Apparel - - From The President’s Desk - RAHUL MEHTA

Dear Friends,

Fi­nally, the D-Day has ar­rived! The 59th Na­tional Gar­ment Fair will be­gin on June 23 – the Big­gest ever NGF in CMAI’s his­tory. And the Big­gest ever in the Ap­parel Trade for that mat­ter – over 700 Brands on Dis­play, and over 35,000 Re­tail­ers ex­pected to visit. Over 4,50,000 square feet of space. Surely, it can­not get big­ger! The Fair will be In­au­gu­rated by the Hon’ble Min­is­ter for Tex­tiles, Shri San­tosh Ku­mar Gang­war on June 23 at 10.00 AM. Our Dy­namic Sec­re­tary for Tex­tiles, Smt. Zohra Chat­terji has kindly con­sented to be the Guest of Hon­our at the In­au­gu­ra­tion.

As I write this piece, I am ac­tu­ally re­turn­ing from an ex­tremely in­ter­est­ing Con­fer­ence or­gan­ised by EUROTEX in Brus­sels. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Ja­pan, Brazil, Tai­wan, Africa, Tur­key, and of course the EU sub­mit­ted their Pre­sen­ta­tions on their Coun­tries’ ex­pe­ri­ences and ex­pec­ta­tions from var­i­ous FTAs signed, the cur­rent sta­tus of their re­spec­tive Ap­parel In­dus­tries.

I am told my Pre­sen­ta­tion on what In­dia ex­pects from the pro­posed FTA with EU was very well re­ceived and ap­pre­ci­ated.

But what amazed me was the ex­tent of aware­ness and in­ter­est most Del­e­gates dis­played about our re­cent Elec­tions, and even more so about our new Prime Min­is­ter, Naren­dra Modi.

“Do you ex­pect In­dian Econ­omy to re­vive again?”, “Will he re­verse the FDI Pol­icy?”, “Is he as much of a Dic­ta­tor as he is made out to be?”, “What is your ini­tial re­ac­tion?” were the kind of ques­tions which were fly­ing thick and fast from who­ever I met. It is ob­vi­ous that the World is very se­ri­ously look­ing at In­dia, per­haps with re­newed in­ter­est, and “aapna Modi bhai” has made a huge im­pact even in­ter­na­tion­ally!

By the time you get this copy, I am sure the much looked for­ward to (or ma­ligned – de­pend­ing on which way you look at it) EOSS should be just about ready to take off. From what I have been hear­ing, it does look as if the Re­tail­ers are be­ing a bit cau­tious this time, and hope­fully the Sale pe­riod will not be ex­tended be­yond four to five weeks. More on this, next month!

In the mean­time, SS’14 has not gone too great, more so for Men’s wear Brands, though the Ladies wear seg­ment ap­pears to have done rea­son­ably well. Kids’ wear too, has just about kept its head above wa­ter. News from the MBO seg­ment is also not too bright, though they may not have to worry too much on the in­ven­tory front, due to their con­ser­va­tive and cau­tious buy­ing.

The last month saw the pass­ing away of one of the tallest pil­lars of the In­dian Gar­ment In­dus­try – Capt. C. P. K. Nair, Chair­man of the Leela Group. Though in his later years he was more in­volved with the Ho­tel and Hospi­tal­ity busi­ness, he never lost con­tact with his ear­lier pas­sion which was Gar­ments. One of the Pi­o­neers of Ex­ports of Gar­ments from In­dia, he was an Out­stand­ing Leader of Men, a vi­sion­ary par ex­cel­lence, and an in­spi­ra­tion to all who came in con­tact with him. I had the plea­sure of meet­ing him a cou­ple of times, and each time I came back awestruck by the man’s bril­liance and hu­mil­ity – a rare com­bi­na­tion in­deed.

CMAI, which hon­oured him with the Life­time Achieve­ment Award in De­cem­ber 2006, Salutes this Pas­sion­ate, Pi­o­neer­ing, In­spi­ra­tional and out­stand­ing gi­ant of a man.

Fi­nally, look­ing for­ward to meet­ing all of you at the NGF!

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