WIFW first day shows cancelled over fire safety

New Delhi: The first day of the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week (WIFW) Wednesday was cancelled after the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI), the organiser, failed to get a permit from the fire safety department.

“All shows have been cancelled keeping the safety of everyone in mind. We have not been able to get the permission from the fire department. We are very sorry for the inconvenience caused to all of you,” Sunil Sethi, the FDCI president, told reporters here.

“We have been organising this event for 11 years but nothing like this has ever happened. Today, being a holiday, we have not been able to procure the NOC (no objection certificate) from the fire department,” Sethi added.

Sethi, however, didn’t blame the fire department saying in the past they had always cooperated with FDCI.

On Thursday, the shows will take place as per schedule, he said.

How will the cancelled shows be accommodated in the already packed schedule of WIFW? Sethi said: “We have not decided as of now but there are two ways of doing it. Either we will extend the event by a day or we will accommodate today’s shows (over the) next four days.”

Trouble brewed Wednesday afternoon before the inauguration. Buyers, designers and mediapersons were kept waiting till an official announcement for the cancellation of shows was made at 6 p.m.

Puneet Nanda, the man behind well-known label Satya Paul, cancelled his show himself because he did not wish to keep his guests waiting outside.

“It is the 25th anniversary of Satya Paul and we had big plans for the show. About 600 guests were slated to come and I did not want them to wait outside or be treated rudely. So I took a call and cancelled the show.

“This is a big slap on the face of the event, which is said to be Asia’s biggest. What does this say about India? It’s a loss for the whole event and for all those who have participated in the event, including designers and buyers,” Nanda, who claims to have suffered a loss of Rs.5 million due to the delay, told reporters.

Fashion designer Rina Dhaka didn’t blame FDCI, but said: “I don’t understand why the government looks down upon the fashion fraternity. Due to this (delay), the designers will suffer loss of revenue, loss of business, loss of face and brand value as well. The government authorities had dropped in at the last moment. Where were they before?”

Couture king JJ Valaya, who is slated to close the first day of WIFW, says it is unfortunate that this has happened but feels it is a learning experience for FDCI.

The ongoing 15th edition of WIFW boasts of 130 designers from all over the country – making it the first time that so many designers have participated in this business-to-business five-day event that is being held at the National Small Industries Corporation (NSIC) grounds in Okhla Industrial Area here.

However, the start hasn’t been as grand as the event itself.

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