Kick-starting the exhibition season for 2017, the recently held 58th edition of India International Garment Fair (IIGF), New Delhi did not throw up any surprises with similar products and buyers from the last few editions making the event so predictable. As per AEPC’s press release before the fair, IIGF was expected to give good support, especially to small- and medium-level garment exporters of the country, but most of the exhibitors claimed that they did not get much response from buyers. Some of the exporters believe that this was due to weak market sentiments, while on the other hand the buyers maintained that even this time there was nothing new in the collections displayed by the exporters to excite them enough to place orders. This is not to say that the event was unproductive and few exporters were happy with the results, but at large the response was not very enthusiastic. Apparel Online talked to many participant exporters and buyers to get the feel of the fair, their collections and strategy to get a better share in presenting the market scenario.
India’s biggest sourcing event, with almost 1,081 buyers from 94 countries across the globe visiting, had more than 300 apparel exporters display their latest collections. Most of the exporters get satisfied nowadays from such sourcing fairs even if they are just able to meet their regular/old buyers as they have accepted that the present market conditions are one of the main reasons that make it difficult to get any new buyer. “We do not have high hopes from the fair and will be happy even if our old buyers visit us. We are not expecting much footfall as market is overall slow from last three years,” shared M K Maheshwari and Sumit Kabra, Partners of Sarc Original of Jaipur, on the first day of the fair. The company is purely into tie & dye work on cotton-and rayon-based garments. Beachwear in low price range (US $ 3 to US $ 6) is a major product category for the company so it is not much impacted by market sentiments. Having production capacity of 4,000 pieces per day, the company has buyers across the world. Offering variety of accessories Vijay International, Mumbai was also of the same opinion, as despite many trips to Europe, Vijay Sadh, Owner of the company is not getting any enthusiastic feedback from buyers in the region.
IIGF also witnessed some big exporters which have not been participating in this event from the last many years, like Genus Apparels, Pasupati Spinning & Weaving Mills, The Rajlakshmi Cotton Mills, Spectra Fashions etc.
“We have enhanced our capacity and are looking for new buyers,” commented Sanjay Sethia, MD, Spectra Fashions
But for those exporters having a positive outlook and seeking new buyers, the attitude was very different and many of them had prepared specific collections for the event with many developments, like Impex V of Delhi which highlighted embroidery and stripes in interesting ways. Saurav Roy, Merchandiser of the company informed, “We have some enquiries which should convert into orders but we were expecting much more.” The company is looking forward to strengthen its compliance and is in process to get ISO certification. Abhishek Samdaria of NRS Exports, Delhi was also not happy with the buyers’ footfall. “We need more and new buyers; also the focus should be on the numerous eCommerce-based apparel sellers that are spread across,” he said. The company is working on ‘Just in Time concept’ to serve its clients better.
Most of the companies that participated for the first time at IIGF seemed satisfied as there is no other platform in India to meet the overseas buyers. One such company, Krypthm Tradelink Llp, Surat was happy with the fair. “Exhibition is very nice, this is our first time and I must appreciate the efforts of organizers. We met many buyers and it is a great experience,” said Sandip Bhojani of the company, manufacturing fabric as well as a variety of garments, including nylon jeggings against the polyester jeggings which is very common. Some of the exporters have opted for changes in their product development, that too in areas which they were not using earlier for cost-effectiveness. Sedex and ISO 9001: 2008 certified Anisa Overseas, Noida is one of them. “Low-end customers are sustaining in the market, so we have modified our products accordingly and squeezed pricing. Like kaftans which were earlier done in man-made fabric with printing, now we tried to do in handloom, and used mix of both machine and handwork for value addition, which saved cost also. At the same time we are working on margins of as less as 5 per cent to match the given price,” said Nobinoor Islam, CEO of the company, offering products from US $ 1.5 to US $ 10. The company having capacity of 70,000 pieces per month is expecting 10 per cent growth this year.
Textiles Ministry has received Rs. 500 crore from Finance Ministry for the rebate of state levies (ROSL) scheme to reimburse exporters for state levies, said Rashmi Verma, Textiles Secretary, during the inauguration of IIGF. Though the total amount under this scheme is Rs. 1,200 crore but industry is happy that at least some beginning has been made. She confirmed that these reimbursements will start very soon.
IIGF, a fair mainly for small- and medium-level exporters, witnessed some new firms in the apparel industry and they are geared up for export orders despite all the market challenges. There were more than six such emerging apparel exporters, and their focus on ‘niche’ products is one of the biggest growth drivers. Yogue Activewear, Noida added fashion element to a normal ‘boring’ sports clothing. Apart from having its own brand and making for overseas labels, the company is also exporting to the US and European markets. Tushar Sharma, an IIT Delhi pass out and CEO of the company who initiated this business two years ago, is happy till now with the performance of the company and geared up for further opportunities.
Every edition of IIGF sees some participation from remote areas too and these factories are doing their best and getting good business too. Lall Ji Knitwears, having office in Dalhousie and factory in Goli, district Chamba (Himachal Pradesh) participated for first time at the event. Gaurav Khanna, Manager – Production of the company informed, “We have benefit of labour availability and low minimum wage/salary otherwise there is no other benefit of working from remote area.” The company got good response at the IIGF as it had different products (ladieswear for winter season) from most other participants.
From a buyers’ perspective, most of them came looking for regular suppliers, but even some new ones enjoyed the experience. “I am supplying mainly to European customers and visiting the fair for the first time. Overall my experience is okay and will see how the things work out. Our market is decreasing as there are many challenges,” informed Herve Pidou, Redsoul of France. A regular buyer, Christine E. Rai, Founder, Indian Inc, Delhi, working primarily with US and has some business with Australia, was disappointed. “IIGF is lacking the zing compared to my expectations; the overall event is very uninspiring as India is doing a lot more products than what has been displayed here. It needs a relook, exporters should rework their products and display them more creatively. Newness should reflect in every process. It should inspire buyers to buy from India. More trends can be displayed here,” said a critical Rai. The company deals in apparels as well as home products.