GenNext is slowly but surely adapting to global trends and practices
As the Indian textiles and apparel industry gears up to take on the world, it will be up to the next generation, GenNext for short, to lead India into the 2020s. Subir Ghosh spoke to seven dynamic personalities who have remained in the news for the cutting-edge initiatives they have been taking, bringing about a change in the way business itself is done.
I strongly believe the newer generation of India's fashion / apparel industry has changed the industry narrative in many ways. For instance, we have embraced the online business model in a much wholehearted way from the start. Rather than blindly copying global designs or practices in the trade, there are several measures that we have taken to establish the "India story" when it comes to apparel and fashion. For example, rather than adopt Western messaging, colours, designs, Campus Sutra apparel and accessories are created against the backdrop of India.
Yes, there has been a change in the way business has been done. Companies are investing in new technologies and focusing more on the circular economy where the focus is on minimising waste such as sludge and chemically-polluted waters and making the most of resources. India's GenNext has entirely a new level of ambition which is also the case on a global level. The GenNext industry players are preparing themselves for 'self-disruption' to build a 'circular fashion industry' globally.
GenNext is well-travelled and well-read. Hence, it is slowly but surely adapting to global trends and practices. The barrier to change has been broken down and all are thinking of how to change. However, I don't see Indian brands ready for expanding in any significant way across the borders unless they buy out global brands. We are currently focusing domestically and doing more of private labelling in international markets. I don't see this strategy changing in the next 2-3 years-we have a lot of ground to cover domestically.
The next generation has changed the way the industry does business. One only has to look at the way Kulin and Punit Lalbhai are spearheading their generations-old textiles business at Arvind Ltd into newer areas such as technical textiles, e-commerce, etc. In Telangana, we have Gautam Ganeriwal of Sitaram Spinners, a third generation textile industrialist, who is spearheading a ?200 crore expansion in setting up an ultra-modern spinning unit which will make them one of the largest manufacturers of core spun spandex yarn in India. Even in smaller companies, the next generation is confidently looking to try out newer technologies and processes in expanding the existing business set up by their parents / grandparents.
If you look at even the smaller players in the traditional or old or even small markets, like say Chickpet in Bangalore or a town like Ranchi, GenNext has changed the way of doing business. Their adoption of new thought processes is the biggest change I see. Secondly, prices and values are very important aspects in India. So, Indians will find a way of doing things (as fashion requires). From that perspective, there is this new generation who travel a lot and see for themselves what is new and what is not.
The GenNext that is already established and even the new ones are changing how business in the Indian textiles industry is done. The primary reason is the great platform created for them by their predecessors. This allows them more freedom to take pragmatic and decisive decisions. Another reason is the greater connectivity of the world because of the internet, a feature not available for a long time for the older generations. They are soaking up information from across the world like sponges and are much better informed about their industry. This generation is the most prepared to take up global challenges and surpass every expectation.
The new generation or so called "GenNext" has been using retro / old school methods combined with the new age technology and thought process to their own advantages in the textiles-apparel industry. Our generation has been witnessing various design tools wherein the final product outcome is visual even before the product is manufactured courtesy the software and applications. However, the most important concern today is sustaining water. Our generation needs to be aware of how much water is consumed in textile manufacturing / printing or finishing.
Published on: 27/08/2019
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.