With high hopes, nearly 300 apparel exporters participated at Textiles India 2017 event, only to end up with serious disappointment in the absence of good number of buyers and decent basic amenities. No doubt, rain also played a spoilsport but many other controllable issues too created a mess for these exporters as well as overseas buyers. Apparel Online interacted with some of them and they were loud and clear about their bad experiences about this event. Some of the exporters even insisted about not participating any more in this event if it occurs again at Gandhinagar. Even many overseas buyers were miffed over such anomalies.
To explain a few of the failures that were evident, there was no proper and timely distribution of badges and no requisite infrastructure available, both at the fair and in the city (such as unavailability of quality hotels, poor connectivity with Ahmedabad where exporters were staying, lack of convenient food court at the event, etc.). To add fuel to the fire, the opening of the fair for public on the last day additionally created a sense of commotion. Exporters were also very irritated seeing some kids selling tea in the fair and near the booths when the Indian apparel export industry is highly concerned and committed to follow compliance norms.
Mumbai-based Adiba Fashions closed its booth in the afternoon on the second day itself. Mohammed Shaikh, Director of the company informed AOI, “Our industry friends pushed us to participate and assured about good footfall, but no buyers were to be seen, and only the local public was visiting the show. There was no point wasting time here and handling the local public.”
Rajat Agarwal, Partner, DS Exports, Noida, highlighting womenswear and scarves at the fair, shared some similar views as he informed, “It was a very bad experience. Even on the second day, the local crowd was coming with no clue about this kind of setup. They were touching and pulling down our products, and even asking us for one single piece. We put in our effort, cost and time to make these samples. It was quite frustrating to see such behaviour of the public. Besides, when we were talking to the buyers, local people were interfering in our conversation…; now this was very disappointing… We exhibited because of the B2B nature of the fair, and not B2C. We sometimes felt we were probably in the wrong show and should not have been here. There were also no efforts towards cleanliness, be it rainwater logging or toilets, they were all in a mess.”
Some of the exporters even raised questions on the overseas buyers’ quality, as Harish Dua, MD, KG Exports, Ludhiana and President, Knitwear & Apparel Exporters Organization, Ludhiana, lamented, “It was our first ever participation in this type of sourcing fair but I am very much disheartened and will not participate again in this event. There were few buyers who were present for visiting purpose only and not for serious sourcing. I saw buyers waiting almost for three hours at the counter to get their reimbursement. I spoke to some buyers and tried to know about their order quantities, business etc., but they were unable to tell even these basic things.” Thus, he believed that it did not have any of the traits of an international fair. The company displayed Tees at Textiles India and is continuously expanding its production capacity.
Aastha Kapoor, Creative Director, Affordable Exports, Delhi, discussed her perspective on the event, “The show was crappy, there was no sanitation; some people from the general public even vomited near one of the booths, but nobody was there to clean-up. None of the councils took care of this. We are fed-up and are not going to come here again for sure.” She briefed that the organizing body was busy impressing the Prime Minister and managed the whole fair in a poor way.
Gujarat-based exhibitors were very much keen before the show as they had a strong belief that this mega event will promote Ahmedabad or even Gujarat in an international scenario, especially apparel manufacturing which is a growing segment, but things did not turn out well. Amit Gordhandas, MD, Dassani Global Group, Ahmedabad said, “On day one, some of the buyers left from the fair ground as they didn’t get their badges. I saw more than 150 overseas buyers waiting for the badges and they were so upset that they ‘shouted’ at the staff. We were here in an international show and the conditions we saw here were much lower than the general Indian standards. Many buyers even left the fair grounds to use decent washrooms elsewhere.”
Exporters also raised questions on CII, the organizer of this event as well as Gandhinagar as a place for such a show. Vivek Khandelwal of Patterns India, Jaipur and Past President of Garment Exporters Association of Rajasthan (GEAR), shared, “Gandhinagar is not the right destination for overseas buyers. Primarily it is an overseas show, and overseas buyers prefer to land directly in Delhi and have a show there, rather than going to other cities via Delhi. Secondly, AEPC is a better organization with vast experience of organizing shows, but CII doesn’t have that kind of exposure or experience. General facilities and ambience here were not quite satisfactory; for example, halls were not interconnected. I don’t find any reason that why the show was done here.”
Pattern India from Jaipur highlighted expensive embroideries, denims and yarn dyed in its display as Vivek feels that these three products are high in demand. Anant Jain, Partner, Ratan Textiles, Jaipur, also voted for Delhi being a better place to do the show and raised questions over the timing of the show as July-end was a better option.
Jitesh Chandra, Senior Fabric Manager of Trend Setters International, Delhi stated, “Buyers were less in this show compared to Delhi-based shows while we were expecting more buyers because of the combined efforts of all export promotion councils.” The company used many value addition techniques like embroideries, lace work and printing in its collection.
Pradeep Nahata, MD, Karni Exports, Jaipur, showed a long handwritten letter addressed to MoT. Highlighting all the above mentioned issues, he asked the MoT to give back the participation fees with proper compensation because the fair was a total failure from his point of view. He tweeted in series about these issues tagging Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Shahi Exports, Orient craft did participate
The show witnessed participation from top exporters of India like Shahi Exports, Faridabad and Orient Craft, Gurgaon. Both these companies have hardly ever participated in any sourcing event, especially in India. But they took part in this show to add on key buyers which they hoped would visit the fair, but team of Shahi Exports had a negative experience. Orient Craft displayed kidswear, sweaters, womenswear and it is observing more demand in schiffli embroidery and handwork in the markets.
“None of the buyers we found here met our criteria as we are dealing with a comparatively different kind of clientele. So this fair was not for us, though we met few vendors here who wanted to get associated with us.” – Sachin Sureka, Marketing Manager, Shahi Exports
“As it is the biggest Indian fair organized by Ministry of Textiles and was being inaugurated by the Prime Minister himself, we thought of participating in it. We met few importers and few brands of Belgium and Canada at this fair. We already work for such buyers, so for us the fair was reasonably good.” – Vijay Jaiswal, DMM, Orient Craft, Gurgaon
“Why this show was shifted from Delhi to here? We had such a headache here. I will not come to this show anymore and will discourage everyone from doing the same. It is so inconvenient; I wasted full two hours in the morning to reach the place of fair. Last night, we were not able to find any conveyance to take us to hotel. Do you bring people from overseas to show this side of India? – Krishna Chowdary, KBM International Fashions, US
“Overall mismanagement and delays created major issues. Registration process needs to be improved by focusing on less bureaucracy and less paperwork. Organizers should learn from Hong Kong Fashion Week about efficient event management. – Kirit Rajani, Business Development, Be Global, Porto, Portugal