As we enter the New Year, there is much to look forward to. One may debate that the industry, whether manufacturing or retail, is not really at its best and 2020 could actually be more challenging. But I have reasons to be positive!
For one, I have seen the global players in apparel for the first time taking interest in investing in India. Both Epic Group and Youngone have announced investments in apparel manufacturing; they are well established names in the global arena with strong presence in Bangladesh. If they are looking at setting up units in the country at this point of time, there is obviously something that the industry here is missing out on.
Many believe that the logic of setting up a unit in India is primarily to tap the growing retail in India, which is an exciting option, as traditional markets slow down. But if one looks at the reality more deeply, it is obvious that a company which has a factory in Bangladesh does not need to be in India to cater to the market.
After all, Bangladesh apparel manufacturers have duty-free access to the market along with other advantages of cheaper labour, access to international fabrics (mostly Chinese) and better infrastructure.
It is obvious that the reasons for looking at India as a manufacturing destination are much more in the long term and under a strategy that is not about mass production, but fashion. Sadly, most Indian companies do not plan for the future and work from season to season.
Another factor that gives me a reason to be positive is the growing awareness and implementation of technology along the textile value chain right up to the point of sale. Technologies that were mere concepts a few years ago are actually being implemented. Indore-based Pratibha Syntex is working on a blockchain project, while online retailers like Myntra are excessively using technology and data to ensure that only products that sell are manufactured.
It is definitely an exciting time, and in this issue of StitchWorld, we have highlighted the fashion tech trends that shaped up the fashion retail industry in 2019. AI, AR/VR, blockchain and other 4.0 concepts are being used by the retailers to enhance customer experiences, eliminate bottlenecks in inventory management and improve transparency in the complete fashion supply chain.
Also creating positivity is the growing number of start-ups in the fashion tech space. Start-ups are revolutionary and bring disruption to the industry.The lead story of this issue is on ‘Start-ups grown in India to provide technology solutions for fashion retail’. No matter what field it is, there are people who take the risk to bring innovation to the industry helping find solutions to certain challenges. We have covered RealTell, Virtu AR, TryNDBuy, SprintAI, INCREFF and Veda Labs.
Replying back to ‘Western’ media criticism of Bangladesh on low labour life, less compliant factories and low sustainable manufacturing practices, the team of SW sheds light on the brighter side of the BD manufacturing industry where Green Smart Shirts, Anowara Group and Adam Styles are restructuring their business using green and sustainable models and defying all challenges in the segment.
I wish all my readers and friends in the industry a positive frame of mind as we enter the New Year for better business ahead!