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`Fashion'ing a strong presence

Ratna Bhushan

NEW DELHI, Aug. 4

WHAT are Lakme, Sunsilk, Kingfisher, Fiat, Star World, the Taj Hotels group, Seagram, Coca-Cola and Evian doing together at a fashion event?

You don't have to look into the fine print to find the answer. Each of these corporates are looking for `more bang for their buck' at the much hyped Lakme India Fashion Week (LIFW), the week-long fashion and lifestyle extravaganza, currently on at New Delhi.

While investments in organising such an event have reportedly run into `double digit crores', the sponsor list is enough proof of the high stakes the event involves. While Lakme is the `title' sponsor; Sunsilk (also a Hindustan Lever brand) is the `associate' sponsor; Kingfisher, Fiat, the Taj group and Star World are `co-sponsors' of the event; Seagram's and Air Sahara re the `official' sponsors; and Coca-Cola and Evian are the `official suppliers'.

The sponsorship deals have been worked out on the basis of the sponsorship money paid and package of rights to publicity and advertising, according to Mr Ravi Krishnan, Director-Fashion, Asia-Pacific, IMG - the agency managing the event.

"The event is a tremendous payback opportunity to the sponsors, and corporates get a fashion rub-off on their brands. So for Seagram, the LIFW is a sampling opportunity for its beverages, Fiat has the platform to display its cars, and Lakme and Sunsilk have been particularly proactive on salon activity, promotions and advertising,'' Mr Krishnan said.

And what's in it for IMG? "We are looking at fashion as a global proposition. Lifestyle and fashion-related events already contribute 15 per cent to IMG India's turnover, with sports events making up for the rest. We obviously expect this to grow. And, the immediate objective is to keep the event `multiplying by size," Mr Krishnan said.

While IMG has been associated with the India Fashion Week now for three years in a row, this year's event is `not unsurprisingly bigger', according to Mr Krishnan. Take sheer numbers. Apart from the corporate sponsorships, the number of designers has risen from 33 in the first year, to 44 last year, to 53 this year. The number of shows is now 35, against 28 last year.

Lakme's title sponsorship contract with the Fashion Week expires this year, and a renewal of the title sponsorship is yet to be decided.

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