What does a thin strip of fabric have to offer to the billion dollar apparel market?

Fabrics that are not more than 45 cm in width, having two selvedges (uncut edges on both the sides) can be termed as Narrow Fabrics. Trims, lace, cording, and ribbon are a few to name. These fabrics are used to connect different components of apparels.

Materials such as cotton, satin, velvet, nylon, beads and fiber glass are used for making narrow fabrics. Durable, stretchable, rot, abrasion and heat resistant, these fabrics have wide spread applications. From the mouth watering Swiss chocolate box wrappings to artistic costume embellishments and heavy harnesses, narrow fabrics see wide applications. They are also used as clothing labels, sports paraphernalia, luggage straps, machine belts, and seatbelts in cars.

Types of Narrow Fabrics:

Labels: Labels are generally used to identify a product. Small pieces of cloth are attached to identify its owner, country, usage, maintenance etc. PVC rubber labels are used on handbags and apparels, and leather labels are used in jackets.

Reflective tapes: They are used in creating logos used in apparels, handbags, and footwear.

Braids: They are rope like structures with a diagonally overlapping pattern. Braids are made by interweaving three or more strands. They are used in consumer fabrics.

Elastics: They are generally used in making gloves, bra straps, silicon bras, suspenders, waist bands etc. Much of its application is in making sportswear, socks, lingerie, and swimwear.

Industry Applications of Narrow Fabrics:

Narrow fabrics see widespread industry applications. In the garment industry, they are used for making collars, leashes, backpacks, golf cart bag holders, shoe laces, and many more. In the medical field, they are used for making non-elastic straps. Marine industry uses narrow fabrics for making boat tops, curtains, and cushions. These fabrics see applications in making carrier racks and child restraints in automobile sector.

Elastic narrow fabrics:

Elastic narrow fabrics are made from elastomeric yarn, and other type of yarns spun from polyester, nylon, and cotton. Around 3000 varieties of elastic fabrics are manufactured, mainly falling under two categories; woven and knitted. These fabrics allow strechability, durability, soft feel, and have shrink resistance. They are available as tapes of 25, 32, and 38 mm. Primarily used in the making of intimate apparels they are manufactured with or without logos as per the customer requirements. Elastic narrow fabrics have much application in the intimate wear industry. Apart from that, narrow fabrics are also used in the making of skirts, jackets, shorts, baby diapers, sport goods, medical goods and many more.

An IMaCS Analysis reveals that elastic narrow fabrics have lucrative market in India. Market size is estimated to be 830 million meters and is valued to be `365 crore. Demand for tapes is predicted to grow by 6% per annum to reach 1,110 million meters by 2012-13. Intimate garments consume 80-85% of elastic narrow fabrics manufactured. With a profitable market projection for inner garments, there is also a good scope for elastic narrow fabrics.

Growing Market for Narrow fabrics:

Today, the market for narrow fabrics has gone through a tremendous change. Earlier, chains were used as safety belts. This is now replaced with safety belts. Containers which were earlier fixed with chains are being replaced with belts currently. Narrow fabrics are seen in every kind; snow drifts, barriers, and many more. During the last decade, narrow fabrics industry has experienced an enormous upswing. Though there are no real target groups, application of narrow fabric is focused across the whole of the textile industry. Narrow fabrics are easy to handle, and uncomplicated to mount. Luggages are no longer protected with tarpaulins, but with nets. Leather loops used in ski poles in the past has been replaced with ribbons made from narrow fabrics. Radical changes in the textile sector have fueled the narrow fabric industry to become more successful.

Manufactured in compliance with the industry standards, narrow fabrics are sought after for its unique features such as attractive color combinations, durability, heat and abrasion resistance, and performance. Narrow fabrics have good market demand in India due to its cost effectiveness, and availability in a range of patterns, designs, and colors.

Indian textile sector is experiencing a drastic growth supplemented with aspirations, and innovations. Customer preferences keep changing all the time. Innovations will help in the future growth of the industry. Indian garment industry has been thriving for ages, and narrow fabrics see commercial textile applications in the textile sector.


1)     Nonwovenbagmachines.com

2)     Textileworld.com