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Fabrics from Japan rule Middle East markets
Sep '08
Made in Japan fabrics are in huge demand as material for producing top-notch thobes, long robelike outfit for men in Middle Eastern countries.

Moreover, with high-end users brimming with money from oil trading, the demand for thobe, formal attire for men in the Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, is unlikely to shrink in the near future.

Earlier, thobe was usually made using locally produced cotton but with the invasion of polyester in the domestic market some 20 years ago, people have started preferring wrinkle-resistant material which has the property to dry quickly. As a consequence, there is a growing dependence on imported fabric to produce thobes.

Nearly 10 million yards of fabric, most of which undoubtedly comes from Japan is imported each month by the five countries in the region. As such, Made-in-Japan apparel has virtually become synonymous with high-end thobe.

Komatsu Seiren, a Nomi based manufacturer of this fabric, is one of the growing companies in terms of export volume. Since Middle Eastern men are known for being design conscious about their outfits, market for these fabrics will not slacken easily.

Arab men possess sophisticated tastes and have varied robes that cater to various purposes and occasions, including pilgrimages and daily outings. It is therefore not unusual for a Arab man to change his thobes five times a day.

Kaga yuzen, a traditional cloth, elegantly dyed and featuring natural motifs is widely used for making thobes. Komatsu Seiren manufactures a silken threadlike fabric which along with its sophisticated technologies allows the company to produce textiles ranging from a smooth to slightly hard finish.

Another company, Gisen, based in Mizuho, has also expanded its output by 10 to 20 percent with the factory running on its full capacity for meeting demands from the Middle East, especially after oil prices began surging.

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