Q-and-A

Apparel Online - - Mind Tree -

As usual, month of Jan­uary wit­nessed some im­por­tant trade shows be it In­dia In­ter­na­tional Gar­ment Fair (IIGF); Heim­tex­til, Ger­many; Hong Kong Fash­ion Week; Gar­ment Tech­nol­ogy Expo (GTE), Delhi; Na­tional Gar­ment Fair, Mumbai to men­tion few. Ap­parel Online re­ceived ‘pos­i­tive’ feed­back from the in­dus­try (ex­hibitors as well as vis­i­tors) across all these fairs. If you par­tic­i­pated in any of these events, or just vis­ited, what is your feed­back? On the ba­sis of these fairs and re­sponse, can we say that ‘pos­i­tiv­ity’ is com­ing back to the in­dus­try at least for this year?

Vivek Bhat­na­gar, CEO, Fu­sion In­dia, Gurgaon

Ap­parel in­dus­try is in a spi­ral and that spi­ral is tak­ing a few prod­uct groups up­wards and a lot many down­wards. The mood and sen­ti­ment in Eu­rope, which is the largest mar­ket we do, is still slow.

The ap­parel in­dus­try shall wit­ness the growth of cer­tain cat­e­gories where In­dia shall be gain­ing with China los­ing out, how­ever it is not go­ing to hap­pen if we sit back and wait for it. The pos­i­tiv­ity that I think we can tap and build the busi­nesses upon are Euro­peans who have more dis­pos­able in­come and they have liq­uid­ity to spend; but are we do­ing enough (ef­forts) to get this business reined in! In­dian ap­parel manufacturers have the clear po­ten­tial and lead as we are a pre­ferred sup­plier-part­ner and can pen­e­trate. But it needs a co­he­sive effort to be put upon – de­sign- and col­lec­tion­driven business de­vel­op­ment – a good de­liv­ery and per­for­mance re­port card and a flex­i­bil­ity that we can en­hance to cater to and of­fer to cus­tomers. In­dian manufacturers are los­ing the flex­i­bil­ity and that is a big detri­ment. Our neigh­bours, both Bangladesh and

Pak­istan, have ad­van­tages with them be­ing duty-free into Eu­rope and they are gun­ning for the vol­ume business that is get­ting dis­placed. In­dian manufacturers are cot­tage in­dus­try fac­to­ries mostly and they are not able to take up these vol­u­met­ric or­ders and there­fore the com­pet­i­tive edge that we have with a safer business en­vi­ron­ment gets lost as ul­ti­mate goal for the brands, re­tail­ers or ap­parel re­seller is to get a bet­ter price and com­pete with the larger re­tail­ers like Zara and the In­di­tex Group, H&M and Best­seller etc.

Pos­i­tiv­ity is there and it is la­tent; how­ever, are we up and ready to grab it! That’s the ques­tion. One thing which I can say very clearly that ails the ap­parel ex­porters is the lack of in­er­tia and the lack of en­thu­si­asm that ev­ery deal that is avail­able needs to be clinched. The killing in­stinct of the larger ap­parel ex­porters needs to be shaken up so that they scale up and grab the business that gets dis­placed. The mid­size and smaller ap­parel ex­porters can­not grab that business and sus­tain it suc­cess­fully. Pos­i­tiv­ity needs to be looked out­wards so that the neg­a­tiv­ity that the trade is talk­ing about with the GST regime and the draw­back is­sues get over­looked and peo­ple fo­cus upon get­ting the business as it is there and will shift to Bangladesh, Pak­istan and Viet­nam if In­dian ap­parel manufacturers do not sit up and pull it in.

The trade fairs are a place where In­dian ex­porters have to ramp up the pres­ence and also cre­ate a value add so that it at­tracts bet­ter qual­ity buy­ers. In­dian ap­parel as­so­ci­a­tions should join hands and try to make the fairs a ‘must at­tend’ fair for the buy­ers and that can only hap­pen when we try to use the pos­i­tiv­ity of In­dian ma­te­ri­als and show­case a dif­fer­ent side of In­dian gar­ment ex­ports. We must be­come more de­sign-driven and be­come eas­ier to work with. AEPC – NIFT and NIFTA, and ini­tia­tives like this shall help get pro­fes­sion­als who can cre­ate a larger business.

In­dian ap­parel in­dus­try needs en­trepreneurs and needs the pro­fes­sional set of en­trepreneurs who started in the 1990’s pe­riod and have made it big to get into the driv­ing seat and build the ap­parel strat­egy for the trade. They could drive the change for­ward and tap the pos­i­tiv­ity as some­thing needs to be done to get ex­ports up and about be­com­ing lean and mean.

Pradeep Na­hata,

MD, Karni Ex­ports, Jaipur

We re­cently par­tic­i­pated at the IIGF and the fair was as usual a rou­tine af­fair which is very dis­ap­point­ing. Ir­re­spec­tive of IIGF, it is too early to say strongly about pos­i­tiv­ity as sit­u­a­tion will be clearer af­ter June and July. What­ever lit­tle im­prove­ments we see are also a kind of pos­i­tiv­ity. Eu­rope which was low from many years, fi­nally seems to have picked up as buy­ers from that re­gion are com­mu­ni­cat­ing more nowa­days. Next 2 years should be ben­e­fi­cial from Euro­pean buy­ing point of view. Shift­ing of or­ders from China, which we were hear­ing from few years, is now re­flected on ground level as we met few such medi­um­level buy­ers that were ear­lier sourc­ing from China, but now we are no more in­ter­ested for the same. An­other ob­ser­va­tion or base for this pos­i­tiv­ity is the trend, prints of ’80s or ’90s, which are ex­pected to be in de­mand this year also; and these prints are our strength as well.

Yo­gesh Gu­lati, Direc­tor, PNR Ap­par­els, Gurgaon

Yes, 2018 can be con­sid­ered more pos­i­tive so far, as we are get­ting more en­quiries com­pared to last years. It is mo­ti­vat­ing us for prod­uct de­vel­op­ment and to of­fer more styles. Though so far not many or­der book­ings are con­firmed but hav­ing more en­quiries are also a pos­i­tive sign. And good thing is that do­mes­tic mar­ket is ex­pected to re­main nor­mal and smooth this year.

AK Ma­hato, Direc­tor, Ter­ri­tory Inc., Delhi

Few or­ders (2 con­tain­ers of 40 ft.) are un­der process with us for buy­ers who sourced these or­ders ear­lier to­tally from China. We can have more such or­ders in fu­ture also. This is one of the main rea­sons why I feel that 2018 can be more pos­i­tive. Sec­ondly, we have in­creased our fo­cus on value ad­di­tion, prod­uct de­vel­op­ment com­pared to ear­lier. We are happy to do what­ever MOQ or smaller or­ders that are be­ing given by buy­ers. Few mar­kets which are un­tapped by In­dian ex­porters are also in our plan­ning, so 2018 should be more fruit­ful for us.

Manav Sing­hal, Direc­tor, Dex­ter Ap­par­els, Noida

As far as our com­pany is con­cerned, I must say that we are sat­is­fied so far, what­ever the or­der sit­u­a­tion is. We too met good buy­ers in IIGF and re­sponse was quite pos­i­tive. We are com­par­a­tively new in ap­parel seg­ment and soon we are ex­pand­ing our ca­pac­ity. I think, rather than gen­er­al­is­ing the sit­u­a­tion, it is in­di­vid­ual ef­forts that give a real feel of mar­ket sen­ti­ments. We are quite pos­i­tive and ex­pect­ing good growth. Our com­mit­ment, qual­ity, prod­uct de­vel­op­ment and com­pli­ance make us prefer­able with buy­ers. We do have strength of our mother or­ga­ni­za­tion Frisco Fab Dye­ing & Print­ing.

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