Held concurrently with India International Leather Fair in Chennai every year, Designers Fair has grown to become the largest platform in the country for designers from abroad as well as from the country. Council for Leather Exports, a body under the aegis of the Ministry of Finance, is the force behind the success of both the events, India International Leather Fair (IILF) and Designers Fair.

Like the previous editions, the fourth edition of the fair will be held in Hotel ITC Grand Chola, Chennai, India from February 1-3, 2019.

Mention may be made that to ensure the shortage of qualified and talented designers is addressed, CLE resolved to an institute an independent task force. Since then Naresh Basin has been spearheading as the convener of the fair with great diligence.

If IILF in Chennai is sumptuous and successfully flamboyant, then Designers Fair constitutes all sorts of talents and is thronged by visitors mainly comprising of leather footwear and accessories manufacturers and exporters. Apart from Indian designers’ and design and fashion institutes’ active participation, designers from US, Italy, France, Portugal, Russia, Brazil, China, to name some, displayed their best and latest designs in the last edition.

Naresh says, “Our goal is to increase the international dimension of our fair, which means not only giving more professional opportunities to businesses and visitors, but also knowing how to identify and anticipate new market trends.” The show helps many manufacturers to avert the high cost involved in travelling, as many kit providers and designers showcase the latest design development projects for the leather industry under one roof, by bringing in overseas and Indian design talents. The fair provides opportunity to Indian companies to explore long term business tie-ups with renowned designers not only on creating new designs but also training their in-house designers as well.

The designer’s fair will be open to designers of:
.Leather footwear
.Leather goods (wallets, purses, handbags etc.,)
.Leather garments
.Footwear components
.Non-leather footwear
.Harness
.Industrial & fashion gloves

All designers and institutions indicated during the last edition that they would participate in the coming edition. In short, since the 1st edition of the fair its significance has been great, and had already laid a strong foundation.

“If last year’s Designers Fair was great, then this time we are going to make it greater. Overall, 100% of the designers are coming back again for the fourth edition. This time, we hope to cover more segments. Several designers from several countries, including domestic, have already confirmed their participation. The difference this time is that the number has gone up and it is going to go up. This clearly indicates that the fair, this time, is going to bigger,” Naresh elaborates.

He spoke about the ‘Make in India’ endeavour of the Government and laid emphasis on the country’s focus on design, skill development and environment. Naresh reiterated that the objective of the fair in India is to uplift the ‘design capabilities’ in the country.

“Design and Innovation is the key,” he remarked, “in a globalizing economy, design is being perceived as a new engine of economic and industrial growth. Design and breakthrough innovations can play a pivotal role in positioning of leather and leather product industries in the global arena by value addition apart from enhancing competitiveness. Success in being able to work with high-end customers requires building design capabilities that enable us to offer exciting collections that can compete internationally.”

A lot of attention would have to be paid to honing ‘Design’ capabilities, introduce technologically advanced tools to aid in the ‘design process’ and to develop ‘merchandizing’ expertise amongst our product design teams in the footwear companies, he elaborated.

In India, we have realised that to achieve success one has to build not only in-house design capabilities, but also work in consultation with design companies internationally that have a deep understanding of lifestyle and fashion trends in Europe and the US, which will continue to be primary markets for the foreseeable future for upmarket products, he added.

The turnover of the Indian leather and footwear industry is expected to grow from present $12 billion to about $21-22 billion by 2020, which includes export turnover of $9.5 billion and domestic industry turnover of $ 12 billion. This huge growth potential makes Designers Fair an attractive business meeting point. Underlining the importance, the council undertook a massive publicity campaign to promote investments under Make in India. Road shows were held in Germany, USA, Brazil, Italy, China and Taiwan. It looks certain that the fourth edition will be much grander, and the industry will witness a bigger display of talents.

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