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.

Apparel - - Contents - Pho­to­graphs by Dhiman Chat­ter­jee.

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

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.

DAY TWO

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!

DAY THREE

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.

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