IMPRESSIONS from a Cross-section


What is the importance of the states of South India in terms of textile and apparel manufacturing?

South India has a very strong manufacturing base
The southern states are a major contributor to India's textile and apparel exports. Fibre2Fashion spoke to a cross-section of people on the ground seeking their analyses and perceptions.


There have been several hubs for handlooms, textiles and apparel production across the South-one can still find historic hubs for silk sarees and apparel in Mysuru, Kollegal, Kanchipuram and Dharmavaram, and hubs for traditional cotton-based textiles like Ikat in Nalgonda district (in Telangana) and Jamdani in Venkatagiri district (in Andhra Pradesh) and the Real Madras Handkerchief from Chennai. 

In addition to these historic hubs, over the years, South India has also developed several other textiles and apparel manufacturing hubs which have emerged as centres for specialisation, especially for the international markets. Cities like Tiruppur have several integrated units and thousands of MSMEs (medium, small and micro enterprises) undertaking specific functions for yarn, textiles and apparel manufacturing making it the leading knits production hub of the country. Bengaluru in addition to information technology has also emerged as a major hub for fabrics and garmenting.

South India produces huge quantities of fibres, yarn, woven as well as knitted garments, and woven and knitted fabrics-the entire value chain. Bengaluru is for woven garments, as are Chennai, Coimbatore, Hosur and Tiruppur. There are woven fabric mills in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana as well as Kerala. Tiruppur and Coimbatore form a vertical knitting cluster having their own spinning, knitting, dyeing, printing and finishing units. Besides, there are handloom and powerloom capacities which operate as a cottage industry.

To add some statistics to the above information, South India accounts for 50 per cent of the country's yarn exports and 25 per cent of cotton textile production. It also accounts for 90 per cent of India's knitwear exports. About 35 per cent of the country's raw silk exports come from South India. More than 50 per cent of the country's readymade garmenting capacities are in South India.

All companies do not have vertical setups, but there are a lot of small and medium companies-each specialised in a particular process which caters to any other company's requirements from Tiruppur. Small and medium sizes of different ancillary units such as knitting, dyeing and bleaching, compacting, printing, embroidery, etc, that are required to produce garments, are within a radius of 70 km. Naturally, they work as clusters.

South India has a very strong manufacturing base up to the stage of weaving. Now, it's time for the region's textile companies-who can initiate integration and move up the value chain-to move up their finished products. South India's higher per capita income and aspiring middle class lead to growing sales of apparel and textiles, particularly in organised retail.

Published on: 01/07/2019

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

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