About Vinod Nair

Stepping into fashion was pre-meditated for Vinod Nair. Hailing from a small town in Kerala, where men wore dhotis like mini skirts, most women smelt like drums of coconut oil, he thought the only way to size up pretty girls and still not get hit by their stilettos was by writing about them. So he started that in 1991 when fashion was still small here. Writing, of course, was incidental. In 2004, Vinod Nair was awarded “Best Fashion Journalist” at the first fashion awards in the country, F-Awards. Fashion has gone a long way since then… but he still stands where he started…

It’s amazing to see the kind of enthusiasm people show when it comes to any kind of fashion weeks in South India. It doesn’t matter who organise it or why, response I see has always been that of huge. Lots of people from all walks of life attend, television, print and online media extensively cover these events and surprisingly good brands end up sponsoring the same as well.

However, what lack in these events is the quality. Most these events seem to be happy with a sprinkle of four or five so called ‘big’ names and fill the rest with substandard participants.

The big names participate for two reasons: one, they get paid for it and two, they take it as a paid holiday. Because of this reason, collections showcased by these senior designers are never something specially made for the show. It’s always something that they showed elsewhere. But then you can’t blame them as there are no buyers present at these fashion weeks and there’s hardly any scope for B2B or B2C happening on the spot.

So why these big names? Well, without their names sponsors show no interest in being part of such events. So the organisers go all out to please some names who are willing to be part of their event with money, holiday and other stuff.

So in the end it’s all the same. National media and buyers are not interested in this event because they have already seen some collections at fashion weeks in Delhi or Mumbai and addons at these events are not really appealing enough. But the local media laps it up and splash the same around local dailies. But is that enough for the organisers? It definitely appears so as they are happy making it their few bucks through this and becoming local glamour entities.

What surprises me is not even one of them think of doing something unique in these regions. India is a country which has unique characters strewn all over the place. South has its culture and character, noth is different, north-east is entirely different from the rest, etc. There is plenty of scope for doing things and events related to fashion that are never done before. Still these guys carry the leftovers from Mumbai and Delhi to their regional events. Collections are substandard, models are B grade, other professionals are down market… they cut corners every possible way to bring out small fashion weeks (fashion weeks are all about media and buyers and business. Don’t even know why they call them fashion weeks!).

About a couple of years ago, there were a lot of such events… glad to notice many of them are now dead and buried deep. The existing ones are spending money and stuggling to keep afloat… if atleast them think of doing something unique for the region’s, atleast it would have added to the over all fashion experience!

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Looking back, it’s rather difficult to believe that fashion weeks in India are 15 years old. I remember the time when there were few scattered individual shows done by India’s fashion designers that were more like social gatherings over drinks and dinner than commercial events that they are today.

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This season there are two interesting things about fashion weeks, first one happening in Mumbai next week and the one in Delhi after that. [Read more]

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A few years ago, in addition to showcasing their high value collections on the runway, some fashion designers have also started showing the same through exhibitions. They called it ‘the exposition.’ [Read more]

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When you hear ‘fashion victim’, the first and the only thing that may come to your mind will be that of some one who’s not in the right kind of outfit.

You are right. A fitted dress over an unfit body; a jacket with over sized shoulders; scarlet lip colour on a skin tone that warrants lighter or nude lip shades, et al constitute towards the ‘fashion victims’ clan.

But there are also other kinds of victims in this industry. One who is power hungry owing to which he/she leave everything else; the one who cannot be a model, but still swims around the circle claiming to be a model; a fashion designer who is ‘NOT’ a fashion designer; brands that are over eager to sponsor any crappy ‘fashion’ event, etc all part of the fashion victims of a different kind. And of course a bunch of journalists who become critics from the word go in their career.

I don’t get it when it comes to those who crave for power in this industry here. I don’t understand it at all. It’s not an industry of the size of its counterpart in Europe or the US or even anywhere close to it. Still some ‎of its members act ‘important’ and a few others suck up to them.

Then comes the models who are not even remotely connected to the serious shows or campaigns. The word ‘model’ is something for them to say that’s associated with glamour. “Oh, so what do you do?” you ask some one at a party and the likely answer will be “I am a model.”. Seen many like this. Model what? Coz, I’ve not seen you anywhere!

There have been a surge in the number of fashion weeks in India in the past. Most are now dead. But whenever some Khanna or Kapur started a fashion week, brands ran after them, especially liquor brands, to sponsor their events. I never understood why they did it. But they did it.

And finally comes the journalists. The ones who can “make or break” fashion designers or models. Wait, none of them can either make or break any one. No one gives a damn to what appear in the media these days because either they are paid for or done in lieu of that ad slipped into the magazine pages. In any case most of these ‘journalists’ don’t even know what they write. Armed with the instruction from their editors, they come to see “who wore what” or “whose top/skirt dropped” or “who tripped on the runway.”. Rubbish.

I see all these guys as victims of glamour. They desperately want to be in it because they think it’s cool.

No wonder then, I don’t see any dramatic progress happening here.

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