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GJEPC holds future trends 2014 seminar in mumbai

The Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) held an extensive two-day seminar and panel discussions on Future Trends 2014 aimed at educating members and students of the gem and jewellery industry on the prevailing trends in Europe, USA and India.

The major part of the seminar was conducted by world renowned jewellery trend forecaster, Paola de Luca, creative director of Trendvision Jewellery + Forecasting, while informative presentations were made by leading Indian jewellery designers and design houses.

Bridging the gap between the industrial and creative worlds, Trendvision Jewellery + Forecasting, an independent forecasting observatory in the jewellery, watches and accessory sector powered by Fiera di Vicenza, has become a global reference for the future trends of the sector it represents.

While inaugurating the seminar, GJEPC chairman Vipul Shah said, "Indian jewellery has without a doubt, created a niche for itself as it combines contemporary sensibilit ies wit h traditional aesthetics. America and Europe remain one of the major markets for Indian exports and thus, understanding the trends prevalent in these countries becomes imperative. Therefore through the seminar the Council hopes to update design sensibilities and strategic awareness to further penetrate into these key markets."

Keynote speaker, Navin Jashnani, managing director and product development head, Sama Jewellery, took the audience through the various interpretations and definitions of a trend, highlighting the power of utilising trends as an effective marketing tool. "Design directions can help jewellery manufacturers plan the production of collections for the coming seasons and meet market demands in such a manner as to curb the percentage of products manufacturers have to melt at the end of each year," said Jashnani.

Touching upon other Indian practices that have influenced the world like the craze for mehendi and yoga, Jashnani commented, "By analysing future jewellery trends, India will be a force to reckon in the global gems and jewellery market." And to achieve this vision, the GJEPC aims to set up a trend cell by the end of 2014, bringing in analysts, strategists, designers and product developers who would provide wellresearched data to all the stakeholders in the market.

"The fashion industry has always been ahead of the jewellery industry for so many years and it is now time to make that quantum leap to understand the consumers," said Paola de Luca in her presentations that spread over two days. "Today, design is not only about sketching with pen and paper. It is less about creativity and more about strategy. One must analyse jewellery trends based on various influences, including social influences, market indicators and consumer behaviour before designing a piece."

While putting forth her design directions for 2015, de Luca highlighted the importance of designing for consumers born in the digital age. Based on four major themes – Abstract Minimalism, Electro Goth, Avant Garde Exoticism and Digital City – de Luca acquainted the audience with jewellery preferences in Europe and USA.

"Europe is an important player in the global jewellery market, and people here are willing to pay for design, prompting higher margins in jewellery," she stated. "Jewellery preferences in Europe vary widely and can be generally divided into three main sectors - Northern Europe, Central Europe and Southern Europe. The climate among many other factors influences jewellery preferences in the seregions, she informed. Specialised retailers account for 70% of the distribution channels with most Europeans preferring brick-and-mortar stores to online purchasing. "The ingredients of jewellery are not as important as its aesthetics, which is why Europeans are experimenting with mixed media or custom jewellery," she noted. The United States of America is the biggest economy in the world in terms of middle class and is one of the largest jewellery consuming nations, 65% of purchases are made in stores, while the rest are comfortable buying online. "Online sales are growing 10% year-on-year and nearly 39% of the adult population buys jewellery every year and this shows in the figures as well – the US jewellery and watch sales saw an 8% increase in 2013," stated de Luca as she went on to elaborate on the various prevailing trends in America.

Over the two days, a host of renowned entities spoke at the seminar. They included Sangeeta Dewan, senior design consultant for Titan Industries, Vaishali Banerjee, country manager- India, Platinum Guild International, Farah Khan of Farah Khan Fine Jewellery, Gunjan Suri, head designer, Shrenuj & Co, French designer Adeline Roussel, Yash Agarwal, creative director of Birdhichand Ghanshyamdas Jewellers, Vogue's fashion director Bandana Tewari and Harshad Ajoomal of H. Ajoomal Fine Jewellery, jewellery designer Pallavi Dudeja Foley, fashion designer Rocky S, Vipin Sharma, director of jewellery, World Gold Council, Toranj Mehta, director of marketing, Forevermark, Jasleen Manrao, visual merchandiser, Figments Inc, Devendra Layal, designer and art consultant, Siddharthaa Sawansukha, CEO of Sawansukha Jewellers, Anil Bharwani of Seth Sunderdas and Co, Arunava Chakraborty, head of design at Sama, and Mariesha Rego of Renault Design India Studio.

The speakers put forth their diverse views on design and trends, but were unanimo us about t he importance of telling stories through designs. While they agreed that it was important to look at trends and create motifs relevant to today's generation, it was imperative to revive the rich crafts of India to bring in an element of tradition that the Indian consumer could identify with.

In his concluding remarks, Sanjay Kothari, convener of promotions, marketing & business development, GJEPC, said, "The GJEPC has always proactively taken steps to support the industry by undertaking various initiatives, including Future Trends 2014, and I hope that everyone here take back important learnings on jewellery designing, thus making our efforts worthwhile."