IMPRESSIONS from a Cross-section

Akash Khetan
Akash Khetan
Executive Director
Narayan Tex Fab

I find it hard to find professionals in Surat


Tell us your growth story. How do you deal with maintaining sustainability norms? What is the kind of research that comes from your stable? What does Surat need to do to be a global textile player?

The company was started by my father in 1994 in Surat. We began with trading fabrics and now specialize in polyester fabrics for womenswear. We used to manufacture saris till 2006 and we now cater into seven segments like fabrics for ethnicwear and Indo-western garments made of polyester for womenswear with a production of 4.2 crore metres in a year. 

The Indian market still demands ethnicwear, but since we are also into exports we are now thinking of foraying into westernwear, I am planning to tie up with companies that manufacture polyester and have also connected with some of the companies. We had a growth rate of 30 per cent in the last two years and desire to tie up with companies from different countries that manufacture polyester. We are also working towards incorporating features like breathability and porosity into polyester. Polyester is in demand due its price benefits as the pure fabric costs more. It is very much accepted by the market as it ranges from `30 and goes to `150 and is within the budget of the mass segment. So, they want a garment that resembles and feels like the pure one. 

The coal and fuel that we use in our factories is pollution-free, as we need to take care of GMDC norms. We also have to follow norms of the Pollution Control Board. Although Pandesara in Surat- our new plant is an industrial zone, there are residential properties too. We ensure that only white smoke goes out of the factory. We show the buyers that we are following all norms to reduce our carbon footprint. We are an ISO-certified company. Bureau Veritas also ensures that we follow all precautionary measures which take care of the environment and society.

We source domestically, mostly from Surat. Reliance Industries is one of the biggest manufacturers of polyester yarn. Our fabrics go to the niche market as well. We supply to designers in the Hindi film industry too. We import and also buy yarn from the domestic market.

In terms of R&D, we are focusing on creating polyester that doesn't look and feel like the one, but is more acceptable in the mass market. Our matka silk, available at the price of polyester has been in demand in the market for over a year. We also did research on denim, since we are getting into westernwear. We have come up with a denim-like feel on polyester. We have about 90 SKUs, that imitate natural fabric with more fluid feel. We have recently come out with a blend of polyester with raw silk and satin, named Orchid Silk. We have many innovations in regards to georgette, silk, two-tones and currently our SKUs have reached over 90 with a design team of over 30 people and we move with a tagline: Together We Achieve More, with an expectation to grow by 5-7 per cent increase in sales every year. 

In terms of technicalities, customers outside India look for thinner fabrics with lesser GSM,more flow, and smoothness in terms of touch and feel. They need a butterish feel. I cater to garment manufacturers only, and make sure that I meet their tastes and requirements. We have developed a lot of shimmer fabrics because of the rising demand for shimmers. We have various kinds of machines to cater to all those demands.

Consumers wear Narayan, but unaware of it as they only know the garment. We have recently launched a fabric named Dove Silk. Narayan N70, a georgette fabric is a very popular fabric with the life span of 8-9 year is in the market due to its multiple use. Similarly, our Matka Green fabric is also there in the market for a year. But we plan to get into branding after 2- 3 years. We also do not wish to get into garmenting.I love to make new fabrics and we come up with an average of 5-6 new fabrics every month. 

I don't see any competition in India in the fabric industry. But we have wide competition with China due to some of the loopholes in India. The fabrics manufactured in China can't be done in India due to lack of technology. The government needs to control the dumping that happens in India. For instance, importers buy a fabric for `10, and then show the bill for `2 for lower customs duty. There are a lot of policy amendments that India must do. For instance, if you are importing from port X, you pay the customs duty for Y fabric! This is because custom officers don't understand fabrics. I think customs should have a technical team that can identify a fabric correctly. Other countries are working straight in terms of customs clearance. A is equal to A. In India, there are gaps which the government needs to identify in terms of the knowledge of the fabric which gets imported. They should also cross-verify with the company the price quoted in the invoice.

As the new face of Narayan, I am working on changing the environment in the company. It is hard to find professionals in Surat and also the connectivity. Maybe had we been in Mumbai it would have been easier to find the right talent. If these two issues are resolved, then nothing can stop Surat from being a global textile player. Surat also lacks women empowerment, as women are made to stay at home. Since I have collaborated with China, I can see the difference. In China, I see that the directors are also women. The main reason of China's progress is that the government and the people there understand the multi-tasking capability of women as compared to men.

Published on: 21/09/2016

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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