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Interview with Sandip Bhojani, Manthan Patel

Sandip Bhojani, Manthan Patel
Sandip Bhojani, Manthan Patel
CEO & Director,Co-Founder & Head- Sales & Mktg respectively
Krypthm Tradelink LLP
Krypthm Tradelink LLP

Opportunities in westernwear are tremendous

Krypthm Tradelink LLP is a Surat-based manufacturer of westernwear. Through its premium fashion brand Elegore, the company sells western clothing in the domestic and international markets. Sandip Bhojani, CEO & Director and Manthan Patel, Co-Founder & Head- Sales & Marketing, describe the ethos of their fashion brand and discuss the Indian apparel and women's westernwear markets in an interview with Fibre2Fashion.

How did your westernwear brand Elegore come about?

Apparel is one of the basic necessities along with food, water and shelter. In our present economic world of demand and supply, price and quality are the key factors, which determine the success of our business. We were inspired to create luxury apparel in the fashion industry for daily work life. We got our inspiration from nature. We wanted to be a premium fashion brand incorporated in India, and yet open for fashion-conscious consumers worldwide. Threads and needles are in our blood and we have a lot of ideas for our brand Elegore by Krypthm. The conception of Elegore began in 2016. The vision behind creating the brand was to provide customised and luxurious apparel for customers and help them stay with the trend. The creative intellectuals at Krypthm Tradelink's in-house designing unit developed this brand which caters to individuals with a hi-fashion lifestyle.

What is the market size for apparel in India? How big is the industry?

Textile is one of the largest contributors to India's growth. Various kinds of technological and non-technological changes can be seen in the sector. The industry accounts for approximately 15 per cent of total exports. The size of India's textiles market in 2016 was around $137 billion, which is expected to touch $226 billion market by 2023, growing at a CAGR of 8.7 per cent between 2009 and 2023. Women are anticipated to be the leading consumers in the western apparel market in the coming years. We feel the western apparel industry has long way to go, and there are various opportunities for Indian entrepreneurs in this segment. The apparel industry has immense opportunities in menswear, womenswear and kidswear. The Indian apparel industry just needs to tap the potential.

What percentage does westernwear claim in the above pie? At what rate is it growing?

With changing trends, westernwear in the Indian apparel market holds a 30-35 per cent share. The increase was seen from ₹78,500 crore in 2012 to ₹121,400 crore in 2017, and we believe that different categories are expected to be added in the list as it is growing at the rate of 9-9.5 per cent.

What is the global market size for this niche?

The global market size for the industry in 2014 was $1317.3 billion which jumped to $1440.4 billion with an annual growth rate of 4.6 per cent. The top three exporters of apparel include China, EU, and Bangladesh. Altogether, they accounted for 70.3 per cent of world exports. Among the top ten exporters of apparel, increases in export values were recorded by Vietnam (+10 per cent), Cambodia (+8 per cent), Bangladesh (+6 per cent) and India (+2 per cent). Looking towards the increasing demand of the apparel industry, the market size of the industry is expected to reach around $1651.6 billion.

Where do you source raw materials and accessories for westernwear?

Our raw materials are sourced mainly from reputed vendors and wholesalers in the domestic market.

Lead time management is everything when it comes to exports in RMG. How are Indian exporters faring in comparison to competitors in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam?

Consumer's choice changes rapidly with seasons and occasions. As a result apparel retailers are always under pressure to supply the desired fashion before the fashion trend is outdated. This pressure is interpreted in apparel production houses to reduce lead time. We feel people development is required to achieve the desired target or we must initiate the use of advanced technologies. There are very few Indian companies that provide machines and technology; other than that all are imported from China or Germany. Besides that, RMG can be manufactured with combined efforts in our country. Apparel trade is characterised with fast and instant responses where consumers' choice plays the front role.  Lead time, like in any other manufacturing field, is undoubtedly one of the predominant issues in outsourcing and global marketing of the apparel industry that largely depends on accomplishing an order within a certain lapsed time to meet the customers' demand properly. Bangladesh is not famous for prompt production solutions and the apparel industry is historically known to miss the time-target often. Rather, global retailers' source form Bangladesh due to better competitiveness pricewise and sustainable quality that makes it up for them even if the shipment is delayed by some days. The same goes for Vietnam and Sri Lanka. Indian exporters lead in fulfilling orders on time, but lack on the other front.

To which markets do you supply apparel?

Our brand Elegore is available through our exclusive e-store. We also have a presence in different marketplaces. We also engage in trade fairs globally.

What are the latest innovations taking place in this industry?

Different technological advancements harvested in this knowledge-based ecosystem will tend to change the apparel sector. Some of the recent ones include: 

The application helps you mimic a stranger's outfit with just a photo: First, fashion resentment is real. The awkwardness of approaching a stranger to ask from where she got that amazing floral printed charmeuse jumpsuit from is real. A tool now exists to let you extract a look with a snap from walking mannequins even though it's a real challenge to take the snap of the stranger. 

The next step in 3d printing is in knitting: The latest innovation- 3D printers-may have started as a high-tech novelty, but they're becoming increasingly powerful. These days, they can print everything from rhino horns to self-driving cars, which is why it may be surprising that one company is using similar technology for a decidedly lower-tech purpose-knitting. Kniterate is a digital knitting machine that can whip up wearable fashion at the touch of a button. 

Project "kino" is "living" jewellery that moves around your dressed body like insects: Stationary jewellery is so last season. The future of fashion is all about "living" jewellery. Maybe. The MIT-born Project Kino wasn't necessarily made for haute couture purposes and it isn't yet runway-ready, but we're picturing Naomi Campbell rocking it regardless. In June 2017, the MIT Media lab debuted Project Kino, "living" jewellery that roams around unmodified clothing like a curious insect. The kinetic wearable, which is a lemon-sized thing that resembles an origami beetle, is basically a miniaturised robot that uses magnets to navigate around your clothes.

What we will wear in the future?

Inspired by reactive animal skin, Behnaz Farahi created a moving, seemingly living piece of clothing titled 'Caress of the Gaze'. The garment consists of shifting spikes that bristle when a front-mounted camera detects the gaze of another person. The project is an artistic interpretation of an autonomic response, such as goosebumps or the raising of a threatened porcupine's quills. By showcasing such a dynamic piece, which encourages people to "rethink the relationship between our bodies and the surrounding environment."

What are the challenges facing the Indian apparel industry? How can the government help?

Power shortage: Textile mills face acute power shortage. Frequent electricity cuts and load-shedding affect the industry tremendously, leading to loss of man hours and low production in mills. According to a report, states like Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh have lower textile production than their capability. The industry in Tamil Nadu faces daily losses worth Rs300 crore due to power shortages or irregular power supply. Small and medium-scale enterprises are severely affected and are forced to use manual machines, which produce lower quality products and are costlier to maintain. This leads to longer working hours and also affects the health of workers due to prolonged use of manual machines. In addition, the continuous rise in oil prices made alternative arrangements costlier with the same consequences. Therefore, uninterrupted power supply is necessary to support the textiles and apparel industry in India which comprises several small and medium scale units. Electricity should be mainly provided to necessary industries so that wastage of time is minimised. 

Lack of education:  Many industrialists and traders postGST are afraid of conducting business. They are unaware of trade policies and practices of GST prevailing in the market. Many workers still do not have bank accounts. There are many business officials who are unaware about operating computers. People are afraid of trading internationally due to the lack of awareness about safety practices. There are many business units that have not registered in spite of having a turnover in crores. The government should start initiatives in educating business officials by conducting development programmes and organising conferences to make them aware about the situation in the market. This is important for their own development, as well as for the nation too.

What are the challenges on the global front?

Consumer choice and demographic variability: Apparel manufacturers have to produce a diverse product mix as consumers are difficult to understand and predict. Their choice is unstable and unpredictable, and there is a wide variation in their demographics and physiographics. In addition, consumer's age, household income, education level, occupation and ethnicity also affect choices.  Consumers of late are becoming more selective, multidimensional and complex due to increased awareness and the readily available information on products and designs. Consumer's choice is shifting from traditional designs towards westernwear. However, a manufacturer cannot directly transfer choices and preferences in different product styles. Consumer demand for fashionable items and frequent style changes has necessitated reduction in the design and product cycle times. 

Challenges in design and production: An apparel item such as a pair of jeans look simple compared to a vehicle, which may contain about 15,000 parts. However, the former is involved with enormous design changes in a season whereas the latter undergoes few changes even after many years. Therefore, apparel manufacturers have to handle an extraordinary amount of design changes. Traditionally, the apparel manufacturing process has been performed by production workers who perform the cutting, sewing and other operations in an assembly line. In spite of the technical advancements, the apparel industry still remains as a labour-intensive entity. One of the major global concerns in apparel production is rising labour costs. 

Stiff competition: Apparel manufacturers and retailers always state that apparel manufacturing is highly competitive. An apparel competitor sells similar clothing items to the same market segment, consumers or stores. The globalisation and post-MFA conditions have accentuated the competition. Merchandisers perform comparison shopping to analyse the price, quality and service of their competitors. 

What are the future plans at Krypthm?

The journey of Krypthm started with a team of six young and zestful entrepreneurs and now 100+ people working with the vision of Krypthm as a team for one goal. We are curious and we believe curiosity plays a key role to drive the different designs which define the Elegore style. We believe in recalling fashion by creating different intended techniques.

Which three major factors will influence the domestic apparel market in the years to come?

E-commerce: E-commerce attracts around 10 million customers online in India. With great offers on display, customers are increasingly purchasing online. 

Competition: This era is known as the era of startups. Many companies have entered the apparel market, due to which competition has increased immensely.  Companies have to maintain product quality along with variety in order to maintain brand loyalty. So, they would have to focus more on their pricing and marketing strategies to capture consumers' attention. 

Government support: There has been immense support from the government to this sector through different trade summits and trade fairs and motivating the sector. Subsidies and compensations are provided in order to push the industry. This also would boost employment rates.
Published on: 17/01/2018

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.

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