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In­dia is the sec­ond largest pro­ducer of silk-based prod­ucts and one of the lead­ing ex­porters of the same. But, last fis­cal did not prove good for silk sec­tor, es­pe­cially in ex­ports as ex­port of silk-based prod­ucts was just US $ 264.64 mil­lion in 2017-18, com­pared to US $ 315.84 mil­lion in 2016-17. But now, some pos­i­tiv­ity seems to have found its way back into the in­dus­try and in the pe­riod from April-Au­gust 2018, ex­ports so far are worth US $ 122.78 mil­lion which shows a growth of more than 9 per cent com­pared to the same pe­riod last year. Sim­i­larly, the feed­back com­ing from the in­dus­try is pos­i­tive and this year, some im­prove­ment can be wit­nessed.

The three-day long 6th In­dia In­ter­na­tional Silk Fair which con­cluded in Delhi on 18th Oc­to­ber gave pos­i­tive in­di­ca­tions as more than 100 ex­hibitors from across In­dia got a good num­ber of buy­ers and ad­e­quate busi­ness can be ex­pected in near fu­ture. Or­gan­iser of the event, The In­dian Silk Ex­port Pro­mo­tion Coun­cil (ISEPC) ex­pects to gen­er­ate busi­ness of over US $ 20 mil­lion from the fair, which was vis­ited by more than 145 buy­ers from across the world. Team Ap­parel On­line ex­plored var­i­ous as­pects of the silk sec­tor for an up­date on the in­dus­try.

Even today, the ma­jor buy­ers of silk prod­ucts are those who re­ally un­der­stand and ap­pre­ci­ate the feel and lux­ury ap­peal of silk rather than go­ing in for the mass mar­ket like other stan­dard fab­rics like cot­ton or PC etc. Many In­dian silk com­pa­nies are ex­pand­ing their base within their ex­ist­ing client base and are able to add a few new buy­ers too. “This year, we have com­par­a­tively more de­mand from in­ter­na­tional buy­ers as the mar­ket seems to have picked up. We should have more or­ders as we met some new buy­ers too in the event,” shared, L. Rad­hakr­ish­nan, Deputy Man­ager – Sales of Ban­ga­lore-based Chamundi Tex­tiles (Silk Mills)

Ltd. The com­pany is purely into silk fab­ric man­u­fac­tur­ing and it is fur­ther plan­ning to start ex­port of home fur­nish­ing prod­ucts.

New and in­ter­est­ing prod­ucts of­fered by some of the play­ers is also one of the rea­sons to fetch more ex­port or­ders. Socks, lin­gerie, un­der­gar­ments and um­brella made of Eri silk are few such prod­ucts which are wit­ness­ing in­creas­ing de­mand from over­seas coun­tries. Mukesh Gope, CEO of Nil­ima Silk, Ban­ga­lore, which also has its unit in Jhark­hand, is get­ting reg­u­lar or­ders of such socks from Swe­den which fur­ther is ex­pected to grow. “Eri silk socks have nat­u­ral qual­i­ties which work like anti-mi­cro­bial fin­ish. They are more skin-friendly than cot­ton as they have in­her­ent ther­mo­static prop­er­ties; one can wear them con­tin­u­ously for 10 days with­out wash­ing,” Mukesh quipped. The com­pany started th­ese socks just 8 months ago. Silk mélange tees is an­other new of­fer­ing by the com­pany.

North In­dian state Assam is the hub of Moga silk and SME play­ers from there are com­ing up with more such in­ter­est­ing prod­ucts. For ex­am­ple, Yana’s in Guwahati which is of­fer­ing Eri silk’s um­brella, is fur­ther plan­ning to come up with silk lin­gerie. “Our

Eri silk um­brella has a nat­u­ral UV pro­tec­tor and we are work­ing to make it wa­ter­proof. Our next tar­get is to start silk lin­gerie as it is more sus­tain­able and skin-friendly than any other avail­able prod­uct in the mar­ket,” shared Kangkana Hazarika, Di­rec­tor of the com­pany. She fur­ther added that there is enough de­mand in south-east Asian coun­tries for

silk-based prod­ucts. Manasm­rita T. Hazarika, Pro­pri­etor of Aarhi Shilpa, Guwahati who is also of­fer­ing such in­no­va­tive prod­ucts, added that such prod­ucts do help to man­age price pres­sure as silk is a costly fab­ric. Sus­tain­abil­ity as­pect is also mo­ti­vat­ing some SME play­ers to ex­pand in this seg­ment. Prab­hjyot Bedi and Ankita Ja­jo­dia who have been into this trade for more than a decade and are known for of­fer­ing silk fab­ric etc. un­der the com­pany Mayuri Silk, have now come up with hand­made or­ganic scarves, yoga pants and al­lied prod­ucts which are ma­jorly for the over­seas mar­ket. “Pure & Sim­ple is our new ini­tia­tive in line with the on­go­ing wave as we are now also fo­cus­ing on hand­made or­ganic scarves and yoga pants. Buy­ers have re­acted pos­i­tively to th­ese of­fer­ings and we are ex­pect­ing or­ders of the same,” the duo main­tained. Delhi-NCR is also wit­ness­ing emerg­ing de­sign­ers who are pro­mot­ing silk and such fab­ric-based gar­ments. In­ter­est­ingly, small but new firms are also en­ter­ing into this seg­ment. Su­tasta, an ini­tia­tive of Ro­hini Prasad, a trained fash­ion de­signer, is a just one-and-a-half year old firm of­fer­ing Khadi silk. “I am pro­mot­ing Bi­har’s silk as well as crafts like Mad­hubani paint­ings. The gar­ments I am of­fer­ing do not re­quire any dye­ing or pro­cess­ing. So far, I have good busi­ness and now with the par­tic­i­pa­tion in an event like

In­dia In­ter­na­tional Silk Fair, I am ex­pect­ing few over­seas buy­ers too,” added Ro­hini.

Apart from the buy­ers who were in­ter­ested in just silk only, the event saw some other buy­ers who were in­ter­ested in buy­ing fab­rics, other than silk too. They were seen flock­ing the stalls of ex­hibitors sell­ing non­silk-based prod­ucts. L.K. Mishra, Janki Ex­ports, Delhi and Ayan Sadh of Ayan Col­lec­tion, Noida were some such ex­hibitors in the fair and who got good en­quiries from the over­seas buy­ers.

Kangkana Hazarika, Di­rec­tor, Yana’s, Guwahati with UV pro­tected um­brella by Eri Silk

Mukesh Gope, CEO of Nil­ima Silk, Ban­ga­lore is ex­pand­ing its mar­ket and pro­duc­tion

L Rad­hakr­ish­nan from Chamundi Tex­tiles (Silk Mills Ltd.) re­ceived en­quiries for Hab­o­tai and Tabby Silk fab­rics

Ro­hini Prasad of Su­tasta, of­fer­ing pri­mar­ily sus­tain­able prod­ucts

Ankita Ja­jo­dia (L) and Prab­hjyot Bedi, Pure & Sim­ple, ex­plor­ing ex­port op­por­tu­ni­ties

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