A change is inevitable now. All because of the few incidents that have happened or are going to happen…
Last year was the most uneventful year for exports in a long time…, maybe it was a year in brooding. The export growth figures were down and the domestic market was depressed due to demonetization and fear of GST (some are comparing it to the Y2K virus, which created such a hype at the turn of the century but fizzled out to nothing).
I believe that fear is bigger than reality…, yet there are genuine concerns, mainly because of the lack of clarity and implementation hurdles. In the meanwhile, the textile industry is divided on how the reforms would impact businesses along the supply chain, though there is a conviction that it would have a positive influence on the competitiveness in the long run.
The recently concluded Textiles India 2017 extravaganza was a breeding spot for discussions and the four major concerns with regard to GST that emerged are: Accumulation of credit at every level of the chain; Imported fabric to be cheaper than domestic fabric; 18 per cent service tax on apparel job work to make outsourcing unviable; and 18 per cent GST on MMF and Yarn serving as a severe blow to the synthetic sector.
Though the Government has assured a review and revision after three months, the industry is on the back foot. While demonetization brought in lack of funds to source raw materials and pay wages, GST has brought uncertainty, thereby further crippling the system.
As if this was not enough, the Delhi Government has increased minimum wages by 50%... I am not even sure if the industry can survive after such a huge blow… Where are the margins to absorb this increase?
Though the honourable court has reserved the decision till 11th September, I doubt if the court will eventually ‘stay’ the move.
With all this happening, the only way to survive is to move to places like Jharkhand, Odisha, Telangana and other states where the Government is pro-active in building infrastructure and is offering incentives to the industry to come in, including a rebate on wages. Jharkhand already has three bigwigs setting up units there – Orient Craft, Shahi Exports and Matrix Clothing…, and I am sure others will follow suit soon.
I sincerely believe that this is the best and the only way for the industry to grow now!
In the meanwhile, things are getting tough on the retail front also with stores closure and frequently changing consumer demands putting pressure on retailers to be faster than their competitors in placing their products on the shelves. Ram Sareen, Founder, Tukatech shares with our readers how the long sheets of tech packs cannot keep pace with the evolving fashion industry. It is the digital platform that should be the new communication language between designers and technical team. Longer the retailers rely on outdated means, sooner they will be out of business.
Another trend which is taking fashion to a next level is ‘athleisure’. Driven by millennials’ fitness-conscious behaviour, athleisure is the new take of the town. Fad or classic, athleisure is not going to lose its charm in the coming years. Two of Indian sportswear manufacturers, Paragon Apparels and Creative Clothex, have launched their own athleisure brands in the market to tap the potential market in India.