Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society” goes the old saying by the famed Mark Twain and how true this is, can be witnessed in the modern age as the race for space in the apparel industry stretches out to the height of imagination in clothing and fashion. Meanwhile, India’s garment industry looks set to achieve its export target of $18 billion during the current financial <g data-gr-id="111">year,</g> while riding on a 12.2 per cent growth registered during 2014-2015. Union Textile Secretary S K Panda, while inaugurating the 61st National Garment Fair in Mumbai recently, said the Indian apparel industry offered large-scale growth opportunities in view of the strong domestic demand alongside exports. However, the country needed to address challenges relating to technology upgradation, skill development to expand employment opportunities and export challenges, to put the Indian garment industry on the world map, he said.
“Skill, scale and speed are needed in this regard and for exports, consumers are the key. <g data-gr-id="125">Kapda</g> is one of the basic requirements of humanity alongside providing new designs at affordable prices. Although Mumbai is the commercial capital of India, the apparel industry and the Clothing Manufacturers Association Of India (CMAI), must spread its wings to other parts of the country including the northeast,” he said, adding: “The Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged for the spread of industrialisation to all parts of the country and we will request state governments and entrepreneurs to do so in order to bring peace and prosperity to the country.”
The CMAI’s 61st National Garment Fair held recently at the Bombay Exhibition Centre, was billed as the largest apparel exhibition with a space spread over five lakh square feet, more than 700 stalls displaying over 780 brands consisting of men’s wear, women’s wear, kid’s wear, etc. and approx 40,000 retailers from all over India visiting this three-day fair.
At present, the total size of the Indian apparel industry is pegged around Rs 3 lakh crore, while the domestic demand is reported to be around Rs 2 lakh crore with the CMAI expecting the size of the Indian apparel industry to double within the next five years. The CMAI also pointed out the rising labour costs in competitor countries like China, Bangladesh and the US, thus presenting an optimistic outlook for the Indian garment industry. Alongside, the CMAI has also sought early signing of the Free Trade Agreement with the European Union.
To address the issue of skill development, the CMAI has planned to set up 50 Apparel Training Centres across India, of which, 35 are already functional. In <g data-gr-id="91">Maharashtra</g> there are two Skill Development Centres at Baramati and <g data-gr-id="90">Tarapur,</g> while the third one is coming up at Kalyan spread over 100 acres.
Rahul Mehta, President of the CMAI and also Chairman of the International Apparel Federation, said that the CMAI had introduced, for the first time, an online registration for visitors to save time and enable quick entry into the fair. Another first for the event was e-commerce companies being invited to participate in the “Business Networking Sessions” this year, he said.
Mehta said that the CMAI was appointed as one of the Lead Implementing Agencies under Component II of the Integrated Skill Development Scheme (ISDS) of the Ministry of Textiles, to impart training to 35,000 trainees in the 12th Five Year Plan, last year. The CMAI also planned to set up 50 Apparel Training Centers across India and so far it has already set up 35 Training Centers across six states.
Meanwhile, the fair made waves as participants highlighted their offerings in a variety of ways that was both eye-catching as well as unique. “Twills” of Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh, since 1995, with <g data-gr-id="102">special</g> focus on menswear is doing its bit for the environment through “Green tech for a better future”. The programme aims at coupling plantable seed paper with its sales of clothing merchandise.
Amit Jain, Brand Head, Twills Clothing Pvt. Ltd., said the company had produced eco-friendly paper called “Eco-Spirit”, which is made from recycled paper into which seeds of some flowers are embedded. The flower paper is attached to the sales’ tags of the clothing on sale with the note to “place paper on top of compost (peat-free if possible), cover lightly with more compost, water the paper to keep it moist and then place it in sunshine to watch it grow. The seeds will germinate and be needed to be repotted into bigger pots if necessary.”
Describing this eco-friendly initiative as part of the company’s environment-protection efforts, Jain said Twills’ turnover had witnessed a quantum leap from zero in 1995 to Rs 150 crore today with its designs matching upcoming fashion trends and Pan-India sales in 80 outlets in the country. “We are a budgeted brand and our MRPs are very controlled due to work on less profit as part of our agenda of big volumes with limited margins. In giving back to the environment, we are highlighting Twills’ “Eco-Spirit” brand sales as a concept and part of our “Eco-Series” collection to promote <g data-gr-id="116">love</g> for nature,” he added.
Jeans are the ongoing fad with both young and old and “POISON” brand, since 1980, witnessed crowds at its section in the Fair. “The name itself is fascinating and draws the attention of the people as I wanted a name that would appeal to all sections of society and ages,” notes Hitesh <g data-gr-id="113">Vadera</g> while pointing out that this Mumbai-based brand had made a name for itself in its wash-n-wear, imported denim material from China.
“We have been participating in this Fair for a long time with our sales volumes on one occasion rising to between 12,000 and 15,000 pieces in this national exhibition. Our majority market is in the South, though now we are operating on a Pan-India basis, and another reason for crowds here is also free <g data-gr-id="101">give-aways</g> like specially-designed classy belts matching the buyers choice of jeans,” Vadera said.
“SPYKAR” jeans, which has topped the sales popularity among buyers in India since 1992, chose to promote itself at the Fair through paintings by various artists, that drew numerous queries from art collectors and aficionados.
“We are participating in this fair over the past five years and stand high nationally in this segment alongside brands like Levis, Wranglers, Pepe jeans,” said Hemant Gharpurkar, Regional Sales Manager for SPYKAR Lifestyles Pvt. Ltd., whose turnover is Rs 180 crore. “We are not into exports as the Indian market, especially Mumbai, is a huge and good market for us. This painting concept has been organized only for this year’s exhibition with the help of our in-house artists, as we want to share the beauty of designs through the eyes of these artists,” he added.
The state of Texas in the USA is known for its “Wild West cowboys” and longhorn cattle, which was the scenario earlier for this brand in the exhibition. However, this year witnessed the brand “TEXAS” featuring the intricate details that go into the making of the jean clothing. “The brand TEXAS started off in the early 90s with pure denim but, after we took over, shifted gear into the present market changes that showcased “ICE-WASH” (near-faded white jeans), “STONE-WASHED” (a shade above ice-wash) and “DENIMAX”, which was a darker shade above these two and “RAW” denim,” said youthful co-owners Tushar and Tanuj Tulsiyan. “We have been participating in this CMAI national exhibition for the past six years as it generates about 10 per cent to 12 per cent of our business. We attribute our selling strengths to our mid-segment pricing which is competitive and has seen us being well-placed businesswise in 16 states, besides getting us top ranking in the brands segment,” he said.
Commenting on the present concept of “Black Wall” at the exhibition, he said his sister Vedika Tulsiyan broached this idea to frame their products. “The whole idea is to frame the “Made to Measure” concept, where we put a sewing machine and clothing on the wall with explanations about individual elements of the product,” he said while noting that this scenario was successfully drawing all types of people interested in behind-the-scenes activity of denim apparel manufacturing.
Mannequins are part of the clothing industry yet remain forgotten in their role as exponents of the best in fashion and colours in apparel. “These mannequins are a $4 billion industry globally and we are the only Mannequin company that has participated in all 61 Fairs held by the CMAI,” notes Mahesh <g data-gr-id="170">Bhambani</g>, partner, Japan Mannequin Company, which has been in business since 1986. Flashback to the CMAI Fair’s early years. “In those days, the Fair normally was inaugurated by the <g data-gr-id="171">filmstars</g> of Bollywood and was related only to <g data-gr-id="167">sale</g> of garments. Later, we felt the need for all those connected with the industry including suppliers and retailers, besides others offering over and above readymade garments,” he said.
“We were the first to manufacture mannequins of fiberglass for highlighting garments, as people used to import them from foreign countries including the Far East. Prior to this, mannequins were made of P.O.P, which was bulky and heavy at 40 kgs each, besides the hands being not detachable. So we could only drape saris around the mannequins, but not fit jeans or salwar kurtas on them. That was the minus point in the mannequins then,” said a senior company representative Deepak Wadhwani.“P.O.P. mannequins were priced at around Rs 3,000, a huge amount then 30 years back, while imported ones then also cost between Rs 10,000 to Rs 12,000 per piece due to import duties.”
“Today, we make them of fiberglass, which are long-lasting to wear anything with flexible and detachable hands. Since they are hollow, they weigh less than five to eight kgs, besides coming in over 100 colour choices. And their prices? Barely Rs 5,000 to Rs 8,000 each. We manufacture them in our Bangalore factory for our major clients who are: readymade department stores, jewelers, small boutiques/retailers, fashion designers and exporters,” he said, adding: “Since these mannequins are 100 <g data-gr-id="195">per cent</g> handmade, the VAT and excise duties on them should be waived off.”
Did you know?
The Total Size of Indian Apparel Industry is estimated to be around Rs 2,00,000 to 3,00,000 crore. Out of this, <g data-gr-id="225">un-stitched</g> garments like dhotis and sarees constitute Rs 50,000 crore. The size of the Organized Retail Sector is around Rs 40,000 crore. The remaining is the size of the unorganised sector. The Indian Domestic Apparel industry’s size is estimated to double within next five years. In view of the infrastructural issues and rising labour costs in competitive countries like Bangladesh and China, the growth in the export sector looks brighter for India. In the previous Financial Year 2014-2015, India’s garment exports increased by 12.2 <g data-gr-id="226">per cent</g> to $16.8 billion. In Rupee terms, the Export was Rs 1.03 lakh crore, as against the Export of Rs 90,790 crore in the previous year. The size of the Indian garment industry is expected to double within the next five years to Rs 4 lakh crore from Rs 2 lakh crore in March 2012, and even witness the possibility of this figure <g data-gr-id="227">trebling</g> by the year 2020, according to upbeat representatives of the CMAI. Since the Indian Government’s decision earlier to remove the 10 per cent excise duty, the garment industry is poised to take off, while also overcoming all “speed-breakers” in its path as could be seen from its vast expansion from Tier I cities like Mumbai and Delhi to Tier II and Tier III cities through the help of mediums like television etc, said Rahul Mehta, President, CMAI.
With an eye on increasing its export market in a greater way, the CMAI is looking at non-traditional markets like South America, Australia/New Zealand, Japan and Middle East. “Exports don’t happen on a day-to-day basis but rather due to long-term relationships being sustained that help overcome competition in the long run,” Mehta said, adding “China is slowly moving out from the labour-intensive garment industry and moving on towards hi-tech and sophisticated products. Where the present Chinese exports are 10 times more than India, even 10 <g data-gr-id="228">per cent</g> of its exports getting diverted to India means our apparel exports could double. Also, ongoing talks on Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between India and Europe are likely to be finalized in the near future and would provide duty-free access to Indian garments in Europe, thus providing a massive boost to the Indian Apparel industry.”