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5th Designers Fair: Redesigning a Future


Council for Leather Exports has resolved to address a key gap in its value chain – design capabilities – for the next level of growth in the country. The fair is expected to further assist the escalating bilateral trade by bringing together more than 45 exhibitors to network and interact with Indian manufacturers, brands, importers and exporters.

Earlier, this year the 2019 edition which was held for three-days hosted 45 designers, 250 plus business visitors and a world-class show for the participants of the fashion as well as a panel Designers Fair. The Show is being organised at at Chennai’s Hotel ITC Grand Chola, the Council for Leather Exports (CLE) for the past 4 years. More than 38 international designers took the stage for the 4th edition of Designers Fair, while seven national designers showcased their designs too. The international designers came from countries like USA, Italy, Russia, Spain, Turkey, the Philippines, Portugal, Hong Kong and Brazil.

Aqeel Ahmed, Chairman CLE reiterated that the objective of the fair in India is to inspire and elevate the ‘design capabilities’ in the country.“Innovation and design is the key,” he remarked, “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.”

Next year too the fair would be organized at ITC Chola, which boasts of luxury ambience, networking receptions, one-to-one business matching for buyers, industry seminars and much more to derive maximum benefit in a more defined and meaningful manner.

Rajesh Sehgal, Convenor, Designers Fair says, “ Indian retailers, brands as well as major global brands are sourcing Indian manufactured merchandise. Through this fair, we continue to narrow down what has been lacking at the sector’s end. We hope the industry surges ahead and beats the buyers imagination.”

What To Expect
Products showcased would range from designs of shoes, soles, bags, leather, textile and accessories.The fair was held concurrently with India International Leather Fair in Chennai. Designers Fair has grown to become the largest platform in the country for designers from abroad as well as from the country. CLE, 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.

They are three exhibitions that are carried out simultaneously calling for the most important manufacturers of shoes and accessories. During three days, the event becomes the undisputable runway to present the most innovative products and services, and it also offers an interesting program of networking. This is the ground to know the current panorama of the market and the future trends.The fair provides an opportunity to the Indian manufacturers and exporters of leather, leather products and footwear to meet popular overseas and Indian designers.

In the last edition of the designer fair held in 2018, 34 overseas designers from 30 companies and 8 Indian designers/

According to Aqeel Ahmed, “Design Development plays an important role in enhancing our production and exports under Make in India. I am happy that Designers Fair 2019 was a success and received tremendous response. I am sure that we will be witnessing larger participations in coming shows. CLE is grateful to Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Govt. Of India for extending support and assistance for organising this event.”

The Council for Leather Exports (CLE), a trade promotion organisation under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, is to work towards expanding the reach of the Indian leather industry and has lined up many initiatives to achieve the mission. It has drawn plans to hold major roadshows to showcase India’s potential as well to pitch an alternative destination for China across the world. One of the major foreign exchange earners for the country, the industry is the world’s second largest producer of footwear and exporter of leather garments.

Rajesh Sehgal would be spearheading as the convener of the fair, “ I would be taking the legacy of this forward and hope 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.

2019 Edition
The exhibition saw a larger number of serious and professional buyers with targeted business interests. The large number of visitors from Chennai and Ambur proved without a doubt that the 4th Designers fair was one that strongly attracted entrepreneurs from across India. Buyers from the major manufacturing states of India visited the fair to source as well as ideate to create new product lines. There was also a section of visitors who are already aware of the show and just wanted to check if any there were new streams of business that could be opened. At this edition the quality of the visitors in terms of professionals and decision makers was higher which pleased the exhibitors as well. The targeted visitor promotion strategy saw good results in terms of the business visitors who attended the exhibition.The exhibition was organisedby CLE, while Shoes & Accessories was the media partner.

International Media
11 International Journalists from media firms pertaining to leather industry visited India International Leather Fair (IILF) 2019 for media coverage who attended the Designers fair too. Journalists from Italy, UK, Spain, Germany and Iran attended the fair and participated in the concurrent activities organized by the CLE. This apart, two prominent media firms Leather Age and Shoes & Accessories were present.

Evidently, design plays a crucial role in enabling market penetration of leather products and footwear. A good design substantially increases the value of not only of the product but also of the manufacturer or the brand concerned. Considering the significance of design development in moving-up the value chain, long term agreement with foreign and domestic designers, with the objective 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.

Initially, CLE instituted a Task Force on design development under the leadership of Naresh Bhasin, Regional Chairman (West) of the council to implement various design development projects. As per the strategy formulated previously, CLE organized the 1st edition of Designers.

Fair in 2016 in Chennai. This was under Phase 1 of the Make in India initiative with the objective to help 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 elaborate display of designs and prototypes of famous designers from India and abroad. Designers from Italy, USA, Brazil, Russia, Belgium, India and Indian design institutes participated in both the events. As a result, the fair has helped create concrete business relations between overseas designers and Indian companies.

It’s clear that 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 are the best bet for the same, since they have a specific style and can fuse Indian and international designs brilliantly to develop aspirational products.

About CLE
CLE is the single largest and apex trade promotion organisation of the strong and rapidly growing Indian leather and leather products industry. The council stands committed to the overall development of the Indian leather sector and therefore to achieve higher export growth to enhance India’s share in global leather trade.