Held at a new venue, the India International Garment Fair (45th IIGF) was a kaleidoscope of colour, prints and varied fabrics. The distance from the centre of Delhi, did not deter visitors and the event saw 1,592 international buyers from 721 companies and 569 buying agents from 413 companies seeking differential offerings in mostly ladies wear and accessories. In fact, the fair was dominated by dresses, tops and fashion accessories with few players in the kids and men’s section. As always, exhibitors from Delhi/NCR and Jaipur dominated the fair with some players from Tirupur, Ludhiana, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai besides some participation from newer centres like Indore, Muradabad, Bhopal, Varanasi, Pune, Pushkar and Bhagalpur. The fair which generated business worth $ 71 million re-established its positioning as a sourcing event for small and medium players.
Though a large number of buyers were regular visitors there were a noticeable number of first timers in this edition. The reaction of most of the new buyers was encouraging. “This is our first visit to India as we have recently opened our own boutique in Uruguay for which we have come to see and research the Indian market. We are looking for high fashion women’s wear and I have spotted some very good products at the fair,” said Eliana Bartaburu from Flow, Uruguay. Added Daubnerova Olga of Ola Daubner, Slovak Republic, “I have come for the first time for my retail outlets in Prievidza, Slovak. I am looking for evening dresses, which are full of colours and I see that it matches with Indian sensibility.”
Highlighting why they come to source from India, many buyers stressed the appeal of Indian techniques. “We find Indian fabric and workmanship very fascinating,” said Ernesto Minguez of Dospunt, SL, Spain. With 115 buyers, Spain was the most represented country at the fair. It was indeed heartening to hear that not only the buyers but consumers too appreciated Indian designs. “Our consumers really love Indian fabrics and workmanship. In Bulgaria everyone knows that India is creating and China is copying. The designs are great but prices are slightly on the higher side,” said Dora Popova from Harmonia, Bulgaria.
For buyers looking for women’s wear there was choice in abundance, but others were disappointed. “I have six retail outlets which sell ladies and kids wear. The IIGF is known for ladies wear that is why I have come here especially for ladies tops, skirts and dresses. I find very limited range in the kids wear display and there is no real scope for selection,” said Rayan Baeshen from Glitter, Riyadh. “There should be more players in the men’s section to showcase that India is now a growing force in bottoms,” suggested Carol Hanlon of Australia.
Trends at the Fair
One of the most interesting developments at the fair was the increased use of man-made fibres and varied blends by many exporters. While earlier the exhibits were mostly in 100% cotton, this edition saw many products in polyesters, chiffons, georgettes, rayon, linen, denim, viscose and cotton blends. Differential fabrics like dobby chiffon, short silk, linen with lurex, crinkled crepe, schiffly were also spotted at many stalls. In knits there were options besides T-shirts and dresses in knits were seen at a few innovative stalls. There was a lot of originality seen on the designs of organic cotton garments as well which are generally considered to be very low on innovation.
Among the most obvious trends was prints, in fact dresses with bold prints in woven cotton were predominant at the fair. Ombres and traditional tie&dye were in demand and many stalls used the technique for varied applications. In surface ornamentation embellishments like sequence, beads, stones, etc. were seen in abundance. The designers also tried to play with silhouettes this time and dresses with uneven hemlines, smocking, rouching, pintucks, knife pleats at shoulder, gathers, puffs, etc. were seen at many stalls.
In accessories, which were also hot sellers at the IIGF trendy, colourful accessories made of cotton cloth were on demand by the buyers. The only concern for the buyers was that there should be no iron content in the metal part of the accessories. Bags of jute, organic cotton, and metallic finished canvas with a lot of embellishments were also seen at the fair. Bags were mostly seen in line with the trends of garments.
There were mixed responses at the fair, while many exporters expressed happiness at the response from the buyers, there were a few who felt disappointed as the buyer profile did not match their requirements. “Many buyers showed interest in our collections, but they wanted very small quantities which are not workable for us,” said Manish Jain, GM, Shree Bharat Textiles, which specializes in knitted fashion wear. Many of the larger companies faced similar problems. However, smaller companies were very upbeat. “We have generated business much more than earlier fairs and the quality of buyers is also better,” said Sonjay Sukheeja, Director, Daksh International. “Buyers are always on the lookout for something new and besides regular buyers new ones also showed interest in our collections. Though some actually placed orders with us, some others have promised to follow-up later,” added S.R. Sharma of Shree Dayal Exports.
TII Clothing from Tirupur was participating for the first time and the company was kept busy entertaining visitors. “We are new players in the field but our range of printed knitwear for women, men and kids is different from what other knit manufacturers are doing,” said Sterlin Singh, CEO, TII. Village Crafts India, received tremendous response to their scarves collection while Tushar Group with its innovative garments received good enquiries for their knits range with patchwork. “Over the years we have seen knits picking up very quickly and now many buyers are asking for fashion wear in knits with hand embroidery, patchwork and other traditional technique applications,” averred Tushar.
Though the exporters from the newer areas were very few in number, and small or middle level exporters but local expertise and product profile made them stand out from the crowd. Atul Overseas from Pune was the only exhibitor at the IIGF displaying work wear. The company’s Director Anil Kankariya, exporting to Europe was expecting buyers to notice the product and was happy to receive enquiries from Australia.
Similarly, Mickey Sujan, Designer of Studio Scarlet, Bhopal said, “Bhopal has specialization in traditional designing, herbal dyes and jardozi work. So if a buyer needs such products, Bhopal is the best option.” Chandan Garments from Indore was among the few companies that showcased men’s trousers and intimate wear. Welkin Apex from Varanasi showcased hi-end silk scarves, which were appreciated by many buyers.