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Re­view F&A, Delhi: In­no­va­tion: The big­gest thrust for com­pa­nies along the tex­tile value chain

The sec­ond edi­tion of the Delhi Chap­ter of F&A Show, an es­tab­lished name, and which has al­ready ac­claimed recog­ni­tion in Ban­ga­lore, was well-re­ceived by the vis­i­tors, though many ex­hibitors shared that big names from the ex­port seg­ment were miss­ing...

The sec­ond edi­tion of the Delhi Chap­ter of F&A Show, an es­tab­lished name, and which has al­ready ac­claimed recog­ni­tion in Ban­ga­lore, was well-re­ceived by the vis­i­tors, though many ex­hibitors shared that big names from the ex­port seg­ment were miss­ing. Yet, over­all, both the par­tic­i­pants and vis­i­tors were happy with the ex­pe­ri­ence. Among the prod­ucts that drew at­ten­tion were new op­tions in knit­ted fab­ric and in­creased pos­si­bil­i­ties in lo­cal sourc­ing of ac­ces­sories like la­bels, tapes, but­tons and in­ter­lin­ings. The fact that most of the par­tic­i­pants were ea­ger to project their com­mit­ment to ‘Make in In­dia’, only added to the thrust on in­no­va­tion and qual­ity to en­sure that gar­ment man­u­fac­tur­ers and buy­ing of­fices source prod­ucts from lo­cal com­pa­nies.

In­no­va­tion is with­out doubt the big­gest buzz­word for the tex­tile sup­ply chain to­day and ev­ery player is putting fresh thrust on the area to sur­vive. The trend was seen not only with huge com­pa­nies like Vardhman and Reliance, but also with smaller, niche com­pa­nies. “The prod­ucts may look sim­i­lar be­cause of the cat­e­gory, but the dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion that comes through R&D makes ev­ery prod­uct unique,” ar­gued Sid­dharth Jain, Di­rec­tor, Vel­cord Tex­tiles,a Mum­bai-based com­pany spe­cial­iz­ing in cor­duroy and vel­veteen fab­rics. With lat­est tech­nolo­gies, the fab­rics are man­u­fac­tured for con­ven­tional as well as high-end fash­ion­wear and in­clude sev­eral com­bi­na­tions of weaves, weights and fi­bre blends, af­ter which many fin­ish­ing tech­niques give an exclusive look and feel. “We strive to pro­duce su­pe­rior qual­ity fab­rics through ex­ten­sive in-house prod­uct de­vel­op­ment. Our con­stant en­deav­our re­mains to pro­gres­sively raise our pre-set bar to sat­isfy and ex­ceed our cus­tomer’s ex­pec­ta­tions,” added Sid­dharth. In­deed the quest for higher bench­marks is push­ing the in­dus­try to new heights. “The need to dif­fer­en­ti­ate has never been so strong and we have moved be­yond dou­ble yarn blends to mul­ti­yarn blends us­ing many di­verse cat­e­gories like cot­ton, modal, ten­cil, ly­cra, and other spe­cial­ized yarn to cre­ate unique fab­rics,” shared

NK Agar­wal, Di­rec­tor, Du­ra­tex In­dia. The Mum­bai-based com­pany is a ver­ti­cal set-up from weav­ing to gar­ment­ing and has re­cently added fab­ric for wom­enswear tops that are wo­ven, but have the feel of knit­ting, a prod­uct that was a ma­jor at­trac­tion at the booth. The cur­rent fo­cus of the com­pany is also on gar­ment­ing and the next gen­er­a­tion has re­cently en­tered the on­line space with an in-house brand – Ur­ban Scot­tish – for men’s shirts. “Since we are al­ready strong in fab­ric, I wanted to add value by con­vert­ing the same into gar­ments.

Now we are look­ing to add bot­toms also to our gar­ment­ing pro­file,” averred Nikhil Agar­wal, Di­rec­tor at Du­ra­tex Re­tail.

Gar­ment­ing seems to be the di­rec­tion for many of the next gen­er­a­tion di­rec­tors at fab­ric com­pa­nies. Ak­shay Jain, Di­rec­tor, Sangam Weavers shared that hav­ing at­tained a rep­u­ta­tion of be­ing an in­no­va­tive pro­ducer of knit­ted fab­ric with dif­fer­ent blends, con­struc­tions and fin­ishes, the com­pany is now fo­cus­ing on pro­mot­ing its knit­ted gar­ments which were in­tro­duced 5 years ago to the com­pany’s pro­file and is al­ready man­u­fac­tur­ing for brands like Color Plus and Ray­monds, and is also avail­able through on­line shop­ping. “There is so much cre­ativ­ity hap­pen­ing at the fab­ric stage that we de­cided to get into gar­ment­ing to take this cre­ativ­ity right on to the end user,” rea­soned Ak­shay. The amaz­ing range of fab­rics on dis­play caught the at­ten­tion of many buy­ing houses and ex­porters.

The tex­tile sup­ply chain is be­ing in­no­vated right from the yarn stage and com­pa­nies with spe­cial­ized yarns like Raysil and Asahi Bem­berg are in great demand. “Ev­ery­one is look­ing for bet­ter hand-feel, lus­tre, dra­pa­bil­ity in gar­ments and that is only pos­si­ble by us­ing spe­cial­ized yarns with prop­er­ties which can en­hance the ba­sic yarns,” ar­gued Shailen­dra Pandey, Joint Pres­i­dent (Sales & Mar­ket­ing), In­dian Rayon, the pro­duc­ers of Raysil fash­ion yarns from the house of Aditya Birla

Nuvo Limited. At the event, the com­pany met many man­u­fac­tur­ers from the North­ern re­gion and mer­chan­dis­ers from buy­ing of­fices, and the re­sponse was good. The con­cen­tra­tion of the com­pany to­day, is on cre­at­ing a net­work of part­ners to use Raysil so that more gar­ments of the same can be in­tro­duced into the mar­ket, gen­er­at­ing big­ger demand. As of now, Su­rat is the big­gest mar­ket for Raysil, ac­count­ing for over 50% of mar­ket share for the prod­uct. In fact, weavers in Su­rat are very proac­tive in ex­per­i­ment­ing with spe­cial­ized yarn and many com­pa­nies in the seg­ment are tar­get­ing the mar­ket with vigour. The city is also the big­gest mar­ket for Asahi Bem­berg, a re­gen­er­ated cel­lu­lose fi­bre de­rived from cot­ton man­u­fac­tured by Asahi Ka­sei Cor­po­ra­tion, Ja­pan. Since Bem­berg orig­i­nates in the nat­u­ral cot­ton plant and is re­born with the in­fu­sion of hu­man tech­nol­ogy, it fea­tures both the gen­tle­ness of nat­u­ral fi­bres and the func­tion­al­ity of man-made fi­bres. “The soft hand-feel, lus­tre, breatha­bil­ity, mois­ture ab­sorp­tion and nat­u­ral prop­er­ties of Bem­berg make it an at­trac­tive op­tion for weavers look­ing for yarn in cat­e­gories like wom­enswear and sports­wear,” said Hideto Tan­i­moto, Gen­eral Man­ager, Cupro Di­vi­sion, Asahi Ka­sei Cor­po­ra­tion. Tan­i­moto adds that the raw ma­te­rial for Bem­berg is mostly sourced from In­dia and re-en­gi­neered into both sta­ple and fil­a­ment fi­bres for a wide range of ap­pli­ca­tions. In­dia also hap­pens to be one of the big­gest mar­kets for the fi­bre, ac­count­ing for one-third of the global mar­ket share. Mov­ing ahead, Tan­i­moto sees more growth as the tex­tile chain is ex­plor­ing newer op­tions for dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion.



Ac­ces­sories fol­low the in­no­va­tion theme…

In the ac­ces­sory seg­ment, the at­tempt to of­fer some­thing new was equally preva­lent, whether the prod­uct was an elas­tic, lace, but­ton, thread or in­ter­lin­ing. “The days are gone when stan­dard prod­ucts were made. The new gen­er­a­tion of own­ers, de­sign­ers and mer­chan­dis­ers are very well aware of trends in the mar­ket and we get such de­tailed spec sheets with un­com­pro­mis­ing spec­i­fi­ca­tions in elon­ga­tion, width, colour fast­ness, print, weave/knit type, etc. and there is no room for any mis­take. Our job is to en­sure that all these pa­ram­e­ters are met to perfection,” shared

Su­nil Mody, Di­rec­tor, Lion Tapes. The com­pany has a pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity of 6,00,000 me­tres per day in 1 inch width elas­tic and is flex­i­ble in prod­uct re­quire­ment though they pre­fer to work in bulk and of­fer smaller quan­ti­ties mostly to prime cus­tomers. Hav­ing an in-house lab, all prod­ucts are tested for buyer norms and then sent for val­i­da­tion to third­party test­ing com­pa­nies like In­tertek and Bu­reau Ver­i­tas. The high-qual­ity elas­tics from the com­pany have earned them a global nom­i­na­tion from Jockey and they are also the big­gest sup­pli­ers of elas­tics to FCUK brand in In­dia.

The demand for in­no­va­tion, how­ever, does not su­per­sede the need for com­pet­i­tive price. Eber­hard Ganns, MD and Bianca Chai, Gen­eral Man­ager, Union Knopf (HK) Ltd. were very vo­cal on the ironic re­la­tion be­tween quest for new­ness and qual­ity ver­sus price pres­sures. “The do­mes­tic mar­ket is our main fo­cus be­cause the ex­porters al­ready work with us through global nom­i­na­tions, and we find that though ev­ery­one wants the best, many are still not ready to pay the price,” said Bianca. Eber­hard added that the strug­gle be­tween cost-cut­ting and en­hanc­ing brand value is not new, but “we have a clear strat­egy to re­main in the high-end niche seg­ment and not can­ni­balise our own worth by try­ing to ser­vice all cus­tomers at ev­ery price point.” Ac­cord­ing to the com­pany, an in­no­va­tive but­ton man­u­fac­turer from Ger­many, the lat­est trend is to­wards but­tons that go well with ath­leisurewear and ca­su­al­wear that dou­ble up as work­wear, an ex­ten­sion of the ath­leisurewear trend. As a mar­ket leader in de­sign and ma­te­rial in­no­va­tions, Union Knopf pre­sents trend col­lec­tions twice a year, hav­ing but­tons and trims for men, women as well as uni­sex but­tons.

An­other com­pany which has earned rep­u­ta­tion of high-end of­fer­ings, Shar­man Udyog, wit­nessed heavy visi­ta­tion from buy­ing of­fices. The wo­ven la­bels of­fered by the com­pany are man­u­fac­tured by lat­est Euro­pean tech­nolo­gies and have sharp colour and pic­ture qual­ity in ev­ery piece.

“We have al­ways in­vested in best of tech­nolo­gies and train­ing to get re­sults that are hard for other com­pa­nies/man­u­fac­tur­ers to pro­duce. Even though we are among the mar­ket lead­ers, con­sis­tency of qual­ity is still the big­gest chal­lenge be­cause weav­ing in a small prod­uct like la­bel is very com­plex and re­quires high skill lev­els,” said Hira Lal Jain, Di­rec­tor, Shar­man Udyog. He added that con­stant de­vel­op­ment of new con­cepts and re­spon­sive­ness to new tech­niques and ideas has al­ways kept the com­pany ahead.

Tal­reja Tex­tile In­dus­tries, man­u­fac­tur­ers of 100% cot­ton fusible in­ter­lin­ings re­ceived many new en­quiries for its wide range of Talco brand in­ter­lin­ings. Varun Ch­habria, VP Op­er­a­tions of the Mum­bai-based com­pany was happy with the vis­i­tor pro­file, as they met many new buy­ing houses. He shared that of late they have up­graded their prod­ucts to ser­vice the pre­mium brands. “We are look­ing to work with both the do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional brands. While we are al­ready well placed in the do­mes­tic sce­nario, we are com­mu­ni­cat­ing to the in­ter­na­tional brands that we have all the right cer­ti­fi­ca­tions in qual­ity and sus­tain­abil­ity to be a pre­ferred sup­plier, be­sides which we are cost­ef­fec­tive too com­pared to global brands in in­ter­lin­ings,” shared Varun. While Coats was pro­mot­ing their lat­est ven­ture, Per­mess – a range of in­ter­lin­ings for gar­ment in­dus­try in se­lected mar­kets, and In­dian man­u­fac­tur­ers of ac­ces­sories, like El­e­gant But­tons and Nilesh Rib­bons, were happy that man­u­fac­tur­ers are now look­ing at lo­cal com­pa­nies for many items which ear­lier were be­ing im­ported. Shell but­tons and fancy laces/rib­bons, re­spec­tively from the two com­pa­nies, are re­ceiv­ing good demand from both lo­cal brands and buy­ing of­fices.

The demand for in­no­va­tion how­ever, does not su­per­sede the need for com­pet­i­tive price.

In the mean­while, Kr­ishna Lam­i­coat of Ban­ga­lore was pro­mot­ing its re­cy­cled pa­per bags for pack­ag­ing and hand-out pur­poses. “Nidhi

Dua, Coun­try Head from M&S was very much im­pressed with our pa­per bags and we are hope­ful that the com­pany will ex­plore ways to sup­port these prod­ucts, which are also a part of a big­ger CSR ef­fort to help women be in­de­pen­dent by earn­ing their own liveli­hood,” said Ashok Ch­ha­jer, Di­rec­tor, Kr­ishna Lam­i­coat.

‘Team time' for ex­hibit­ing com­pa­nies… Vardhman Tex­tiles, Ludhiana

Bhan­dari Hosiery Ex­ports, Ludhiana

Kr­ishna Lam­i­coat, Bangalore

King­dom Hold­ings Ltd., China

Eber­hard Ganns, MD; and Bianca Chai, Gen­eral Man­ager, Union Knopf (HK) Ltd with Neeraj Khanna from the In­dia Of­fice

The team from Nilesh Rib­bon In­dus­tries, Su­rat

Nikhil Agarwal, Direc­tor at Du­ra­tex Re­tail with his fa­ther NK Agarwal, Direc­tor, Du­ra­tex In­dia

Varun Ch­habria, VP Oper­a­tions, Tal­reja Tex­tile In­dus­tries

Shailen­dra Pandey, Joint Pres­i­dent (Sales & Mar­ket­ing), In­dian Rayon

While Hira Lal Jain (3rd from right) rep­re­sents the old bri­gade, stand­ing next to him is Piyush Jain (2nd from right) who rep­re­sents GenNext at Shar­man Udyog with team

The Coats team – com­pris­ing of mem­bers from Delhi and Bangalore of­fice

Su­nil Mody and Mi­nesh Mehta, Both Di­rec­tors of Lion Tapes

The young bri­gade at Sangam Weavers – Ak­shay Jain and his sis­ter

Hideto Tan­i­moto, Gen­eral Man­ager, Cupro Divi­sion, Asahi Ka­sei Cor­po­ra­tion

Sid­dharth Jain, Direc­tor, Vel­cord Tex­tiles

Alok Raj Jaiswal of El­e­gant But­tons

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