Completing 5 years of its journey, Vastra 2016, a Jaipur-based international textile and apparel sourcing fair, organized by RIICO and FICCI, once again disappointed most of its exhibitors – apparel exporters of Jaipur and some from across India. Sources shared with Apparel Online that since funds were not approved, organizers did not offer air tickets to the overseas buyers, which was one of the biggest reasons that this time less foreign buyers were seen at the event due to which exhibitors reacted very negatively. Even the AO Team did not meet any buyers from abroad except a few regular visitors for whom India is like a ‘second home’!
The discontentment was so high that some of the exhibitors said on record that they would not have ‘wasted’ their four days (even after payment for booth) had they got to know about ‘non offering’ of tickets. Even the fair guide claimed that only 56 buyers would visit the show. It was like a setback for exporters who are already facing slow market, they did not only lose expected business, but even their investment in the booth and time was also lost. The only satisfaction and that too for only few, was visitation from some Indian buying houses.
As soon as one entered the fair, two vacant booths at prominent places – one in front and the other on the right, created doubt in the minds of visitors. Though the fair was for textile and apparel sourcing, but there were booths of machines, technology and accessory suppliers too. ‘Disappointment’ was writ large on most exhibitors’ faces as Varanasi-based Vakil Ahmad, Director of Silk Fashion Creator shared, “the fair is totally ‘flop’ and there is no further reason to participate again in it. I have seen only 7-8 buyers roaming around the show, and none of them is new. We are really sad as it proved total wastage of resources. Not even the expenditure of this participation could be recovered as not even a single buyer visited our booth even though we have done enough product development to attract buyers. Hand print on scarves was our interesting and different offering.”
Some retail sale, at least!
The 4-day long Vastra was open for general public on the last day. Some of the exporters used this opportunity to clear their stock, or dispose of the rejected pieces, while few decided to escape the show.
Desh Deepak of Sadh Sons, Delhi too was highly disappointed, he added, “Not only the buyers, but even the participants are fewer as some local exporters got to know early that exhibition is not going to be successful and pulled out at the last moment. Only one overseas buyer came to our booth and even she was not very keen in discussing business.” The company offered a variety of colours in its beachwear and scarves.
Ashish Ahuja, Director of Ahuja Overseas, Jaipur further added that marketing of show is not proper and sufficient. We are doubtful that next year this event will take place or not. Adding strength to his words, Ashok and Gurudut, Partners of Gurudut Fashion, Pushkar commented, “Isn’t it surprising that some of our buyers, who visited the fair last year, were neither informed about the fair, nor invited. They should share all details in advance; we would never have participated if we had known about the true state of affairs earlier. There were no buyers at all.” The company has been participating at the Vastra from its first edition and is constantly working to change the fabric in its products; currently it is using poly-silk. “We are trying to develop new prints on viscose and crepe as business is currently very low, hopefully it will help us,” Ashok added.
On the other hand, there were some exhibitors who disagreed that the fair was a total failure as they could meet their expected targets. Arjun Singh Shekhawat, Director, Rainbow Texfab, Jaipur was one of them. He received few enquiries from buyers of Uruguay, Australia as well as from some Indian buying houses and is expecting orders from them. The company had focused on embroidery in its products. Manoj Meena, Proprietor of Mahima Fashion, Jaipur said that though slow market was also one of the reasons for the weak fair he was still able to get few buyers. “We met 4-5 buyers and are expecting to finalize orders from two buyers – wholesalers from Canada and Australia,” he shared.
Paramount Chikan Export, Lucknow too gave mixed opinion, sharing his experience Faiz S, Director of the company concluded, “Last year we got very good response, so we were very enthusiastic to come again. We participated in the fashion show also, but this time we are not happy with overall response. One or two serious buyers that did visit us were basically because we had very different products from others.”
Paramount experimented with chikan work on rayon modal, viscose modal and crepe this time as generally this type of value addition is used more on cotton-based garments. It also focused on dark coloured collection for winter season.