The 25th International Apparel Federation (IAF) World Apparel Convention (WAC) opened to a house full of delegates from across the retail brands, textile and apparel business. The delegates in the convention were from Reliance Retail, Marks & Spencer, H & M, Pepe, Van Heusen, Reebok, and Nike, amongst many others. It was jointly organised by the IAF and the Clothing Manufacturers Association Of India (CMAI).
The convention focused on the theme, ‘The Future of Fashion through Consolidation and Collaboration’. Inaugurating the convention hon’able union minister of textiles, Dayanidhi Maran, said, “There is an urgent need to attract and sustain FDI in the textile sector if India has to achieve the goals of employment generation, technology upgradation, creation of brand India and attain 4% share in global trade of textiles and clothing. Post-recession, India which is the only bright spot along with China in an otherwise bleak global economic scenario, with an ever increasing per capita, household and discretionary income, will be an attractive destination in the coming years.”
The Indian textiles and apparel industry is currently valued at US $ 40 billion and is growing at 14% annually according to Government of India statistics. Jyotiraditya Scindia, hon’able union minister of State for Commerce and Industry, adds, “India’s assets – its skilled manpower, diverse raw-material base and a growing economy – will be critical towards attracting foreign investment. The Ministry of Commerce and Industry is taking special steps towards cutting transaction costs in trade and is also looking at diversifying Indian exports to new and emerging markets.”
“There is an urgent need to attract and sustain FDI in the textile sector if India has to achieve the goals of employment generation, technology upgradation, creation of brand India and attain 4% share in global trade of textiles and clothing.”
–Dayanidhi Maran, Textile Minister
This is the first time in 25 years that the convention has come to India. Vassilis Masselos, president, IAF, commended the textile and apparel business community in India for its innovation and vision in growing the category.
He said, “Over the last five years we have seen India growing from a sourcing hub for textiles to a fashion destination. The entrepreneurs and executives from the industry here have a large role to play in this paradigm shift.”
The two-day convention held between 19-20 November 2009 at Hotel Taj Palace, New Delhi, was against a challenging back-drop where many companies are just recovering from the economic crisis. Rahul Mehta, president, CMAI, adds, “We are here to explore experiences, opinions, strategies and possibilities of forging inter-dependent relationships that will help us rise through the challenges.
The convention saw approximately 300 stakeholders from the global textile and apparel industry deliberate on trade regulations, the growth of emerging markets, etc. “Today the textile industry contributes around 14% to industrial production in the country, 4% to the GDP, and is estimated to directly employ approximately 35 million people apart from the indirect employment in allied sectors, thus making it the second largest employer after agriculture. It accounts for about 15% to the country’s exports, and is, in sum, an important economic engine for the nation,” adds Prashant Agarwal, vice-president, Technopak, knowledge partner to the 25th IAF World Apparel Convention.
— IndiaRetailing Bureau