One of India's premier fashion events may be bigger and better than ever before but the decision to conduct it the same week as the prestigious New York Fashion Week seemed to have ruffled a few feathers.

Both the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week in New Delhi and the fashion extravaganza in New York opened on Wednesday.

More than 40 designers are showcasing spring and summer collections for 2008 at the event in New Delhi, which ends on Sunday.

For the first time since India's fashion week started in 2000, the shows were held outside the ballrooms of luxury hotels and in the auditoriums of Pragati Maidan, a sprawling venue designed for trade fairs.

But despite the focus on making fashion a serious business in India, some felt that organizers should have been more careful while fixing the dates.

By the time the New York Fashion Week ends on September 12, the stage will be set for fashion weeks in London and Paris which follow in quick succession.

Sunil Sethi, who represents more than 20 buyers, said that because of the clash with the New York Fashion Week, some of his clients may come to India only after 10 days -- making the Delhi event little more than a domestic fashion week.

Designer Zubair Kirmani, who had been in the process of completing a deal with Bloomingdale's, the chain of upscale American department stores, is not too happy either.

No one from Bloomingdale's is here because of the clash with New York. Also, if US buyers come here, they would have stayed and seen the collection properly, the Kashmiri designer said.

Others feel that the problem is several big designers missing from the India fashion week this year. While Ashish Soni is showcasing his designs in New York, Manish Arora and Anamika Khanna will become the first Indians to unveil their collections at the Paris Fashion Week.

When big designers are missing, big buyers will be missing as well, said designer Charu Parashar.

Yu Masui, a fashion consultant with Japan's Isetan department store, suggested that India could follow the lead of Japan which had in the past rescheduled its fashion week to avoid a clash with the Paris event.

However, organizers said that the decision to hold the India fashion week alongside the one in New York had been deliberate.

About 80 percent of our market is here (in India). Most of the rest is from the Middle East and only five percent are buyers from UK and the US, said Rathi Vinay Jha, director-general of the Fashion Design Council of India.

It was a conscious decision to keep it along with the New York Fashion Week, since we had no choice. Had we kept the fashion week during the Ramadan period, our Middle East buyers would have been affected, she said.