The recently concluded 47th IIGF projected as the largest edition ever, saw around 2000 buyers from abroad and from local buying agencies throng the corridors for fashion products targeted at Spring/Summer 2012. As the fair grows in stature, the quality of buyers and exhibitors at the event has also grown with many of the buyers representing large chain stores. It cannot be denied that one of the biggest reasons for the success of the fair over the years has been the commercial compatibility of the exhibitor, who are primarily small to medium level exporters and the buyers, mostly consisting of wholesalers, importers and boutique buyers from around the world looking at mass fashion. Perhaps that is why most big exporters fail to find value at the IIGF, while for many small and middle exporters the event is a source for regular business. Even as the fair becomes bigger, the basic character of the exhibition remains the same…
The three-day extravaganza was inaugurated by the Minister of State for Commerce Jyotiraditya Scindia and had Dr William Fung, Executive Deputy Chairman, Li and Fung as the Guest of Honour. Addressing the gathering Scindia said, “The Textile Ministry is committed to increase the competitiveness and share of Indian textile industry in world textile trade. Against this back-drop the Ministry has setup a target of $ 65 billion for the 12th Five Year Plan.”
Added Rita Menon Secretary, Ministry of Textiles, “Government pays high emphasis on export promotion of apparels and a number of new schemes are also proposed for the current year including Government support for the common compliance code, knitwear technology mission, high number of export promotion shows including export shows in China, Japan and other states and Tex Trends 2012.” While their speeches were technically interesting with many facts and figures, yet again the audience was left with hints of change but no deliverables.
Representing one of the biggest buyers of garments from the country, the audience present at the opening ceremony was all ears to hear what Dr Fung had to convey to the industry and he did not disappoint. “We are sourcing products worth around $ 1 billion from India, but I still feel the country is under-represented as a manufacturing base and there is great scope for increased sourcing,” he said.
Dr Fung underlined five factors which according to him would help in increasing business from the country. First of course is the abundance of human resources, with the top and middle level well-versed with the global language – English. It also helps according to him since India has a good raw material base especially in cotton and organic cotton, as cotton is the fibre for today and organic cotton is the fibre of the future. Thirdly, he was sure that with China losing competitiveness, there was an opportunity waiting to be taken as many buyers were looking at India as the option.
He felt that the future of retail was in smaller quantities and India was already a known player in the fashion-small quantity market where large scales of production is not required. “India with its talent for product development and fashion sensitivity could well become the new Italy in the next decade,” he said. Last but not the least, he was upbeat of the growing domestic market, which according to him was the alternate opportunity that exporters needed to expand operations and invest in scales and technology.
In the meanwhile, most of the exhibitors were happy with the visitation. “The buyer response has been wonderful this time and we have received bulk as well as sampling orders. Prints and solids have been equally popular, along with classic whites,” said Anju Sadh of Euro Expo. Adds Nimesh Kumar Sadh, Director, NP International, “We received decent visitation from European buyers, namely Spain, Germany, France and Denmark. There has been a good demand for flower and animal screen prints.” However, some exporters could not grab the opportunity because of lack of compatibility with buyer expectations. “We specialize in evening wear for women mostly in silk with embellishments on the top. This is our first time at the IIGF and though there are a lot of buyers at the fair, there is not much demand for the segment of clothing which we deal in,” said Rohini Manchanda of Lotus Apparels.
But not all first-time participants were disappointed and many who had the ‘right’ product were happy at the response. One such company Liberty Export, Surat shared that through the fair they are in discussion with 15 new buyers from the US and Australia, which more than made their participation fruitful. “One of the biggest reasons for our success is the product range that we are offering, which is women’s wear in polyester blends,” said Devkinandan Deorah of Liberty Exports. The range was a success because buyers were focusing on ‘price’ and by using 50% blend of polyester with silk, the garments became affordable. Other companies also reported an increased demand for polyester based garments. “There is an increased demand for synthetics and rayon garments from India as our country is now offering as competitive prices as China,” said Pankaj Rastogi, Head Design and Development, Goyal Fashions.
For regular exhibitors like Goyal Fashions, IIGF is a bi-annual meeting ground for regular buyers and any additional buyer is a bonus. “This year there were many new buyers and we received some serious enquiries from stores in Latin America. As we have never worked with this part of the world before, it is a big business opportunity and I am hoping to develop the market in future as well. At the fair they have placed small orders, but seem inclined towards a long-term association,” said Pankaj As many times before some exhibitors were unhappy with the quantities demanded. “Though this IIGF is far better than the last one, mainly because of the facilities provided by the authorities, many buyers, and those mainly from Australia are interested in small orders ranging from 200-500 pieces, which is disappointing as we cater to clients with a minimum order of 1000 pieces,” said Sapna, Merchandiser from Shah Originals.
There was great expectation of bigger buyer contingents from Japan and ASEAN countries, especially after the FTAs, but many were disappointed that there was no obvious increase of buyers from the region. “We have not seen many visitors from Japan and ASEAN countries though Asia is a big market and we should focus on it. A recently concluded fair for handicraft in Greater Noida saw a lot of buyers from these countries,” averred Khalid Mahmood Lari of Mia Dastkaar Zariwale, Lucknow. The company was displaying chikankari based hand embroidered garments.