An Exclusive Interview Of I Knock Fashion With Hon'ble Chairman, Mr. Sunil Sethi, FDCI
"FDCI was the first hit of COVI D-19 in fashion, as it's Bi-Annual event LMIFW A/W scheduled for 11th March 2020, was set on postponement hardly 3-4 days prior to the show (much before the lockdown) keeping in mind the health of the buyers, designers, and visitors. All the arrangements and payments had been taken care of but in lieu of the situation, this seemed like the correct step that my board decided to take." -Sunil Sethi, FDCI President
Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) is a nonprofit organization, working to levitate the business of fashion in India. Housing over 400 design members including Indian fashion designers, accessory designers, corporate and educational institutes, FDCI provides a platform to them for interacting and meeting with buyers across the globe. The LMIFW A/W20 was a part of the bi-annual fashion show but FDCI does many other exhibitions and events to have the circle of Indian fashion stays in momentum.
Set in 1998, it has been functioning not only towards the development of fashion in India but also for bringing it to a global level. Some of the very prominent members of the organization have gained a global presence taking Indian fashion to an international level.
An eminent businessman, he has held many positions on the Board of many government and private organizations such as Board of Handicraft and Handloom Export Corporation of India, NIFT, Pearl Academy's Advisory Board, IIAD and National Advisory Board of Ministry of Tourism and former Senior Vice President of Li & Fung Group. He has also been recognized by a special award for the Promotion of Handicraft/ Carpets/product Development by EPCH.
Mr. Sunil Sethi, Chairman, FDCI, has been contributing enormously to the council and reflecting his ideas with successful implementations since 2008. With over a decade in FDCI, Mr. Sethi has grown much attached to the fashion fraternity, understanding the various aspects and integrities of the industry.
"Our first effort will be for the young designers and the small businesses during this time, we will make every effort for our people which also includes the artisans, the weavers, embroiders, tailors and all others who assist in the day to day job."
Having limited funds and outflow payments that had been made at the venue and other event attributes for the LMIFW A/W '20, FDCI follows up for information about the same while extending for assistance by writing to the government requesting for just and possible support.
"A letter has been drafted by the Board and sent to the government only in this direction, to seek help for those who are the backbone of the industry, so it is expected and is a kind of a mandate that if a fashion designer is helped he will look after his tailor, embroider and other artisans as they are the ones who truly make our business "
"The Textile Minister Mrs. Smriti Irani perfectly understands our problems, and I am sure if there is a scheme or any suggestion she can help us with, it will be forthcoming, she has been very cooperative to the textile, design and fashion industry and there is no way that the ministry will lag in doing something for us"
But, being affected by the crisis, Mr. Sethi also stresses that these times are crucial and the impact of the same would have to be taken collectively, the government has many sectors to cater to and may have priorities that are more agonizing than theirs. Hence, he comments that it is only fair to ask for the support of the government that is sensible and reasonable by the fashion designers and other members of the fashion fraternity.
"After all we are just a small fraternity- it is important that presently the fashion designers see that we tide over the problem and then wait for the markets to open"
After 15 years the two biggest fashion representatives of India reunite in order to fight COVID 19 to better the situation of the Indian fashion Industry. FDCI has formed a CSF by FDCI for which they have now got LFW's support to raise funds.
"We already have the norms in place, there is no looking back now, we are in the process of forming the trust, we have received our first payment of funds by our sponsor Lotus Makeup, many messages have come in already for supporting the cause," says Sunil Sethi, Chairman FDCI
He further adds " We are very pleased with the offer of Lakme Fashion Week who will not only give us advice but also financial support. Both Lakme and IMG are credible people and this adds to our string, we are pleased that during this time of crises we are all one and FDCI's flawless and ethical reputation is gaining us a lot of momentum in gathering this fund."
"International business might be a big problem right now because they are miles away and with each country the situation is different, but with the domestic market I still have hope because we have some amount of control over that, we are on the same page, we think we know when the customer sentiment will recover"
"although the retail might not immediately start working after the lockdown opens up, there will be a need to be a little patient, but the flagship retail stores will be functional again and the online market might pick up too as fashion is required by all."
Amidst the chaos of COVID 19 and the effects it is continuing to have on the fashion industry of India along with on the ones associated to it, can now notice some relief as FDCI steps up and has been supported by many quarters including Lakme Fashion Week in order to fight COVID 19 and it's after-effects. The initiative and common concerns shared by the fashion fraternity are sure to see dawn once the scare of COVID 19 and the lockdown ends.