Ongoing innovations and unearthing new end uses of denim is what is keeping denim alive for years. With Italy and Turkey becoming very expensive and exclusive, concentration of denim fabric manufacturing is now in Asian countries primarily the Indian sub-continent as both China and Japan are focusing on the premium segment of the world market. India with 27 denim manufacturing companies is producing 1 billion metres/annum and the capacities are being added continually across the country. The recently held Indigo, a small fair, saw three denim fabric companies showcasing their latest developments in denim namely Modern Denim, Nandan Denim and Kassim Textiles from Pakistan. Besides, fabric there were a few dyes and chemical companies like Archroma and DyStar along with a sole technology provider Lectra and button manufacturer Preet Buttons who were directly addressing the denim industry…
To be ahead of their completion both in the domestic and global market, most denim companies areworking closely with fibre, machinery and dyestuff makers on exclusive basis to add value to products which could sell at a premium. The companies are investing in research and development for value addition like stretch denim, coating, fluorescent neps, knitted, two faced denim, printed denim and jacquard denim.
At the Indigo, Ahmedabad based Modern Denim as always came up with some new concepts in denim, showcasing developments such as facer fabric – in which there are two colours on same fabric. Besides this it also exhibited its coated and laminated denim along with knitted denim. Kiran Panchal, President (Marketing) shared, “In shirting we have number of varieties; very high value fabrics using compact yarns. We have also come up with embroidered denim which is now picking up as trend in the international market.”
The other attraction at Modern Denim’s booth was its home textile products. The company has partnered with Amber Home, a Mumbai based home furnishing made-ups company, to convert its denim fabric into denim made-ups such as bed linen, table linen (some with tie&dye, some with patchwork) and kitchen linen for both international and domestic markets. “For this we have a wider width looms; we already are into home textiles through terry towels. In fact, Modern Terry Towels was the first company in Asia which was fully vertically integrated,” informed Panchal.
Producing 30 million metres per annum of denim fabric, Modern Denim have also tied up with Ahmedabad based company Globe Textiles to produce 2000 denim bottoms per day. “The best part is that Globe Textiles has its own washing plant and has partnered with us for their exports and brands business. They don’t have fabric manufacturing and we don’t have garment manufacturing so we complement each other. With a mill culture approach you can match garmenting, it’s difficult,” stated Panchal who strongly feels that India has a very bright future in denim manufacturing and the industry just needs to discover more and more end uses of denim.
Producing 84 million metres per annum and claiming to produce more than 2,000 different types of denim fabric varieties ranging between 6 to 14 ounces, Nandan Denim (Chiripal Group), Ahmedabad showcased its power stretch, smooth finishes, clean look and double yarn quality denim. Nandan is on its way to becoming the biggest denim fabric producer in India and hopes to reach 112 million metres per annum by 2015; the company is investing Rs. 1,200 crore in the expansion. “We have tied up with various international brands to ensure that our new capacity is fully utilized. In the next few years, we hope to reduce reliance on the domestic market and concentrate more on the export markets. This in turn will take the market share for exports to 30-35% with the rest accounted for by the Indian market,” shared D K Jain, Director of the company.
Participating for the first time at Indigo, Pakistan based Kassim Textiles showcased its high-end denim developments both for bottoms and tops. Kassim which earlier just focused on bottom fabrics is now equally giving importance to denim top wear fabrics. The company is doing a lot of cotton polyester to high-end fabric blends like tencel and modal; with both high density and stretch. The company has also come up with a lot of innovations in finishes like coating, over dyeing and printing. While interacting with team Apparel Online, Imtiaz Ishaque, General Manager – Sales & Marketing stated, “The feedback which we have got from the US and the European market is that India is missing the premium line, so we thought we could showcase our premium collection here. We feel that in future, India and China are going to be quite big markets for us, and while we have succeeded in the Chinese market to some extent, the focus now is to penetrate deeper into the Indian market, which we are already servicing as nominated suppliers of G-star.”
Kassim’s premium range starts from US $ 4.50 to 5.50 per yard and 85-90% produce of the company is being exported while the rest is deemed export, so local usage is nil. “Because of high duty, we are unable to sell in the Indian market. If the duty is reduced by 50%, from the current 30% to around 15%, then we shall have very bright prospects in the Indian market,” said Imtiaz according to whom Pakistan has around 17 major players in denim. Many of the mills are expanding their capacities and a majority of them are vertically integrated from fibre to garments with a few from yarns to garments. “As Turkey is getting expensive, the business is coming to Pakistan as Pakistan used to work with Turkish People so the technical knowhow of the fabric has been derived from Turkey,” adds Imtiaz who was happy to get an enquiry from a visitor from Columbia. “We do regular business with the country, I am surprised to find Columbian customer in India; this buyer took interest in our product and he deals in premium range,” shared Imtiaz.
Preet Buttons launches eco-friendly products
Being the only accessory supplier, Preet Buttons & Fasteners Industries attracted much attention with its recently launched range of environment friendly denim accessories. Preet Buttons, recognizing the need of environmentally sustainable trims, setup its own indigenous R&D to develop new finishes that are trending in the market, since they are currently being imported by the Indian exporters in order to meet compliances.
Playing an important role in the compliance of products, as per several product safety acts and regulations, such accessories are in great demand. “We have developed new finishes that are nickel free, chromium free, phosphorus free and lead free for our exporters manufacturing for European buyers. We are also nominated by a few buyers. In the domestic market we supply for brands like John Players, Mufti, Spykar,” said Manpreet Singh, Director, Preet Buttons & Fasteners Industries. With a two decade history of servicing the apparel industry, the company based in Delhi now has a nationwide presence as an accessories supplier and has been a favourite amongst its customers due to its unparalleled and quality customized solutions.
Lectra strengthens its foothold in India
Lectra, a world leader in integrated technology solutions, which has always been a forerunner in innovation activities and participating on global platforms, made a strong presence at the third edition of Indigo held recently in Noida. The company exhibited its latest technologies and conducted a seminar on the advancements of technologies relating to denim.
Hari Kenkare, Lectra’s Marketing Coordinator in his interaction with the Team AO talked about the company’s stand in the Indian market sharing that Lectra has strengthened its operational foothold in India in the last two years; going from being managed by an agent to being directly present in the country. “We are a young subsidiary compared to the global level and are still developing. Historically business in India is more manufacturing based while Lectra offers solutions ranging from design, pattern making, 3D, PLM and manufacturing. But that area is now evolving and developing,” said Kenkare. Initially, when Lectra started operations in India, it followed a dual model, having an office in Bangalore as well as an agent handling services.
The company is positive about its future in India as it believes that not only manufacturing technologies but Design and 3D technologies are finally catching up. Despite having a great potential, the country’s investment in technology has not evolved to an extent Lectra had expected. This, Kenkare believes, is due to the lack of ample exposure to the international market.
Most of the denim companies are working closely with fibre, machinery and dyestuff makers on exclusive basis to add value to products, which could sell at a premium. The companies are investing heavily in R&D
As a part of its marketing strategy, Lectra promotes its software such as CAD and CAM through the education system of the country. This is what they call ‘teaching the teachers’ and is a way of providing training to the next generation of industry leaders. The workshop conducted by Kenkare on the first day of the expo, was also aimed at enlightening the students of various institutes like IIFT, IAM and TIT&S, about the various advancements in technology relating to the denim industry. The areas on which he focused were Fabric, Figure, Fit, Finish and Finance – or the five F’s as he called it. “When this the idea of workshop came in; I thought of how the denim industry is organized and what are the key entities which affect the business that would benefit from the infusion of technology,” said Kenkare explaining the genesis of the five F’s. The workshop was industry-centric focusing not only on the products and services Lectra is offering but on the denim industry as a whole. The presentation included some interesting new technologies like catalytic clothing, spot free denim, moisturizing denim, etc.
Lectra covers the complete process of designing, PLM and the cutting room. None of its competitors cover this entire spectrum. Therefore, while they may face competition in individual areas from other solution providers like Gerber, TukaTech and Optitex in the CAD department, Lectra finds its edge in the fact that it provides an end-to-end solution for everything from design to cutting room. A lot of the features are compatible with each other and are synchronized effectively because of the same.