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.
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.