Value Addition on Apparel Fabrics

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Suvin Advisors Pvt. Ltd., MD & CEO Mr. Avinash Mayekar

Fashion is for “change” and it changes rapidly every now & then… Nowadays, fashion is not just limited to a country or a community, it is much beyond that. There are seasons for fashion. The well awaited Fashion shows are happening in every town across all the major fashion hubs. The design collections are born or generated by the icons at these shows and these designs become trendsetters across globe for the entire season. The designs are transferred to various manufacturing hubs overnight and fashionable clothes are seen in market within short time. Such is the global fashion scenario today.

When it comes to fashion trends at domestic level the fashion is changing rapidly, a particular fashion catches the eye of the users and the trend just flows in. In India, recently one such case of the cold shoulder is being seen. It started with cold shoulder tees & tops. But today you are seeing this cold shoulder concept in all types of garments from western dresses to Indian traditional kurtis, to saree-blouses and even in the formal shirts. Similarly in case of bottom wears torn jeans fashion is circulating. Torn jeans are seen in all sizes & shapes. There is no limitation to the extent of torn on denim, on a lighter mode these jeans if were seen by 18th era people they would tag them garments of beggars. As back then only beggars used to wear thrown away ripped clothes.  Such is the fashion evolving & revolving today across each & every category of fabric be it apparels or home textiles.

A lot of innovations today are seen from the greener prospective. Fashion has started evolving beyond the aesthetic appearance. It’s now considering the impact that apparels are creating on environment. Fashion is now focusing on conserving the natural resources that are available & is strongly saying ‘NO’ to synthetic or “against the environment materials”. ‘Fashion with Care’ is the new branding today. A certain class of people now prefers organic labeled apparels. The garment made from natural fiber is the new sensible fashion that is happening. This care for mother earth by fashion industry is not only seen in the form of pictures & slogans of saving environment printed or embossed on apparels but it is seen in the choice of apparel itself. Apparels in which everything from fibre to finished product & the processes involved are all greener & eco-friendly. This trend is an indication that the generations today are expressing care & concern so it might be seen in near future that the excessive use of dyes & chemicals might be reduced in textile. In India however there are decades for this revolution to take place but if this Fashion soon becomes the trendsetter then it will be spread like fire & reach to all corners of world be it rural or urban region.

All said & done the apparel prices are almost constant & steady at the international level & the retailers are pressurizing the supplier to reduce the prices and asking for higher demands as far as the quality, environment norms, and infrastructure & fire safety rules. So on one hand a manufacturer has to invest to meet these high demands & on the other side he has to reduce the prices or keep them steady. This major issue on manufacturer’s side can now be resolved with the help of fashion as anything & everything even the fabric faults like “slubs and neps” can be branded as fashion today. The quality aspect can fade away as the deterioration or limitations of technology can be highlighted as fashion.

As the resources today are not cost effective, value addition is the only answer. In India this value addition is been missing for years. Predominately, we have been yarn supplier for entire world holding number 2 position in this category. However, as far as fabric or apparels are concerned we are at a distant position with single digit share in the global market. We are yet to understand the concept of value addition & supplying final apparels to buyers from entire globe in order to reap higher margins. In Indian context, I would like to say value addition in terms of fibre to yarn is almost 50% in case of yarn to fabric it is just 25 -30%. Fabric to process fabric it is another 50% & from process fabric to garment it is almost 30 – 50% & finally at retailer stage it’s in multi-folds. This shows the percentage increase that value addition brings.

In India textile entrepreneurs who are for years are only into spinning business need to expand their activities into more value added products. This change at present is happening with negligible pace. Very few entrepreneurs are coming up with their own units with value addition.  The value addition is however still missing at a country level, there is a grey or weak area as far as good quality of weaving & finishing processes are concerned. In case of garmenting people are importing fabric and then converting it as they find it more appropriate or cheaper in putting up only conversion line as against having their own in-house integrated plant.

The Textile scenario in India is not completely understandable as we are majorly supplying yarn which is highest capital intensive & has lowest profitability. Whereas when it comes to garmenting or apparels it is the highest profitable industry with lowest capital investment. So we need to understand this business tactics & adopt the strategy of our neighbouring country China who has few decades back, completely stopped their yarn exports & started exporting only the finished garments to the world.

Conclusion:

In India we are blessed with abundance of raw materials for textile products. We are almost independent as far as raw materials are concerned. We have abundant cotton cultivation, viscose & polyester fibre and yarn, all other fibres which are in demand including PET recycled fibers. We need to convert them into complete value addition chain to produce finished goods. We are having all capabilities to our advantage like good textile culture, highly skilled workforce & knowledge base. With such advantages at our side I feel we must channel our strength for the growth of textiles & focus on innovations than being just followers. So, to create innovations we must lay good foundation & generate qualitative textile institutes, fashion designing courses, skill development programs that will ultimately develop innovative leaders in textiles. Our focus on value added finished products will only help us achieve the dream of becoming global leaders in textiles & apparels.

Taking a clue from fashion, it may happen that the entire mankind may think of not using any dyes and chemicals and we will brand ourselves as “eco-friendly products – say no to dyes and chemicals”

Let us build up a new image of India as an innovative and committed country…

Let us carve out…A better tomorrow!!!