How do you see the knitwear and hosiery sector faring currently in India and abroad? What challenges do players of your kind come across on your path to better growth?
By and large we as a growing knitwear manufacturer have been going through lot of business uncertainty over the past 2 years or so. There has been growing competition amongst Indian manufacturers to vie on the lucrative export segment. We as a part of the knitwear segment are facing an array of concerns regarding price uncertainty, labour issues, pollution problems and the competition from Bangladesh, Vietnam and other countries which are much more cost effective than India.
The US market is bouncing back slowly and the demand from countries such as Mexico, Brazil, and other South American nations are growing. These are the markets we have to capture in order for Indian manufacturers to stay in competition. The rising costs, currency fluctuation are all adding to the woes of the manufacturer. But the silver lining in all of these is that we are not going to lose our business. Indian manufacturers are much more conscious and have socially complied factories than in the previous era. Ethical trade practises are being followed and buyers are willing to come back for quality garments. Of course the European downturn has had a big impact in the global supply chain which in turn has affected the small manufacturer. Volumes and orders have also come down.
Another occasion for us to capture is the growing Indian middle class and the opportunity they provide for us. The domestic market is growing and there are plenty of chances for us to shine in this segment. There are ranges of segments which we are yet to conquer. Segments such as Maternity clothing are not been tapped to the true potential. Indian clothing is mainly influenced from the west. So we have to try and replicate such products in India .The government should help in creating a favourable climate for small manufacturers to present themselves. The opening up of the garment imports from Bangladesh last year was a devastating blow. When there are people willing to supply garments in your own country why are we going to import the same? Our cotton goes there as yarn and it comes back as a garment. Is this what we call cost reduction?
The Indian textile market is mostly cotton dependent. We have to look for other fibres. We are still importing other fibre fabric from china or Taiwan. Opportunities are plenty but the only hassle is - “is it worth taking the risk?” Natural fibres such as flax, Hemp, Bamboo etc. provide excellent opportunities. Brands have to come up with innovative concepts to lure the Indian consumer. As a small manufacturer we have been going through hard time. We have to keep our cost low in order to compete in the international market. India’s share in the international market has come down in terms of volume.
Proper support from the government, global economic situation, rising costs are the key challenges we as an exporter face. No doubt India will bounce back but the question is when.
Published on: 29/06/2012
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.