66th NGF: A Starry Spectacle!
A report on the 66th National Garment Fair
The 66th National Garment Fair, an eagerly awaited event in the Domestic Apparel Industry, was a huge success. The Two-Day Trade Show was held on January 29-30, 2018, at the Bombay Exhibition Centre, NSE Complex, Goregaon (E), Mumbai. Kashmira Mirza and Amanda D’Souza report from the Venue. Photographs: Vikrant Saple.
The dawn of 2018 signalled a new beginning for the Apparel Industry. After much eager excitement for the event, which witnessed the largest participation of any summer fair, day one of the 66th National Garment Fair finally arrived. The excitement levels were at an all-time high when the 66th NGF was kicked off at the Bombay Exhibition Centre, NSE Complex, Goregaon (E), Mumbai, on January 29, 2017, at 10 AM.
DAY ONE Hall 1 of the Bombay Exhibition Centre was abuzz with activity. The Fair was inaugurated at 11 AM by Mr Rahul Mehta, President, CMAI, by lighting the traditional lamp along with Mr Ashok Shah, Chairman, Fair Sub-Committee, Mr Rohit Munjal, Joint Chairman, Fair Sub-Committee, Mr Rajesh Masand, Vice President, CMAI and Mr Jayesh Shah, Jt Hon Gen Secretary. Mr Rahul Mehta, then, cut the ceremonial ribbon, symbolising the start of the Fair. Post the inauguration, esteemed members of the CMAI, namely Mr Rahul Mehta, President, CMAI, Mr Rajesh Masand, Vice President, CMAI, Mr Ashok Shah, Chairman,
Fair Sub-Committee, Mr Rohit Munjal, Joint Chairman, Fair Sub-Committee, Mr Jayesh Shah, Jt Hon Gen Secretary, Mr Mohan Sadhwani, Executive Director, CMAI, Mrs Sharmila Nadkarni from Desi Belle and others visited various stalls and interacted with some of the exhibitors.
As with the earlier editions of the NGF, this time too, the excellent organisation and planning done by the CMAI was very evident and there was visible excitement amongst the exhibitors and visitors right from the start. There were 354 brands participating this time, a marked increase from the 64th NGF, where there were 266 brands.
This year, the exhibitors were asked to send in their photographs in advance for the ID cards that would be made ahead of the exhibition, instead of the earlier practice of making the ID cards at the venue.The exhibitors were handed their ready badges at the check in itself, which saved a lot of valuable time. The maximum size of the stalls was 48 square metres and no decorations were permitted. Photography and music was also not allowed. Menswear, womenswear and kids’ wear brands participated in this edition of the NGF.
Speaking to Apparel, Amit Simaria from Catmini said,‘‘The footfalls at the NGF are always excellent. The fair gives us great exposure. We get to interact with all kinds of players: wholesalers, agents, retailers. We also get to increase our brand awareness among customers. Although we’ve taken part in the July fair twice, this is the first time we’re exhibiting during the January fair. Bookings can be done anywhere, but this kind of networking is only possible at an event like this. There is no other organisation that can match CMAI when it comes to efficiency in planning and organisation. This is the only association of its kind in India that draws such a large pool of exhibitors and agents and distributors. The NGF is a very good and safe platform for manufacturers like us.”
Ahead of day one, Deepak Nathwani from Get Wrapped said, “This is the third time we are taking part at the NGF. We are hoping for some good bookings. We are looking forward to getting some distributors and wholesalers for our products. We look forward to networking and buillding business relationships with them.”
Rajiv Gala from Anora had a few suggestions to improve the fair, saying, “Post Diwali, there has been a slump in the buying habits. So, we’re expecting a good Summer season, with a surge in purchases. We’re hoping for a good turnout at the fair, which would help that. As for suggestions for improvement in the organisation and planning of the NGF, it would be great if we got a clearer picture of the layout of the stalls. I wouldn’t have chosen this particular stall that I’ve
THERE WERE 354 BRANDS PARTICIPATING AT THE 66TH NGF: A MARKED INCREASE FROM THE 64TH NGF, WHERE THERE WERE 266 BRANDS.
procured, if I knew the proper dimensions. The NGF is getting bigger and better each year. We are hoping to improve our networks and get in touch with new clients through this Fair.”
As for buyers and visitors, they too, seemed to share the excitement. Gul Ahmed of Aspire Enterprises who came all the way to Mumbai from Surat for the NGF said, “This is the second time I have attended the NGF. I found the 66th NGF pretty amazing. It is definitely helpful for someone like me, a sportswear manufacturer. We get to track trends and keep up with all the latest innovations.”
Chetan Kamble of Aarti Collections, another buyer from Solapur, shared a similar opinion, “The NGF provides good exposure and promotes good competition. I am in the garment business for 15-20 years and I’ve attended the NGF many times. This fair gives a great platform for interaction with other businessmen. The organisation and layout is pretty good.”
After a trying year which was still reeling from the impact of demonetisation and also had to contend with the new system of GST, exhibitors were hopeful of welcoming the New Year on a positive note with the 66th NGF. The CMAI members too, were very excited about this Fair—which was evident from their conversations that centred on the success of this event, which witnessed a very good turnout of both exhibitors and buyers.
Day one ended on an upbeat note, as the APEX awards were held for the first time along with the NGF. Speaking of the decision to club the two events, Mr Rohit Munjal, Jt Chairman, Fair Sub-Committee said, “The idea behind choosing to have the APEX Awards along with the National Garment Fair was to enable a greater number of dealers to attend the Awards Ceremony with greater convenience. Having it at a common venue at the same time, when networking is at its peak, is only apt for the industry. We are planning to make the Awards a regular fixture of the Summer Fair.”
With such enthusiasm and productivity on ample display, the first day of the 66th NGF truly lived up to its theme, ‘Capturing Opportunities’.
After the resounding success of Day One, there was enthusiasm about Day Two amongst both, the exhibitors as well as the buyers. The second day of the fair began with great gusto. Crowds of eager buyers swarmed Hall 1 of the Exhibition Centre. Apparel spoke to various stakeholders to get their opinions. Ashutosh Shah, from Chennis said, “I’ve been in the textile trade since 2005. The NGF is a really good platform for people who want to showcase their new products to wholesalers, retailers and consumers. I think the organisation and layout is quite excellent.”
Yuvanshu Sharma of Attempt Clothing Co, a regular exhibitor, said, “It feels very good to participate in this Fair. We participate every year. The organisation and planning of is also very good. We are sure that the Fair will benefit us in terms of both, bookings and networking. A lot of our existing customers visit this Fair so it works well for us.”
Hiren Khandol of Big Boy said, “This is the first time we’re participating in the January edition of the fair, even though we’ve been regularly exhibiting at the July edition, since 12 years. Our main aim is to indulge in good marketing.”
Nilesh Karani of B:Kind praised the planning and organisation of the fair, adding, “We are 100 per cent sure to benefit from this Fair.”
Some visitors had higher expectations for the NGF: “I am looking around for consumer fabrics. I try to attend the NGF as often as possible. I am finding this edition a bit smaller than the last one, though,” mused Abhishek, a buyer who spoke to Apparel. Vijay Patel, a buyer from Harshidh Industries, had a different grouse, “I’m a regular attendee of the Summer Fair. So far, having checked out about 80 per cent of the fair, I haven’t noticed a major shift in trends or any eyecatching creativity. Nothing much has changed in terms of patterns and designs.”
For some exhibitors, two days didn’t seem enough. Akash Chauhan of Aebbe opined, “As per the walk-ins I’ve already seen, two days seems too less a time. I hope the CMAI extends the number of days for this fair, too. Only then will our investment be profitable, as there is scope for far more business.” However, he did have wonderful feedback for CMAI. “The organisation and planning is great this year, as compared to last year which witnessed a few fiascos. This is my third time at the NGF. I believe patience and consistency is the key to succeed in this industry. The more you show up, the greater the awareness of your brand, and so your business will grow. Our main priority is to boost our brand and improve our business. The market is getting more competitive by the day, because of threats from power brands. The NGF gives us a platform to prove ourselves as worthy competitors to the power brands. The collection that my brand puts up and the attitude we have towards marketing is on par with bigger brands.”
All in all, the two days of the 66th NGF were unforgettable and successful. The CMAI has certainly raised expectations for all future fairs.