Starting the New Year on a High!
The New could not have started off on a better note for the Domestic Apparel Industry, as the 58th National Garment Fair commenced from January 6-8, 2014. Kashmira Mirza & Namrata D’souza give you a lowdown on this exciting Three Day Event.
It was a much anticipated Fair of the New Year and as January 6, 2014, dawned, the excitement in the air was palpable. CMAI’s 58th National Garment Fair was held at the Bombay Exhibition Centre, NSE Complex, Goregaon (E), Mumbai. With 164 brands participating, 137 exhibitors and 146 stalls, the expectations were high and the excellent organisation and planning of the Fair by CMAI was evident as soon as we entered Hall VI. The NGF was inaugurated by Rahul Mehta, President, CMAI, in the presence of other members, at 10.30 am, by lighting the traditional inaugural lamp and cutting the ceremonial ribbon. After the inauguration, Rahul Mehta visited various stalls and checked out their displays. Despite the slowdown that has been pervading the apparel industry, it was heartening to see the enthusiasm of the exhibitors. Right from the start, they were unanimously echoing the opinion that the NGF is the best place to connect to a larger market.
Day one progressed on a great note. Speaking to Apparel, Rajesh Masand, Vice President, CMAI, said, “We think that the timing of this Fair would give some benefit to the members participating here and also to the manufacturers.” Rohit Munjal, Jt. Chariman, Fair Sub-Committee, added, “During the Winter Fairs there is a lot of rush with many brands participating and hence, the dealer is pressed for time, when it comes to interacting and conducting business. Here, that is not the case. So, we hope that during this Fair there is more interaction between the buyer and the seller. The Summer Fair, in fact, does enable more interactions and transactions to take place as there is more time on hand.” There were men’s, women’s and kids wear brands participating and we saw a few off-beat brands, such as, Do U
Speak Green? and Batik India, displaying their unique creations, too. Also, there were quite a few first time participants. Rushabh Gala from Zola said, “This is the first time we are participating in the Summer Fair; we have participated in Winter Fairs since the last 20 years. The NGF is organised very well and we are pleased with the arrangements. The Fair helps us to meet new customers and is the best way to connect to a larger market.” Similarly, Kamlesh Nanda from Fayon Troupe said, “This is the first time that I have participated in the NGF but I generally do visit the Fair. The organisation and planning of the Fair is good and it does help us connect to a larger market.” Day one also saw many innovations with respect to the presentation of the stalls; 109°F, Stori Fashions, Camouflaage Fashion, OKS Boys and Desi Belle stood out due to their aesthetic stall decorations. Radhesh Kagzi from 109⁰F said, “Participating in the NGF has always worked for us. As the saying goes, ‘when the going gets tough, the tough get going,’ so rather than crying about the market slowdown, the Fair is a proactive step taken by the CMAI. The organisation of the Fair is wonderful as usual and the NGF is one of the very good ways to connect with the larger market.” Mithun from Jeaneration Clothing Pvt. Ltd. added, “The planning (of the Fair) is quite good. I have been observing since the last five times, the Fair only gets better each time. There are a lot of new brands coming in and the existing brands are also improving. One way for the Fair to grow further is to have brands from far-off states of India participate as well. I expect that the Fair will grow to become as popular as international Fairs across the world.” Day one saw a lot of activity and its success could be gauged by the reluctance of the exhibitors to leave the venue even when the Fair timing was up.
The gusto of day one spilled over to day two and this was the day when exhibitors were expecting the highest number of footfalls; and they were not disappointed. Rajesh from Stori Fashions said, “We have always been participating in the NGF and the Fair is always organised very well. Day one of the NGF was excellent for us. We got a lot of footfalls and around 150 clients and we are hoping for more today.” Purna from Four One Oh said, “Day one was fair enough. Since ours is a new brand, our main aim was to create awareness, which was achieved yesterday. Quite a few people enquired with us and we have bagged a few orders. Thus it was a good day for us overall.” Offbeat brands like Do U Speak Green? also garnered huge attention. Ulrich Viegas from Do U Speak Green? said, “Most customers found our prices quite high and we had to explain to them about organic cotton; but we were able to make people aware about the brand and I am keeping my fingers crossed for today.” Parikshit from Blue Tonic added, “The second day is generally the best in terms of footfalls and we are hoping for the best.” Speaking to exhibitors about graphic prints making a splash on global runways and even dominating the 58th NGF, we got a sense that big, bold and colourful prints are the rage and solids seem to be right at the top as well. We also spoke to exhibitors about whether e-connect is an absolute necessity for the apparel industry today and got mixed reactions, with many exhibitors saying that it would help to connect with the youth and many others saying that it would hardly make a difference in an industry where ‘feeling the fabric is believing.’ Day two ended on a very upbeat note with the tired but happy faces of exhibitors saying it all!
The final day of the 58th NGF dawned and one could sense a feeling of satisfaction mixed with sadness all around. Parag from Parshwanath Clothing Co./Keel Beel said, “The response has been good, we got new buyers and clinched a few deals. The planning and organisation of the Fair is good. We participate in every edition of the NGF and shall continue to do so.” Chirag Boricha from Panth/Shree Sanskruti, had a word of advice for the organisers when he said, “The Fair has been good for us. In my opinion, instead of charging the prospective buyers for entry, the exhibitors can be charged extra, thus making entry free and consequently increasing footfalls. This is the first time I have participated and will look to participate again in the next Fair. We have got new buyers and have clinched deals as well.” We also spoke to buyers who had specially come from far-off places to attend the NGF. Akhtar from Fashion Republic, said, “I have specially come from Jharkhand to attend this NGF. This Fair is much better than the last Summer Fair. I liked some brands like RNC and Stori Fashions.” Pratik from Donear Industries said, “This is my second visit and I am enjoying this Fair, though it is not as big as the July Fair. I met a few exhibitors and I liked what Desi Belle and Four One Oh had to offer.” Speaking to exhibitors about the colours that will rule the coming season for the apparel industry, we got a sense that bright hues and pastels will dominate the colour charts and that western trends can influence the Indian market only to a certain extent. We also learned that, there is an independent style emerging in Indian men’s wear. Finally, it was time to draw the curtains on the three day extravaganza which was thoroughly enjoyed by and benefited all those who were associated with it. With good footfalls and a great response, the 58th National Garment Fair was a huge success and it was indeed a remarkable achievement that in times of such a slowdown, there were such good footfalls and such great enthusiasm. The 58th NGF was that silver lining of dawn that signalled the end of the dark night of slowdown for the apparel industry.