SILK EXPORT FROM INDIA IS GAINING MOMENTUM
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