The 10th edition of India Fashion Forum (IFF’ 10) kickstarted on a positive note with the inaugural address by IFF chairman Gautam Singhania. He indicated optimism citing a lot of expectations and hopes; with improved consumer sentiment and business growth, after the financial debacle of 2008-09. Commenting on the quick bounceback from the economic slowdown, Singhania predicted that the industry was on a solid ground for a great performance drive, not just through this year but for the long term. When economies such as US, Japan, Germany and France contracted, India recorded a 6.7 per cent growth with projections to touch 7-7.75 per cent in this financial year.
The backbone to India’s resilience lays in a long term outlook to business and focus on consumer benefits, said Singhania while explaining that India’s growth lay in its population – as generators of wealth for both producers and consumers. With the largest young population in the world – over 890 million people below 45 years of age, India indeed makes a resplendent international market. India has more English speaking people than in the whole of Europe taken together. As the economy grows, so does India’s consuming class. It is estimated that 140 million Indians will earn a salary of over USD 20,000 by 2011. The number of effective consumers is expected to swell to over 600 million by this time – sufficient to establish India as one of the largest consumer markets of the world. “China gives volume business while India gives value business,” Singhania pointed out.
The most awaited and anticipated seventh edition of the IMAGES Year Book was also launched by Singhania in this IFF. The book elucidates key trends in fashion and the growing markets.
Kishore Biyani, CEO, Future Group urged everyone to hold on to their entrepreneur instincts. He advised all retailers to build a portfolio of many brands and then pick up the right format (like Big Bazaar), all the while keeping a tab on the constantly changing consumers minds.
Another imminent panelist Ireena Vittal, principal, McKinsey (India), spoke at length about the growth drivers like affordability, occasion and style, which are crucial for the smooth functioning of all markets. She noted that as an industry, one needs to create occasions for consumption and create talents for industry and drive lower costs in the ecosystem. As a final word, Warkentin pointed out that the design of the products should be enhanced by the use of graphics and a ‘cheerful element’. She also harped upon the need to generate an element of global fusion by mixing and matching the traditional with the contemporary.
The Apparel Exporters Promotion Council (AEPC) conclave was anchored by Premal Udani, chairman, AEPC. Some of the leading exporters from the fashion industry debated on the prospective markets of the future by weighing out the global vs the domestic scenario.
— IndiaRetailing Bureau