Activewear is going to be the new trend
Neva India is a leading name in thermalwear, innerwear, activewear, sweaters, jackets and lingerie. In an interview with Fibre2Fashion.com, TR Sharma, CEO of Neva India shares market insights into the garment industry.
How is fashion retail evolving in India? How do you see it grow in the next two years?
Being an emerging economy and supported by demography of more than 65 per cent young working population, India is growing by leaps and bounds. And with such a young population, it is but obvious that new aspirations and openness in the lifestyle seeps in to all strata of the society. No wonder fashion retail is evolving, and trying its best to address the demand of rapid changes.
Fashion retail has come of age in India from need-based, occasional and festival buying to aspirational and value-conscious buying. This alone is one of the biggest elements in the lifestyle choices, and thus truly has impacted the way fashion retail has grown in India.
What is the type of support that the garment industry receives from the Indian government?
With a stable, popular government at the Centre and an urge to make India a manufacturing and investment hub of the world, the government has managed to push the 'happy button' in Indian industry. There are many schemes and fund allocations, which mark the fact that the government is keen on giving due importance to different sectors of the garment industry in the present 'Make in India' campaign. Along with this, integrated skill development schemes have helped the industry gain a plethora of labour without investing much in training.
What new demands would the industry want to further accelerate the growth of business in the country?
Although 'Make in India' sends a positive vibe across the industry, bottlenecks in supply chain and bureaucratic hurdles dampen the energy of the garment industry. A speedy system should be brought in the management of supply chain, and intricacies of legal issues and customs should be made simpler to bring down the turn-around cycle of profit in the garment industry.
Which are the five steps, if taken, by private enterprises could accelerate the growth of this industry?
There are so many ways in which we can improve and accelerate the growth of the apparel industry.
Category freshness: No matter how tough the market is or how many players are vying to make a mark, it always pays to be a category leader. Although everybody aspires for the big picture, only a handful of companies succeed. The prime reason for that is the reluctance or inability to work on freshness quotient of the product category. And that’s where private enterprises should step in, to bring freshness in the existing product lines.
Be glocal (global+local): With the increase in global exposure, customers have become more demanding and conscious in their buying behaviour. To address this, the apparel industry has to be more matured, and needs to bring global benchmarking and standard procedures while making it suitable for local needs.
Carry the baby before you deliver: The apparel industry is a long-term business. Thinking about short-term goals is good, but it would be better if we focus on our vision and mission. The turn-around cycle of profit or breaking even is followed by a long gestation period. Thus, you have to make sure to build the strength, i.e. production capacity to carry the load of expectations (market demand) before you go anddeliver your final output.
Have the competitive edge: Any industry goes through boom and bust, but only those survive who have maintained their competitive edge. The apparel industry players, by their intrinsic nature, are very competitive and eat into each other’s market share. Therefore, I think what drives the apparel industry is not just the margin or lucrative profits, but the competitive edge – the edge to stay ahead of curves and changing scenario.
Where and how to invest: Changing technology and proliferation of private labels has made profit-making a game of staying above the water. The need of the hour is to move quickly and think ahead. Adapting to international fashion statement could be one step and investing in e-commerce category or bringing unique customer experience could be another. All in all, timing and approach is of utmost importance.