one of our biggest annual properties. We want to invest in it further. We have already tied up with SriLankan Tourism and worked towards flying in 4 designers form Colombo. This has never been done before!
Finally, your message to Kochivibe Readers.
Kochivibe’s helping us keep the excitement running for the next 20 days. And if you guys follow all the updates on Kochivibe regularly, you can even win free passes to the show. This can be your gateway to a lot of action concerning fashion!