Indian designers try to stay relevant in recession

Fri Mar 27, 2009 4:23am EDT
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By David Lalmalsawma

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - From shrinking their collections to slashing prices, Indian fashion designers are trying to cope with the global financial crisis, which has dimmed the appetite for haute couture internationally and at home.

The economic meltdown was a recurring theme at this month's Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week, one of two premier fashion events that ran concurrently in New Delhi. A third major event, the Lakme Fashion Week, kicks off in Mumbai on Friday.

"The whole world is going on sale right now," said designer Nitin Bal Chauhan, who has lowered his prices and cut up to 40 percent of his profit margin.

"As a designer, I think I should be more considerate and cut down on my profit margin and still make sure people can enjoy fashion," Chauhan said.

Other designers have cut back on production volumes, hit by growing evidence of restrained spending for clothes and accessories among well-heeled clients.

Business is certainly not booming and though numbers are yet to be collated, the president of the Fashion Design Council of India said sales at its five-day fashion event in New Delhi had been affected by the tough economic climate.

"It will be less...definitely not more than last year due to the recessionary trend in the market," Sunil Sethi told Reuters.