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AR picks the Movers and Shakers of the Indian textile and apparel industry in 2018

by Dheeraj Tagra

02-January-2019  |  9 mins read

Apparel Resources picks 14 such people from Indian textile and apparel industry who did something different or extraordinary in 2018, which inspires others to do something like them. Some of these 14 are established and well known in the entire industry, while few others, despite maintaining low profile, are worth to be called Movers and Shakers due to their initiatives. Interestingly, these Movers and Shakers cover most of the categories or segments in the textile and apparel industry.

India to Jordan

Gautam Nair, MD, Matrix Clothing, Gurgaon; EC member AEPC and Chairman – CII National Committee on Textiles and Apparel

Gautam Nair

Running a successful garmenting company in India, Matrix Clothing has strategic tie-ups in both Bangladesh and Vietnam, and also a reach in textile-related business (trims and leather). As a part of a major decision, Nair has invested in his first garment expansion, outside India to Jordan.

Positive Thinker

Deepak Seth, Chairman, Pearl Global Industries, Gurgaon

Deepak Seth

Among the truly global players in India, Deepak Seth has manufacturing and buying operations across the globe. But this is old news. What puts him among the Movers and Shakers of 2018 is his positive thinking and fresh views. In the middle of 2018, contrary to what a majority of the industry was saying, Seth was of the view, “There is now a barrier to entry into our industry, so it is difficult for new players to get in. This means that exporters who are fully compliant under international standards have a huge opportunity to grow, especially since China is slowly exiting the apparel space.”

Expansion, Expansion and Expansion

Sanjay Lalbhai, CMD, Arvind Ltd.

Sanjay Lalbhai, CMD, Arvind Ltd.

Arvind Ltd. is one of the few Indian corporates having a strong reach in every aspect of the textile value chain, be it fabric manufacturing, apparel brands, direct retailing, manufacturing and technical textiles. In 2018, the company expanded in a big way, especially in manufacturing, be it the launch of its largest garmenting hub in Bavla (Ahmedabad) or starting of operations in Ranchi. The company was always in news during 2018 and for all the good reasons.

Growing in India, in Indonesia too

Lalit Gulati, CMD, Modelama Exports, Gurgaon

Lalit Gulati, CMD, Modelama Exports, Gurgaon

In 2018, Modelama Exports expanded its operation in Indonesia where it had started its first overseas factory five years ago. The company is also doing well in India and focusing a lot on worker welfare. Managing factories in India and abroad with equal success is commendable.

Young and Visionary

Zahir Seth, Director, ITC, Tirupur

Zahir Seth, Director, ITC, Tirupur

One must meet this young entrepreneur. With his innovative concept of a different kind of green factory and broader vision of what sustainability stands for, Zahir is among the few who doesn’t want to sell just apparels to his buyers. His focus is on selling the concept of an awesome factory which is not only green, but also has high productivity and good quality.

Strong Lobbyist for Textile Industry

Sanjay Jain, Chairman CITI; MD, TT Ltd; Past Chairman – NITRA/TSC/NITMA, Vice President – FOHMA /WBHA, Committee Member/Invitee – TEXPROCIL, NSDC, SIMA, ICC, CITI-CDRA, IAAI, MCCI & CAI

Sanjay is one of the strongest industry persons to lobby for the industry not only at various platforms, but also in the corridors of power. He was very much active in 2018, instrumental in celebrating the Diamond Jubilee of CITI on a grand scale. His company was also on a growth track, announcing expansion and thrust on garmenting.

Developing Ranchi

Sudhir Dhingra, CMD, Orient Craft, Gurgaon

Sudhir Dhingra, CMD, Orient Craft, Gurgaon

Sudhir Dhingra was among the first exporters to move beyond Delhi, shifting factories to Gurgaon and then towards Rajasthan but now he is aggressively focusing on expanding in Ranchi. His efforts are instrumental in bringing in more apparel manufacturers to Ranchi. He has also invested in an Apparel Park in the city and is very confident that the future of industry is in smaller towns.

Futuristic Foresight

Kishore Biyani, Founder and CEO of Future Group

Kishore Biyani, Founder and CEO of Future Group

Counted among the pioneers in giving the unorganised retail sector in India its current shape, just being a giant retailer is not enough for Kishore Biyani. His strength is foresight which is making him successful. His deal with Amazon in 2018 is really a bold step.

Strategic and Successful Planning

Neeraj Jain, JMD, Vardhman Textile Industries

Neeraj Jain, JMD, Vardhman Textile Industries

Backed by an amazing company culture, with a perfect approach and balance between expansion and consolidation, Neeraj Jain has quietly come out from the shadows of the Chairman and has strategically propelled Vardhman to growth. The company regularly expands but takes at least two to three years in between for consolidation because it believes that this makes one financially better… and get support capacity to expand further.

Brand, Style, Sourcing: Completely Indian

Baba Ramdev, Yoga Guru and Founder of Patanjali Group

After many successful ventures in the FMCG segment, Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali started its own apparel store in 2018. It has already become a hit with the consumer and has proved successful like other Patanjali businesses and will definitely create strong challenges for established apparel brands and retailers.

Shining in Sustainability

Bimal Arora, Chairperson, Centre for Responsible Business (CRB) and Assistant Professor in Management, CSR and Sustainability at Aston Business School

Bimal may not have any direct link with the apparel industry but his continuous efforts for sustainability in apparel and textile industry make him worthy to be given space in AOI’s Movers and Shakers list of 2018. His organisation is continuously working for better working conditions, and he and his team are very vocal in support and criticism. He is among those few which keeps India in the sustainability picture on a global level.

Love with Ludhiana

Ajit Lakra, MD, Superfine Knitters, President, Ludhiana Knitters Association; Head, Textile Division, Federation of Industrial & Commercial Organization (FICO).

Ajit Lakra, MD, Superfine Knitters, President, Ludhiana Knitters Association; Head, Textile Division, Federation of Industrial & Commercial Organization (FICO).

A true fighter, Ajit Lakra is the first-ever player of India doing almost Rs.100 crore business as a company which is both into fabric and jobworking for top Indian brands. He is aggressively active to support Ludhiana’s apparel and textile industry, always and anywhere. He is vocal on issues, ‘not just politically correct’ and keen for collective growth.

From Manufacturing to Retail

Roshan Baid, Founder, Paragon Apparels and Alcis Brand, Noida

Roshan Baid, Founder, Paragon Apparels and Alcis Brand, Noida

Many exporters have tried to get into the domestic market and to establish their brand and few have succeeded too, but creating a niche brand for sportwear is something rare and Roshan has done it beautifully. His brand Alcis is giving the big names in the sportswear market good competition and its smooth transit from being a pure manufacturer to being a successful retailer is worthy of recognition.

Bold Step

Narinder Chugh, MD, Million Exports, Ludhiana

Narinder Chugh, MD, Million Exports, Ludhiana

Narinder Chug took over the garment business three to four years ago, grew well into export and now is geared up with this Swiss Military (Switzerland) initiative. Unlike the big exporters/manufacturers, Million Exports does not have the requisite reach and resources, but has taken a bold step into the future with plans to launch 400 exclusive brand outlets all over India. The confidence he has on the initiative is reflected in the projected sales for the coming year of around Rs. 100 crore.