Organised by Council for Leather Exports, an autonomous organisation under Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Designers Fair will be held concurrently with India International Leather Fair in Chennai during 1-3 February, 2018.
At most fairs in several countries it is a common practice among designers to present their design collections and projects which are procured by individual exporters on payment basis. However, most Indian exporters have to travel to attend these overseas fairs to experience such exposure. Underscoring this shortage, Council for Leather Exports(CLE) decided to overcome this by creating a platform called Designers Fair. The fair provides a common opportunity to the overseas as well as home-grown designers to present their design projects in India to the Indian manufacturers of leather and leather products.
Design, apparently, plays a vital role in market penetration of leather products and footwear. A good design substantially increases the value of not only the product but also of the manufacturer or the brand concerned. Considering the importance of design development in moving-up the value chain, long term agreement with foreign designers to create new designs for new markets and train local designers was included as one of the fundamental initiatives for the leather sector under the Make in India programme.
“CLE is committed towards the overall development of the Indian leather sector and therefore in achieving higher export growth to enhance India’s share in global leather trade. The Designers Fair is a platform created by Council for Leather Exports to provide an opportunity to both the overseas and Indian designers to present their design projects in India to the Indian manufacturers of leather and leather products.”
– Mukhtarul Amin
Chairman, Council for Leather Exports
Accordingly, CLE, an autonomous organization under Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Govt. of India, constituted a Task Force on Design under the Chairmanship of Naresh Bhasin, Regional Chairman (West), CLE to implement various design development projects. As per the strategy formulated by the task force, CLE organized the 1st edition of Designers Fair during in 2016, from February 1-3, in Chennai. This was under Phase 1 of the Make in India initiative with the objective of helping Indian companies to meet popular designers in India and also to enable them to explore the possibilities of not only procuring design projects but also entering into long term associations for product development. The first two editions of the fair ended on a highly successful note, with the display of designs and prototypes of famous designers from India and abroad. Designers from Italy, USA, Brazil, Russia, Belgium, India and Indian design institutes in India participated in the events. As a result, the fair has helped in creating concrete business relations between overseas designers and Indian companies.
In the last edition of Designers fair held in 2017, 34 overseas designers and 8 Indian designers and institutes participated. Besides, the fair was attended by 375 business visitors resulting in generation of business worth of $ 5,37,780.
“Designers Fair, for the past 2 years, has been India’s premier design ideas and shoe modelist event. It is an industry platform to share inspirations and innovations– a platform where design is celebrated, design leaders are honored, the young and new can learn, nourish and grow and cutting edge ideas and practices are showcased.” – Aqeel Ahmed
Vice-Chairman Council for Leather Exports
This time, the 3rd edition of Designers Fair will be held at Hotel ITC Grand Chola, Chennai between during February 1-3, 2018. It is believed that about 40-45 overseas and Indian designers and design institutes will be displaying their wide range of designs of leather products and footwear at the fair.
Manufacturers and exporters are increasingly leaning on home-grown designers as well for business associations ranging from signature lines to limited-edition special range to woo international buyers as well as India’s ambitious consumers. Footwear modelists displaying their collections were the best bet for the same, since they have a specific style and can fuse Indian and international designs brilliantly to develop aspirational products.
What is driving this newfound love for designer lines and commercial modelist is the increasing fashion awareness and local knowledge among consumers, and exporters’ need to differentiate in an increasingly crowded and commoditized market. There have been an increasing number of collaborations between Indian retailers and designers, but unfortunately most retailers consider these as short-term arrangements, which need to change. In developed markets, for instance, most marketer-designer partnerships are of long term association.
With India on the growth trajectory, there is a need to lay a strong foundation of world-class infrastructure. As the Indian leather and footwear industry is aiming to move-up the value chain, infrastructure and design development have emerged as the two key areas where the industry needs to make headway, across all product segments. Substantial grant has been provided by the Government for development of common infrastructures like testing centers, common facility centers, multi-skill development centers etc., 14 such projects have been implemented or are under implementation by CLE. The Integrated Development of Leather Sector (IDLs) implemented in XII Plan helped a lot in capacity modernization as well as development of industry-specific infrastructure at the factory level.
“It’s time that we engaged the designers by displaying their work at the Designers Fair as it is a great opportunity for India. We are a manufacturing country specifically in this sector, and we must seize this opportunity.” – Naresh Bhasin
Convener, Designers Fair
According to Naresh Bhasin, Designers Fair has achieved the objective of helping the manufacturers and exporters in providing a platform, not only for buying the required designs but also in developing long-term associations with designers in the area of product development. Mention may be made that the task force he has been leading has been instrumental in conceptualizing the design requirements of the Indian leather industry and in taking the decision to organize the fair.
Design development initiatives are aimed at not only the exporters but also at the manufacturers who are catering to the domestic market. India has been able to maintain its status as the fastest growing economy with a projected GDP growth rate of 7.1% for 2016-17. In case of footwear, the per capita consumption is expected to increase from the current 2 pairs to 4 pairs by 2020, which itself explains the immense scope for tapping the huge potential in the domestic market. As the demand for more and more middle and high-end products is increasing in the domestic market, the need to take design development seriously also arises. In such a context, technology plays an essential role. ROMANs CaD/CaM Solutions’ presence at the Designers Fair last year highlighted its significance.
CLE is the single largest and apex trade promotion organisation of the strong and rapidly growing Indian leather and leather products industry. It is committed towards the overall development of the Indian leather sector and therefore to achieve higher export growth to enhance India’s share in global leather trade.