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India Fashion Forum kicks off

Feb '11
The 11th edition of India Fashion Forum (IFF 2011) kicked off (February 17-18, 2011)on the positive note of economic recovery on the Indian textile retail sector.

In his inaugural address at the business forum, Nikhil Meswani, Chairman of IFF 2011 and Executive Director, Reliance Industries Limited stated that most businesses are evolving from the economic downturn with renewed vigor primarily due to a flexible approach to market, focus on building supply chain capabilities and strong brands.

Commenting on the business outlook for textile retail sector in India, Meswani said, “I see convergence in price points of products that cater to need, comfort and luxury in India. Such a challenging business scenario compels us to re-strategise on the traditional thoughts in marketing. This is primarily because business models become obsolete before the product loses its appeal. There is a need to continuously innovate, redefine and reinvent businesses to adapt to the changing needs of the consumer.”

The growth outcome expected from the Indian fashion retail sector throws open an investment opportunity of over Rs 30,000 crore annually across the textile retail value chain. This is expected to increase the size of the textile retail industry from its current size of Rs 315,000 crore to Rs 990,000 crore by year 2020. The textile retail sector will be one of the largest employment generators apart from being a large value creator in the Indian economy.

Meswani further added, “The key challenge today is - what we did in the last 50 years has to be re-achieved within the next 10 years. To make this industry competitive there is an urgent need to update with the latest fashion trends now than anytime earlier. Similar is the case with other components of textile retail business.”

In yet another interesting presentation on the winning strategies in lifestyle marketing and retail in India, Ireena Vittal, Principal Mckinsey, India highlighted how youth shoppers are redefining the retail business environment. “New categories are emerging as youth get a wallet and a voice. They are a demanding lot who flirt across brands resulting in fundamental changes in the overall business environment. Moreover, over 50 per cent of the youth shoppers look for electronic brand as they log onto the Internet to scan the brands even though they may buy it offline,” she emphasised.

The second session of the day started with a panel discussion on the social influence on fashion and the direction in which the industry could move. The august panel saw some renowned names like Manish Mandhana, MD, Mandana Industries, Prashant Agarwal, MD, Bombay Rayon Fashions, Thomas Varghese, Chairman, CII National Committee on Retail and chief Executive, Aditya Birla Retail, Rakesh Biyani, Director and CEO (Retail), Future Group, Dilip Kapur, MD, Hidesign, Suhel Seth, Managing Partner, Counselage, India, Ireena Vittal, Principal, McKinsey (India), Nikhil Meswani, Chairman, IFF 2011and ED, Reliance Industries. The discussion was anchored by Pranay Sinha, MD, Star Centres and Dr. P.R. Roy, Director, Fibre2Fashion, Malwa Group, NSL Textiles and Former Group CEO, Arvind. The panel emphasized on the fact that the industry is facing challenges in supply and not consumer demand.

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