by Deepak Mohindra
05-August-2019 | 5 mins read
African nations are really making diligent efforts to up their game in garment manufacturing and consequently exports. Countries like Ethiopia, Nigeria, Tanzania, Lesotho to name a few are proactive in creating infrastructure and building a conducive environment for garmenting, which strongly puts these nations on the radar of both the retailers and manufacturers from around the globe.
If one looks at the trend closely and analyses the demographics, it is found that primarily companies from China are investing and putting up manufacturing units across the region, quite aggressively. Companies from other countries, including India, are also making investment, but they are few and far apart.
Chinese companies are intelligently mitigating the chances of losing out on business, as trade barriers being imposed by the US make it difficult to be competitive out of China. Also, the rising cost of labour and infrastructure in China has compelled companies to seek greener pastures.
With most of Africa still in the criteria of third world nations and enjoying trade benefits to both the US and Europe, it is really a smart move by China to foresee and act today on anticipation of challenges, that are only going to increase.
In fact, China is are looking for investment opportunities in many countries, because of different reasons – Vietnam for its products and ease of business, Myanmar for wage advantage, and even Bangladesh for huge garmenting infrastructure and trained workforce.
India, however, is not the preferred destination for garment manufacturing in any country, not even for local companies. This is despite the fact that India has a good infrastructure for apparel manufacturing and a huge pool of trainable workers. Not to forget, an integrated supply chain with a mature textile industry for backend support.
Efforts have to be made to present a new India, which is offering many reasons to set up a unit in the country. The only way to do that is to bring delegations of manufacturers into the country to experience the change and see the opportunities first-hand. With many states giving special incentives for garment manufacturing and new code for labour laws in review, there is much to offer.
In the meanwhile, a lot of innovation is being seen on the retail front. The boom in online retailing has created a huge competition for the bricks-and-mortar store formats. Accepting the challenge, the offline retailers with the help of technology like Virtual Trial Rooms, Smart Mirrors, VR and Self-Checkout have done many innovations in their store to maintain the interest of the customers when shopping in stores. The current issue of StitchWorld details some of these technologies that are helping retailers retain their customer interest, as also save time while making the in-store shopping experience exciting for them.
One of the biggest challenges faced within the fashion and apparel industry is the actual measuring process of a human body. In a candid interview with Jeff Messer, Vice President, Size Stream, the StitchWorld team unearths everything that apparel and fashion industry should know about what it takes to scan accurate body measurements and how prolonged issue in this area can be eliminated.
This issue also talks about how various cutting technology giants are using data analytics and other Industry 4.0 concepts to help manufacturers save time and cost in order to let them sustain and be profitable in longer run. Along with profitability, sustainability is also an important direction. In this issue, a specially designed article ‘Sustainable Denim’ will talk about sustainable finishes, like Laser, Ozone etc. which are making a change in the apparel industry, as it strives to shed the tag of being a highly environment polluting industry.
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