'Organising a fashion event is a question of management - order, discipline, logistics, delivery' : Simon Lock - IMG Fashion Asia Pacific managing director

IMG Fashion Asia Pacific MD Simon P Lock, the man who thrust Australian fashion onto the world stage, is in town for the Lakme Fashion Week, which kicks off tomorrow in Mumbai and runs till 1 April 2006.


Lock, the founder and former CEO of Fashion Innovators (AFI), as too the region's premier fashion event, Mercedes Australian Fashion Week, took over as head of IMG Fashion AsiaPac after his company was bought out by IMG in October 2005. The acquisition by IMG also included the management and production of the Mercedes-Benz Start Up program in Australia and New Zealand, the Mercedes-Benz Asia Fashion Award program that is currently held in six countries throughout Asia, the Singapore Fashion Festival and other fashion events around the Asia Pacific region in development, including events in India, China and Japan.'s Ashwin Pinto caught up with Lock to find out more about IMG Fashion and its plans.

How has IMG expanded its presence in the fashion world in the past five years?

Quite significantly! Here in the Asia Pacific they acquired my company in Australia AFI which produces the Mercedes Fashion Week in Sydney. It also produces the Singapore Fashion Festival. So that has become a part of IMG Fashion family. In India we have the Lakme Fashion Week. New fashion weeks have started in many cities including Los Angeles and Miami. IMG Fashion is also involved closely with a number of Fashion Weeks in Europe.

Anything else?

IMG Fashion also has IMG Models. I am involved with developing that sphere as well and we are doing a lot of work in the Asia Pacific region. IMG Models represents some of the leading models in the world. They include Kate Moss, Heidi Klum and Giselle Bundchen. My role is to look for opportunities for those girls in Asian markets. My job is also to spot new talent who can become a part of the IMG fold globally.

In what way has the business model evolved along with the industry?

The business model of IMG Fashion is primarily based on the ownership and the development of fashion events. They can be trade events for the industry or events for the public who are fans of fashion. The revenue model revolves around contributions fro m designers to participate in these events and also sponsorship to drive the events.

How difficult is it to find sponsorship?

It is always a challenge. You are competing with other parts of the marketing spend. This is the advertising spend, public relations spend. IMG has vast opportunities because it has such good significant properties around the world.


So if you are an international brand like Lakme or Olympus or Mercedes Benz and looking to create an association with the fashion industry and therefore reach consumers then IMG Fashion can be a valuable partner for you.

How has the takeover of the takeover of IMG by investment company Forstmann Little & Co impacted the company?

It has added value to both management and the operational structure. Forstmann has great vision which they have been able to transfer into the development of IMG Fashion. They are bringing in some new things like a focus on the internet and new media.

'We are seeing designers images going up on the Internet straight away and retailers copying them. Many designers are considering pulling out of online galleries'

How is IMG Fashion looking to leverage the Internet and new media?

New York is the best example of what we are looking to do. Recently we created a partnership with Microsoft and Sprint to deliver fashion show content online.


This is the first time it has been done live anywhere in the world. It was successful. The site started to rank alongside other great event sites around the world like Wimbledon, US Open. It is a win win value proposition and allows us another window to showcase our collection.

Is the mobile also an opportunity?

Definitely. We are in discussion with a lot of operators. With the advent of 3G and mobile, TV people are coming to grips with what the consumer wants. Do they want five minutes edited highlights of fashion shows? Do they want to be able to see what is happening backstage? Do they want critiques? Do I want to watch it while traveling on a bus or while I am at work?


As consumers we do not know what we want out of this new media. But IMG Fashion is well positioned to deliver the content in whatever manner it suits the consumer. It is a question how we apply content to the medium.

How important a market is India for IMG from the fashion side compared to other Asian countries?

It is significant and we have been here for six years already. India has a vibrant fashion industry that we are partners with. India has a huge growing consumer population. They are getting more involved with fashion.

Could you talk about some of the learnings from other countries that you have applied for the Indian market?

Lots! I have been running fashion Weeks for 10-12 years. We bring 20 years of running them and it benefits India. There is a lot of detail, procedure, information.

What are the ways in which IMG is leveraging the synergies between fashion and the worlds of music and entertainment?

We did an innovation recently in Singapore. This was a collaboration with MTV. We produced a special MTV Fashionably Loud. This the epitomy of live music rock concert married to a fashion show and developed into a brilliant television programme which will air across Asia, including India, on 9 April 2006.


It stars top designers like John Paul Gautier, Gucci, Prada. We have an indirect relationship with the film world. Many designers who participate in our fashion Weeks dress film celebrities.

'The overall challenge is in fighting for the consumer dollar against different industries like cosmetics, entertainment, food etc'

What role do major events like the Oscar Awards play in increasing synergy between the world's of entertainment and fashion?

The first hour of a major film programme, whether it is the Oscar Awards, the Golden Globes, the Baftas, focus on what people are wearing. On the red carpet the interviewers are more interested in the outfits than on the films. This is a huge opportunity for designers to get noticed in a way that otherwise would not be possible.


The downside is that some of the mystique is lost when viewers find out that the dress is being returned tomorrow along with the jewelry. This is something though that the industry has to learn to live with.


When you have a celebrity for a fashion event the danger is that he/she might have their own aims. This need not be promoting their designers. When the relationship works well in terms of the celebrity talking about the designer and vice versa. It needs to be balanced though. A personal connection helps when a celebrity likes to wear a particular designers clothes, as it looks good on them. It does not always happen though.

Could you talk about how IMG increases the brand equity of a fashion event through its expertise?

We have a series of production partners who help us produce events. We have contractors around the world. IMG Fashion also has experienced executives who help manage sponsorships, marketing and bringing in international buyers and producing events. It helps create better outcomes for the participants. Designers will sell more clothes and the media coverage for Lakme Fashion Week will grow exponentially.


So they know that the return on investment is strong. At the end of the day we bring measurable outcomes to participants. Without commercial outcomes we cannot commercially substantiate our involvement or their involvement.


Our aim is never to create a homogenous Fashion Week circuit. In New York it has its own style and personality of showcasing sports wear. Los Angeles, Mumbai, Sydney are also distinctive. The inherent nature of the industry allows each event to be different. Indian designers have a certain, style, feel and way of doing business. We have no intention of taking this spirit away. We want to embrace and enhance that spirit. Lakme fashion Week has sense of community and that is the spirit.

What is the main difference between organising a fashion event and a sports event?

The basic principles are the same. You need organisational skills for both. However, a specific expertise a required to run fashion events. This means that you have to understand the industry. Organising a fashion event is a question of management - order, discipline, logistics, delivery.

What are the ways in which IMG meets these challenges?

It is about having a plan that will offer a successful outcome. You need to be very structured and focussed. You need great creativity and logistical execution. You need to balance both.


There is no point in having a creative Fashion Week if the sets fall down. If it is not run on time or the media is not getting what is going on, then the event will be affected.

Are you satisfied with how television channels cover the fashion industry or do you feel that there is a need for greater in-depth coverage? What I am trying to get at is that the genuine understanding of the fashion business is very low in India among journalists in particular and the media in general.

It is a good point. Designers need to be more prepared to deal with the media. They need to be more educated. The media needs to understand the subject matter and then put it in an international context.


If an Indian designer comes out tomorrow on the catwalk with a Gucci rip off then the journalist must be able to spot it. That is your responsibility to the consumer.


To do that you have to take your journalism and research equity very seriously. We need to see more of that in India. What ultimately works is mutual respect between the two parties.

On its part what efforts is IMG taking to make its fashion events more TV friendly?

We have excellent lighting and sound. So the quality that we can get out of our events is good. We have great partnerships like with Zee here. We also did one with Microsoft in the US. IMG owns one of the largest television production companies in the world -TWI. So we have a lot of experience in this area.

In India one problem that the fashion industry commonly faces is charges of copying of designs. What in your view is the solution and is this problem faced in other countries?

This problem is faced everywhere. We are seeing it now with designers images going up on the Internet straight away and retailers copying them. Many designers are considering pulling out of online galleries. I am not sure of what the solution is to this problem.


The overall challenge is in fighting for the consumer dollar against different industries like cosmetics, entertainment, food etc. Hopefully we will get our fair share and this can be done by providing people with the right products.

Could you talk about IMG's expansion plans globally on the fashion side?

We have development plans for new events across the Asia Pacific region. We can talk about this when the time is right.

What are the plans that IMG has for India going forward?

The way forward is to grow and develop the Lakme Fashion Week. You grow it by getting more buyers and more media to attend. They write for more orders, the designers get bigger. Both parties come back. It is cyclic.


The event has to be of a high quality so that designers want to participate. So content has to grow.

Then again there is no good having great content if you do not tell people about it. Our job is to tell people globally what is going on here.

Latest Reads
Star World to air 1-5 of 'Homeland'

Star World and Star World HD is all geared up to air the pulse-pounding action series 'Homeland.' The show tackles geopolitical moral conundrums of our current world. It has recently unveiled the teaser for the upcoming season 6 shows how Carrie Mathison will circumvent around another international...

Television TV Channels English Entertainment
Share all World Cup, T-20 feeds with Prasar Bharati, rights holder told

The telecast of all official one-day and Twenty-20 matches played by the Indian Men’s Cricket Team will henceforth have to be shared by the rights holder with the public broadcaster Prasar Bharati under the Sports Broadcasting Signals (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharati) Act 2007.

Television TV Channels Terrestrial
Saregama returns to film music acquisition with Pen pact

Saregama India has inked a two-movie deal with Pen Movies. With this agreement, Saregama has acquired the music rights of upcoming Bollywood releases of Pen which includes Kahaani 2 -- Durga Rani Singh, featuring Vidya Balan and Arjun Rampal.Kahaani 2 is slated for a release on 2 December.

Television TV Channels Music and Youth
Q2-17: Zeel numbers, PAT up on higher Ad and Subscription revenue

The Subhash Chandra led content and broadcast player Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (Zeel) reported a 23 per cent hike in consolidated revenue for the quarter ended 30 September 2016 (Q2-17, current quarter) as compared to the corresponding quarter of the previous year.

Television TV Channels GECs
Best Deal TV appoints Hari Trivedi as COO

MUMBAI: Best Deal TV has appointed Hari Trivedi as the chief operating officer with immediate effect. Based in Mumbai, Trivedi will be responsible for overall sales and marketing. He would also be initializing lowest price offers and deals on Best Deal TV.

Television TV Channels People
Disney announces successor of MD Siddharth Roy-Kapur

MUMBAI: Walt Disney International has announced the successor to its former managing director Siddharth Roy-Kapur. As a second stint with the organization, Mahesh Samat has made a comeback and will lead The Walt Disney Company India as the managing director. He will pursue his new responsibility...

Television TV Channels People
Life is more imaginative than fiction in a story like POW, says writer-director Gideon Raff

MUMBAI: Sometimes, coming back home after 17 years is not always a happy ending. "Prisoners of War" is the story of three Israeli soldiers, who were held captive for that many years following their kidnapping while on a secret mission with their unit.

Television TV Shows Thriller
IPL media rights bidding postponed sine die

MUMBAI: The BCCI has made it clear that the media rights auction cannot take place till the time it gets a concrete go-ahead and a formal approval from the Justice RM Lodha committee. Till the evening of 24 October (Monday), BCCI did not receive the okay from the committee which said, "it is in...

Television TV Channels Sports
Q3-16: DIRECTV mitigates AT&T U-Verse TV subscriber numbers fall

BENGALURU: AT&T acquired DIRECTV added 323,000 net subscribers and hence helped mitigate the company’s Entertainment and Internet Services Group (Entertainment) segment’s loss of 326,000 U-Verse subscribers for the quarter ended 30 September 2016 (Q3-16, current quarter). About 70 percent of...

Television TV Channels English Entertainment

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories