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Shaw Wallace starts inaugural Royal Challenge Student Fashion awards

MUMBAI: 'Just chill' with fashion - is the mantra that liquor brands to create buzz! The inaugural Royal Challenge Student Fashion awards, kicked off this morning, is an initiative that seeks to offer talented students of fashion design a chance at serious exposure.

The challenge will be held in Mumbai, Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Bangalore. Three schools in each place will be chosen and students will be asked to send in design sketches, which will be done according to set parameters. A fashion expert panel in Mumbai will judge and 20 finalists will be chosen.

The finalists will display their wares consisting of two garments at a fashion show, which will be held in each of the above-mentioned cities. The finalists for the grand finale show in Mumbai will be decided through viewer's choice. The winner here will undergo internship under the tutelage of designer Manish Malhotra who comfortably straddles the worlds of fashion and Bollywood.

The process will start in end July in Mumbai and finish next year sometime in April. Before that, however RCSFA will kick off its first activity on Thursday, 15 May at Taj Land's End with a 'Just Chill' Royal Challenge Pret Collection fashion show by Malhotra. Expect to see the likes of Yana Gupta, Sheetal Malhar, Aryan Vaid strutting up and down the ramp.

Shaw Wallace Breweries whole time director-head Deepak Chaudhuri said that when the company thought of the initiative last year the idea was to own the most unique sponsorship property in India from the grass root level.

"We created the 'Just Chill' tagline for our beer to give it a separate identity. Last year, we did a series of fashion shows with our brand Haywards 2000 and we said to ourselves 'if we are going to invest money into this arena then why not make it meaningful?'," says Chaudhuri.

Chaudhuri adds that the visual medium of fashion crosses barriers of gender, religion, language. "We are also looking at creating a consumer pull for Royal Challenge Lager Beer as fashion trends are aspirational in nature. We are also looking to activate both old and new customers. Fashion TV will most likely cover the event but our main aim is not to generate publicity. It is to create a platform where talent which otherwise would have been ignored can thrive. We will be running ten second television spots across the channels to create awareness in addition to the print media," he elaborates.

"To create campus awareness we will be distributing merchandise at the fashion schools like brochures, posters. In addition, Marc Robinson who was closely involved with the conceptualisation of the event will conduct awareness programmes in the chosen design institutes. With each passing year, we will look to add another one or two more cities. For viewers choice attendees at the fashion shows will be given a card," says Chaudhuri. The card will contain a few basic questions like 'would you wear the clothes regularly?'.

The other companies that have lent their support are Air Sahara, Taj Luxury Hotels and Jumbo Group. Air Sahara's CEO UK Bose said that the company always looks to get involved with causes that involve the youth.

Bose says: "This way we can fly young talent across the country. We will be launching a multimedia campaign soon, which will revolve around the look of the airline. On the sponsorship front we have the Air Sahara Achievers Cup for Golf." He also maintained that business had not been affected on account of SARS menace.

Speaking to indiantelevision.com Marc Robinson, who made a successful transition from model to fashion choreographer, pointed out that today fashion designers are more into pr?t as opposed to couture as that is where the money lay. "Today, the designs are getting smart with an international forecast," Robinson says.

Robinson attributed the excessive focus by the media on the glamour quotient of fashion, to the fact that fashion coverage is a relatively new phenomenon in the country. Within three years, the coverage would have a more serious background to it, he said.

For the Taj group, the alliance makes sense as the hotel industry like fashion has become synonymous with a certain lifestyle.

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