- Meenakshi Kumar |
The 63rd National Garment Fair, organised by Clothing Manufacturer’s Association of India (CMAI), recently concluded at the Bombay Exhibition Centre, Mumbai. The three-day fair from July 13-15, was spread over a 5,50,000 square feet space and witnessed the presence of more than 40,000 retailers and distributors on a pan-India level. The B2B fair, regarded as the biggest in India, saw the participation of 812 brands representing men’s, women’s and kid’s segment. Happy with the response Rahul Mehta, President CMAI says, “The 63rd NGF was a rip roaring success from all points of view with record breaking number of participants, overwhelming response from retailers, and much higher than expected order bookings at the fair.” Mehta points out, the somewhat sluggish sentiments of the market prior to the fair had made them cautious about expectations but the response exceeded their highest estimates.
Times have changed, fair has grown
Earlier, NGF’s used to have participants only from Mumbai but now it has grown big and has pan-India participation. Earlier there were only 300-400 stalls but over the years things have changed. Says Babubhai S Ayar, Honorary General Secretary, CMAI, “Brands have used the CMAI platform to grow. Name any national level brand, Madura, Pepe, Raymond, Lee Cooper, and it has grown with the help of CMAI. Top names in the Hindi film industry have used this platform. Films and the garment industry share the themes of glamour, fashion, colours and styles. There are serials that have promoted ethnic wear. As a result ethnic wear is doing huge volumes all over India.”
Even though brands participate big time in the fair, unbranded sector too is part of the fair. Considering it is 70 per cent of the garment sector, it is tough to ignore it. As Ayar says, “This fair has been especially buoyant because the garment industry had been dormant for the last few years and is showing signs of recovery. The rains have sparked optimism. Business seems like reviving and there was a buzz at the stalls.”
Even for participants the CMAI is a great platform. As Bipin Acharya, Manager (sales and marketing), Antigravity commented, “This is our second time at the fair. It gives us all India exposure and visibility.”
New initiatives, better schemes make the fair attractive
Mehta says, this year CMAI organized a separate Bengal pavilion, a first-of-its-kind initiative which was greatly appreciated by all. In fact, Iranian delegation was extremely happy to see the display as they said, “We were completely taken by surprise by the quality of design, product, and presentation. We never expected this level from India.” he added. Over the years, says Mehta, regional and national brands have understood the value of branding that this platform provides. What’s more, big brands like Classic Polo, Biba, Spykar, 109°F, Fusion Beats, Kewal Kiran etc, has shown equal interest in the fair, even though there booking cycle and branding is different, they are participating. A very positive sign for CMAI, and he feels the number may go up. “It was a challenge to manage the crowd which was really high this time. We are doing everything to make registration process hassle-free and convenient, we are doing online registration for the last three years and people are showing interest in that.”
Clearly even if the garment industry is going through a dull patch, the fair has instilled a lot of positivity in the market. And the recent textile package introduced by the government should provide enough boost pep up the market.