India to showcase apparels

NEW DELHI, MARCH 3. In a first ever endeavour of its kind, a select group of fabric manufacturers and fashion designers have come together to showcase to the world that India has the capability to produce quality designer-wear across the entire value chain, beginning right from the stage of the fibre and up to the stage of the ready-for-shipping finished product.

The products of the exercise, promoted by the National Institute of Fashion Technology, under the aegis of the Union Textiles Ministry, are set to be showcased at a mega event being organised at the Pragati Maidan here from March 29 to 31. The three-day programme would feature 165 collections covering nine apparel categories, including men and women's sportswear, ready-to-wear, denim wear and corporate wear.

Speaking to The Hindu, the Union Textiles Secretary, S. B. Mohapatra, said the main aim of the project was to bring about a synergy among various players in the entire value chain of the Indian textile industry so that there was optimum utilisation of the capabilities of the various segments of the industry and at the same time showcase to the world that it was possible.

At present, in the absence of such a synergy, while the fabric manufactures did not know what kind of fabric the designers were looking for, many designers did not know that the type of fabric they wanted for their product could be produced in India itself and often they resorted to importing them.

A major goal of the exercise is to promote India as the ultimate source for all international players, especially for designer-wear. At present, India's designer-wear industry accounted for only Rs. 180 crores, an insignificant amount compared to the total global fashion business of $40 billion. But, a recent study by the consultancy firm, KPMG, has shown that India has the capability to increase its share more than five folds to Rs. 1,000 crores in the next ten years.

Wal-mart Stores, which is the world's biggest retail chain, with 3,200 retail outlets in the U.S. and another 1,100 units worldwide and with an annual sales of about $246 billion, at present outsources $0.7 billion worth of textiles and apparel from India and has recently expressed it keenness to increase it to $5 billion in the next five years.

The Director General of NIFT, Gauri Kumar, said the three-day programme was also being formally supported by the International Foundation of Fashion Technology Institutes, a council of 26 top-notch fashion schools from across the world, including De Monfort University, U.K., Bunka Women's university, Japan, FIT, New York, Polimoda, Italy, and RMIT, Australia.