The three days buyer’s sellers meet Hindtex 2012 organized by Eastern UP Exporters Association (EUPEA) took place at Hotel Ramada Plaza, JVH in Varanasi recently. There were 36 exhibitors, displaying a wide range of textiles along with home furnishing made-ups – curtain, cushion cover, table cover, bed cover, wall hanging, etc. and fashion accessories such as scarves, stoles, purses and bags along with handicrafts.
The fair was inaugurated by Alka Arora, Additional Development Commissioner Handicrafts & Managing Director Central Cottage Industries Corporation of India. While addressing the gathering she said that Varanasi truly deserves to be city of exports excellence and assured all that she would take up this matter to the Ministry of Textiles. This year the event saw a huge turnout of buyers from overseas as well as from the Indian industry. Apparel Online, being Knowledge & Media Partner for Hindtex, brought 30 buyers which included the leading buying offices like Triburg, Impulse, H&M, Contempo, Expo India, Charles Vogele, Orange Fashions Designs to mention a few and some leading Indian fashion designers like Rakesh Thakore of Abraham&Thakore, Jattinn Kochhar, Niki Mahajan, Rinku Sobti, Gaurav Gupta, Rahul Mishra, Shravan to mention a few.
Extremely elated with the turnout, Naveen Kapoor, President, EUPEA said, “With each successive year the footfall is getting better. We don’t want visitors in numbers but we look for quality visitation and thanks to Apparel Online with its wide reach helped to get buyers from across the country besides what they brought with their invitation.”
For the benefit of the manufacturing community, a seminar was conducted on the second day, just before the entertainment night, for the buyers. Amit Sharma of NIFT, Delhi gave a presentation on Trends 2013-14 both in fashion and made-ups. He emphasized on the fact that it’s very important for any manufacturer to go through the website of top ten international brands/retailers to see their forecasts and then work on their developments. “Once the international buyers see that you are working on their lines, they will automatically come to you. The season 2013-14 is favouring India in terms of fabrics, designs, embroidery and prints so in cash the opportunity,” averred Amit.
The session came alive when Jattinn Kochhar came on the dais to put forth his views on Varanasi. “It’s my first visit to Varanasi in 40 years; I have seen such beautiful things and the fact that a fair like Hindtex is being organized here by EUPEA conveys that manufacturers here are moving in the right direction and I look forward to coming back soon and spending more time, interacting with all the exhibitors and sharing the knowledge that I have.
It’s very important that the design industry and the manufacturing industry should unite if both have to grow. It’s good to see that 4-5 designers have come; they’ll go back, share with their colleagues and I look forward to seeing many more designers coming here next year.”
Team Triburg was extremely impressed with the show. Apoorv Srivastava, Designer with the company said, “It’s an amazing place to be at; both product wise and because of the people. I can feel that the exhibitors here are open to change which is a plus point, rest will come automatically.” Nancy Taneja, Senior Merchandiser sharing her views from the dais said that Hindtex is an eye opener and though they found some of the exhibitors fantastic, but there was a need to align more to the design needs of today. “It is important for the manufacturers to prepare for larger challenges in the business and to think that what works better for them,” she said.
She was particularly happy that the exhibitors were aware of testing equipment and the importance of colour box, as also issues of compliance. “With knowledge partners like Apparel Online it clearly means they are eager to grow. What is now important is that buyers should help to sustain them. Partnership means that you take the people a notch higher.” Appreciating the trend presentation, Nancy said that as a buying office they can predict what the top 10-12 international brands are looking for the coming season, as majority of them put their trend forecast on the websites.
Go for Compliant Manufacturing; Fetch Certifications
Most of the buying offices echoed one thing and that is, the manufacturers have to gear up to be compliant, as the industry is still working in a decentralized fashion. “It’s great to see that Varanasi has come a long way in terms of getting organized; it’s great to see that in three years they have covered the knowledge of one generation. They have to think in terms of compliance and design links – how it can be done more appropriately. Varanasi needs to gear up in terms of working with organized global retailers and brands. It’s important that they work on compliance certification; at least some basic certificates are required to cater to buying offices who source merchandise on behalf of the international retailers,” added Nancy.
Sandhya Samuel, GM Merchandising, Find Agencies (Francis Wacziarg Group) pointed out that most of the people in Varanasi do not have even basic certifications, while buyers she works with require certifications like ISO or BSCI if not Eco-tex, REACH etc. “It would be a step in the right direction if they go for at least basic certifications; I have made some selections; I have asked for some images, quotations. I need to train them a little; in another 6 months or a year down the line we can definitely work with them,” averred Sandhya.
“It was a pleasure being at Hindtex Varanasi as both the show and the organizers are genuine. Hindtex turned out to be quite timely for us and we are now starting to work with Fabco and Fabrications with digital prints.” – Dhun & Phil Shroff, Dilemma, New York
Sanyam Mehra, Sr. Merchandiser, Concept Merchandising thanked Apparel Online for getting him to a hub like Varanasi; he was especially interested in digital prints and home made-ups. While interacting with Team AO he said, “I have seen new things in designs, however they work in a decentralized way; you have to source fabric from one place and get it digitally printed somewhere else. I liked the collection at Fabco, as it has in-house digital printing and they even source the fabric. There is a lot of things to source in home furnishings as well like curtains, bed covers, upholstery, table tops, runners, cushion covers, etc.”
Re-work on Prices
As for most of the buying office representatives and designers, it was also the first visit for Sandhya. She found great potential in a show like Hindtex and predicted that in the years to come, it will certainly develop into an important fair. While giving her view on the products she said, “For the moment the collections are a bit ethnic/traditional for the taste of the European buyers, it needs to get more contemporary and little more competitive in price. I am looking for cushions, curtains and runners; here the manufacturers are still talking of curtains which are ranging from US $ 18 to US $ 20. It needs to be corrected, as it’s too expensive, basically because they are still talking of 20-30 pieces. If they talk of 300-400 pieces their pricing automatically will come down.”
Very happy with the well organized Hindtex BSM, Aditi Chawla, Asst. General Manager, Impulse International, shared that the hub has beautiful fabrics, but they are not yet ready for the mass market. “I really liked the fabrics and it’s good to see some digital prints and base fabric manufacturers. I have taken their contacts and will ask them to send samples but for sure we’ll be placing volume orders and would expect best pricing,” shared Aditi.
Need to scale up; Start quoting MOQs
One thing which came out loud and clear from the interactions with all the buying offices is the fact that Varanasi needs to scale up. As of now they are talking about 50 or 100 pieces which can work for designers but not the buying offices. “They should start stating their MOQs (minimum order quantities); dyeing MOQs, weaving MOQs so that we can make it workable,” emphatically said Sandhya.
Rajashri Ghosh, Merchandiser, Impulse International also suggested the same. She said that the vendors in Varanasi have potential to create good products so now the need is to increase their manufacturing capacities. “If they really talk volumes, then will buying offices not source from such a rich textile hub!”she argued.
Jay Shah, CEO, Expo India, a Mumbai based buying office, said that the exhibition should depict that the products are for international market. He pointed out that the exhibitors need to gear up to give quantities as buying office work on minimum orders which are never less than 500-1000 pieces per style.
“For domestic market, be it fashion designers or brands this can be a very promising hub even for e-retailing. It’s good to see that Varanasi is realising that it’s high time they start scaling up on the skill matrix and improve on delivery performance.” – Jattinn Kochhar
While many of the buyers had issues of quantities and compliance, all the designers were happy to be there. As they work with mostly hand woven and natural fabrics, for them Varanasi is a paradise in true sense. Rakesh Thakore, Director, Abraham & Thakore Exports shared, “I came here 30 years ago in the early 80s; they have great techniques of brocades and silk fabrics. This is my first visit to Hindtex exhibition and I am certainly looking at working with some of the people here. We specialize on products which are handloom oriented, using natural fibres like silk and silk and cotton blends. It’s such a treat to see that the manufacturers here are willing to incorporate ideas and techniques which I want to give as a designer. We do both fashion as well as home textiles and we would like to tap these fabrics for both. We are looking at different textures, different weights, softness, to sheerness.”
Rahul Mishra, a very promising designer from Mumbai shared that he has always been interested in Banarasi fabrics. “Although I am in the middle of a hectic fashion week, I had to take out time at least one day as this is one of the most exquisite places in the world. I have been working with all the handloom hubs in India and Varanasi has been off and on for me. Besides couture we are also now getting into prêt line with Westside so for those lines too I am getting a lot of inputs like digital prints. They have good designs and good workmanship,” averred Rahul who is interested in 100% pure and 100% handmade fabrics, real high-end fabrics-silk, Kinkhab etc. “I will give my designs, I want people who are willing to execute my designs and produce for me based on my exclusivity,” he added.
For his prêt line for Westside – ‘Rahul Mishra for Westside’ he was not looking for very high-end fabric but very design-oriented fabric like digital prints and he was able to spot one or two vendors for the same in Varanasi. The other collaboration which Rahul has gone for is with Future Group where again he’ll require something which is exclusive but can be mass produced.
Designer Shravan Kumar from Hyderabad too was floored with the exhibits and he gave certain tips which the Varanasi manufacturers can adopt. “They should do Raafe yarn which internationally is doing very well as it is eco-friendly and produced from a tree; the weight of the yarn is very light; the sheen and gather of the yarn is better than that of a silk or a chiffon. The other yarn which is doing very well internationally is Gheechas yarn (it’s taken from a banyan tree); it’s a better version of linen; very cold in summers and warm in winters. They need to come out from regular silks and cottons so that they can create niche for themselves,” suggested Shravan who placed orders for scarves and digital prints.
As per Jattinn Kochhar, Varanasi has a lot of interesting products; it may not be for the international market as of now but the Indian domestic market is so huge that they need not look at the overseas market. “Someone like me doesn’t want stocks; the problem with the designers is that no one does small production but as a sampling they should do it,” said Jattinn who is only doing prêt line – ready-to-wear outfits in men’s wear, ladies wear, evening wear, maternity, swimwear, kidswear. “Last week, I launched an herbal organic line. I was disappointed to see that there is nothing organic here; they should really think about it,” he added.
However, Niki Mahajan was not sounding too happy with the exhibits as she found the same old traditional motifs and designs. “The weavers here should come out of the typical old style of creating designs. They need to follow trends and accordingly create their collections.”