Indian retail brands mark strong interest in denimwear
The second edition of the India Chapter of the Denims & Jeans show only reiterated the growing importance of the Indian retail market and the increasing focus of companies to establish links with leading domestic brands. This however does not undermine the importance of international brands that have built a strong base in India, both for their global operations and Indian stores. No wonder, the event saw participation from 18 countries like Italy, Turkey, Korea, Singapore, Bangladesh, China and Switzerland, besides India. Representatives of these global participants from companies like Jeanologia, Archroma, Hyosung, Bluesign, and Tonello are quite upbeat about the Indian denim industry and are expecting good business from the country in the coming days.
Apart from latest denim fabrics, yarn, dyes, chemicals, washing technology, software and trims manufacturers also participated in the event. Leading Indian denim mills like Arvind, Raymond, Oswal Denim, LNJ, Mafatlal, KG Denim, Nandan Denim, and companies like Reliance Industries, displayed their latest offerings at the show which saw visitation from top retailers like M&S, VF Sourcing India, Levi’s, Landmark Group, Monte Carlo, Being Human, PVH, Arvind Brands, Inmark Retail and few other brands, besides export houses like Gokaldas Images, Shahi, Texport and many more.
As a denim fair, the major concentration of all participants was on innovation and sustainability – the two growth drivers for the segment today. Whether the exhibitor was a fabric manufacturer, a chemical provider or an accessory company, the focus for all was common – to offer something unique. However, this is easier said than achieved and differentiation was often seen in the ‘service’ rather than the actual product. “While we continue to innovate, the responsiveness of our service from delivering on time to customisation is also a key component of our growth,” said Ram Srinivasan, Head Apparel Fabric Sales, KG Denim Ltd. The company introduced the ‘re-fibrea’ concept for the first time within their sustainable concept, which basically means the use of recycled fibres. The speciality at LNJ Denim was the fabric made from post-consumer recycled denim which has the
GRS (Global Recycle Standard) certification. The company is the largest supplier of this concept to H&M, with own factory to recycle old and used jeans. “Though the production of cotton is not increasing, the demand for garments is on the rise, so sustainable options of producing the same from already existing resources is a need. We have specialised in fabrics from recycled clothes and this has become one of our USPs,” said Prabir Bandyopadhyay, Chief Executive, LNJ Denim & Fabric Business.
According to many of the exhibitors, knitted denim is really big this season and some Indian companies shared that since all major players have entered the segment, there is a huge oversupply of the product, which is leading to a price war. Reliance Industry, with its R-Elan performance fibres, has gained popularity with many denim suppliers; and many of the exhibitors were displaying products from the range. RIL has entered into a partnership with VF Corporation of US, owner of the
Wrangler brand and the largest denim player globally for R-Elan. Recently the brand launched the Inficool denim range, made from R-Elan Kooltex fabric, for Spring/Summer 2018. Though all the Indian denim manufacturers at the event had newness in their fabric, whether attained by using speciality yarns or washing techniques, yet denim industry veteran and Chairman of Diagonal Consulting, PR Roy, who inaugurated the show felt that Indian denim companies need to focus more on product development, as the market was getting very competitive and only those companies would be able to sustain in the long run that had something new to show. “Indians should start focusing on PD from educational level, then only we can take India to a leadership level,” he opined.
Among the International companies, the tie-up between Vicunha Textil from Netherlands and Denimach, Bangladesh attracted a lot of attention. Using the highly sustainable fabrics from Vicunha, Denimarch presented denim garments that were trendy and in-line with global fashion. “Our Eco Denim range contains recycled cotton and uses water saving technology that speaks of our commitment to sustainability. Today many brands are looking for such concepts and I am happy to note that even in India, local brands have shown great interest in this range,” said Adbel Amouche, Country Manager, Vicunha.
Archroma with its latest chemical solutions was another crowd-puller, more so as the company is recognised for its sustainable efforts and is a leader in supporting the industry, not only with latest formulations but also with technical knowhow. The Earth Colour range of textile dyes – Diresul, made from agricultural waste was of interest to many of the visitors, as was the Archroma advanced Denim range that claims to give better results with minimum resources. “We want to be much more than just chemical solution providers. We are looking to tie-up with progressive companies to create new trends and concepts that are more environment-friendly and aesthetically appealing,” said Anjani Prasad, MD, Archroma India. Providing extra stretch spandex for denim, Korea based Hyosung
TNC Co. Ltd., the manufacturers of Creora, were very happy with the response at the fair. The company with its partners is very determined to disperse the notion that spandex is only about lycra. “We have been focusing more on quality and technology till now, but now that we have a product range that is truly global, we will be concentrating on brand building to create awareness of our product,” said Sangbaek Lee, Spandex Marketing Performance Unit, Hyosung. The range of spandex includes various deniers, as also chemical, chlorine and heat resistant options which are suitable for the denim industry as the fabric passes through many washing techniques and still retains its core property. The Indian team is very upbeat as many companies have shown interest in their products.
The Coats booth witnessed good visitation for both its threads and zippers (Opti) under the sustainability theme. With its wide range of offerings for the denim industry, the match was perfect and the team led by Rajesh Lakhanpal, Commercial Director, Coats India, who has recently joined the team, were kept busy with enquiries throughout the two-day event. “This is my first industry event exposure in India and it is heartening to see that value products are gaining momentum with the industry here,” noted Rajesh.
At Jeanologia, Spain, the focus again was on sustainable solutions for garment finishing – laser, ozone and e-flow. The concept was to go digital and be environment-friendly. The design software at MYR, Italy, which is a young start-up company, was on saving money, time and resources on the design process from conceptualisation to approval, including patterns for production.
Visitors indicate growing denimwear market…
Quality visitation of top Indian, as well as international brands to the show, was one aspect that reflected the increasing interest in the denim segment. Irrespective of the scale of operation and market focus, ‘product development’ and ‘sustainability’ were the two main focus areas of most of the retailers or brands in the show.
Teams or representatives from these companies were very much particular about these two concepts. The team from Being Human who visited the event, included Purvi Joshi,
VP, International Business and Sourcing and Saurabh Singh, Head of Design – Menswear. “Getting good and stable vendors who can do the exact products which we are expecting in terms of quality, delivery, price, altogether is a challenge,” said Purvi, and added, “Visiting such fairs to observe collections and also having the advantage of immediate discussion with other team members gives much more clarity.”
Saurabh shared that while doing anything related to product development, they are equally eyeing how it is going to impact the environment from a sustainable perspective. “Some of the international brands are doing good work in this area which is a motivation to all, for the same,” he added. Roma Singh, Merchandiser, and Neelima Tiwari, Merchandising Supervisor, VF Sourcing India also shared that they came to the event to find some sustainable fabrics, or anything which can add sustainable inputs to the final garment. “We focus a lot on CSR, and our business is also driven through sustainability, so our priority is focused on such issues when making buying/sourcing decisions,” said the duo. The company is doing a lot of work to educate its vendors regarding sustainability.
Apart from recycled and organic fabric, the company is looking for similar kinds of trims also.
Some of the brands are now focusing a lot on mutual cooperation between various stakeholders of denim industry to bring out the best product which is equally sustainable too. Vipin Asokan, Technical Manager – QA, Team Splash (Landmark Group), Dubai informed that being a fashion brand and self-sourcing company, which is looking at competing in the Middle East market, Splash is working in collaboration with value chain partners from design concept to the garment stage. “We design and then share all aspects with the fabric and technology companies, as also other stakeholders. So all of them work with proper coordination and result comes out to be the best,” says Vipin. The group is working with nearly 70 vendors in India.
Ludhiana-based Monte Carlo Fashions Ltd. is having its design and merchandising office in Bangalore with more than 24 professionals. “Companies from France and
Germany impressed me more here. Not only fabric, even trims and washing effects with futuristic approach served my visit to the fair as a complete package,” said Varun Kumar M, Design Head – Shirt Category of the brand. Shirts contribute nearly 12 per cent of the brand’s overall business which is mostly outsourced from good factories. Though, totally dedicated to the domestic and comparatively low-cost segment market, jeans manufacturers from cities like Ludhiana are equally aggressive on sustainable and quality products. Ashok Kumar Jain, Partner, Miniking Knitwears, Ludhiana who found some interesting fabric at the fair, emphasised that it does not matter who the customer is and what the price range is. “We are using the best infrastructure at every stage and inputting best available fabric so that we can give the best products to our customer,” he averred.
The organisers of the event were overwhelmed at the positivity. “This show is our best show ever. It also reflects how much hunger there is for uniqueness in the domestic market. The market has got so much of depth and breadth now; besides the number of players is also increasing and business is becoming bigger and bigger. My criteria of success of the show depends on whether the show can help the industry to be more innovative, can force them towards more PD and to improve their market… So based on all these parameters, the show was quite successful,” concluded Sandeep Agarwal, Founder, DenimsandJeans.com.
Prabir Bandyopadhyay (L), Chief Executive, LNJ Denim & Fabric Business; and Jayadev M. Shetty, General Manager Marketing standing in support of ‘re-cycling’
Ram Srinivasan (R), Head Apparel Fabric Sales, KG Denim Ltd. with his colleague Ravikumar, Manager Exports
(L to R) Anudeep Nagalia, Vice President Marketing, Industrial & Exports; Rajesh Lakhanpal, Commercial Director; Ashish Bansal, Marketing Manager; and Balasubramanian Ranganathan, Industrial Product Manager representing Coats India
Team Hyosung: (standing L to R) – Nick; S B Lee; and Kunal; (sitting L to R): Vivek Kumar; M W Lee; Gaurav Prajapati; and Dinesh Keswani
Adbel Amouche (second from right), Country Manager, Vicunha in discussion with customers
Anjani Prasad, MD, Archroma India
Seven professionals from Inmark Retail visited the show. Ranganath Kuppur (third from left), Business Head, Womenswear, Kidswear and Lingerie shared that the fair was really fruitful
Team Being Human: Saurabh Singh (second from left), Head of Design – Menswear and Purvi Joshi (third from left), VP, International Business and Sourcing.
Reliance Industry, with its R-Elan performance fibres, has gained popularity with many denim suppliers. Many of the exhibitors were displaying products from the range
Yogi Sachdev (second from right), Director, SF Dyes with his team at their booth
Team Splash (Landmark Group): Vipin Asokan (extreme left), Technical Manager – QA with his colleagues
The Team from Monte Carlo: (L-R) Santosh, Manager PD & QA, and Varun Kumar M, Design Head – Shirt Category
Ashok Kumar Jain (R), Partner, Miniking Knitwears, Ludhiana with Aydin Kumbaraci, VP, VAV Technology, Turkey