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The International Apparel Federation (IAF) has signed a MoU with the Hong Kong General Chamber of Textiles (HKGCOT). The aim is to exchange knowledge on innovation, apparel markets and international business opportunities.

The MoU will give the IAF an important connection in the vibrant fashion industry of Hong Kong. It helps to further the IAF’s aim to build bridges across continents by attracting fashion entrepreneurs from Hong Kong to IAF’s international conventions and vice versa, to bring information and connections from across the world to Hong Kong.

The collaboration with IAF is a step further in Hong Kong’s goal to globalise local designer brands and to create opportunities for young promising designers to get international exposure. Last year HKGCOT signed an MoU with IAF member American Apparel and Footwear Association. In collaborating, HKGCOT can strengthen its knowledge on overseas markets by using IAF’s network which reaches over 50 countries and the biggest apparel markets.

Hong Kong is a hub for the international fashion industry, especially in the areas of design, sourcing and education. Large fashion shows and exhibitions are held regularly in Hong Kong each year which attract businesses around the world. The mission of the IAF is to develop business contacts which foster dialogue and knowledge exchange between individuals active in the world apparel value chain.

For the next year Vardhaman Textiles expects profits to be within the range of 18 to 22 per cent. Last year was an abnormally profitable year for the company. The EBITDA margin (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) was 25.7.

The group has about Rs 700 crores of repayment coming up, so the first objective is to clear those repayments. It’s also open to a good acquisition opportunity. The first of its capex plans has been announced. About Rs 600 crores is going into its fabric business which will increase its capacity by about 45 million meters over the next three years.

The last two quarters were a little tough because of sliding cotton prices, which was due to the new cotton crop coming in. That process has stopped and now onwards cotton prices are at normal levels. The latest book value of the company is Rs 447.48 per share. The net debt-equity of Vardhaman Textiles on a consolidated basis would be in the range of 0.5-0.7.

Since every year good quality cotton stops becoming available May onwards, the company does cotton procurement up to next April. Vardhaman Acrylics is sitting on a lot of cash and is examining opportunities for diversification.

Textiles should be kept in the lowest tax slab when goods and services tax (GST) comes into effect, say OP Lohia, chairman of Indo Rama Synthetics (IRISL), and vice-chairman and managing director of Filatex India Madhu Bhageria. They point out that the industry is going through a tough phase and needs a boost. Both, Lohia and Bhageria, recently met minister of state for textile Santosh Kumar Gangwar, who was briefed about the demands. It was stressed that the minister should ensure this industry is kept in the lowest slab of tax rates in the GST regime. The government plans to bring GST, which clubs all indirect taxes into one, from next year onwards.

Man-made fibre industry was hoping for a reduction in excise duty to 6 per cent down from 12.36 per cent. Rather, the rates were increased to 12.50 per cent instead. There was no allocation for the technical upgradation fund (TUF), though it was demanded by all textile industry associations, apart from lobbies like FICCI and CITI, the minister was told. It was mentioned that the budget did not have any major announcement for the sector despite the fact that it was going through a tough phase.

Lohia suggested focus on export of textile garments so that the entire value chain in the industry is benefited. He said MMF sector needs major attention from government. If enough focus is not given at this time, other countries like Vietnam, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Pakistan can overtake India. It was stressed that government should take steps to boost production capabilities of this industry.

Ahead of the second anniversary of the deadly Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh, some victims are still awaiting compensation. Hence, the Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI), the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) and Social Accountability International (SAI) have urged brands and retailers, who sourced from Rana Plaza, as well as Bangladeshi public and private partners to make a contribution to close the current funding gap and fully compensate victims of the tragedy.

In a joint statement, the organisations commended the companies that have already contributed to the Rana Plaza Trust Fund, established in January 2014 to collect contributions and hold them in trust under specified terms and to be used to cover payments to Rana Plaza victims and their families. However, to brands that haven’t contributed, the organisations have appealed to help ensure those in need receive support.

If Bangladeshi partners engage in completing care for the victims, BSCI, ETI and SAI said it would demonstrate their commitment to protecting ready-made garment (RMG) workers, and lend credibility to the International Labour Organization (ILO)-led discussions about establishing insurance for workers in the country. The proposed Employment Injury Insurance, a key component of the National Tripartite Plan of Action on Fire Safety, would ensure protection for all RMG workers and compensation for any work-related accidents.

According to BSCI managing director, Lorenz Berzau, the country needs to invest in a mechanism that protects workers and compensate victims. In addition, it will have a very positive impact on the competitiveness and reputation of the garment sector in the country and send a strong message to the international community that lessons have been learned after Rana Plaza incident.

The next edition of Première Vision Live will take place in Shanghai next April 13. This event marks the beginning of a new strategic approach to the Chinese market. “Première Vision Paris has an unrivalled reputation among premium brands in China. The February 2015 edition again saw increased numbers of buyers. But we also believe it’s important to continue to bring textile excellence to China. We’ll be unveiling the concept for the new event over the coming months,” said Guglielmo Olearo, Director of International Shows.

Première Vision Live will focus on special events and discussions in the heart of Shanghai’s fashion district - One Xintiandi. A special selection of jacquards, illustrated by fabric samples, will be presented by Sabine Le Chatelier, Première Vision Deputy Fashion Director. This exclusive master class will be followed by a presentation of the Première Vision Paris fashion tools and a focus on Spring/Summer 2016 highlights. The evening will be dedicated to the launch of the

Première Vision brand and its adaptation in Chinese.
Collaborations with the fashion department of the University of Donghua and the Chinese designer Rachelle Jim will make their presence felt during the event. Première Vision Live is organized in partnership with the Shanghai Fashion Week.

Union textiles minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar, inaugurated the Manipur Sericulture Project Management Complex at Sangaipat, Imphal East. He said the state’s unemployment problem can be solved if proper emphasis is given to development of handloom and handicraft and sericulture. Gangwar and Chief Minister of Manipur, O Ibobi, also laid the foundation stones for Apparel and Garment Making Centre and Powerloom Estate, Lamboi-khongnangkhong, Imphal. He also launched a scheme to promote use of a geotechnical textiles in the NE region of India and two sericulture schemes of Manipur Sericulture Project Phase-II for valley districts of Manipur and Integrated Sericulture Development Project for Hill Districts of Manipur. These schemes reflect the government’s keen intention to bring inclusive development in the NE region.

These initiative have been taken up under the North East Region Textile Promotion Scheme (NERTPS), an umbrella scheme for development of various segments of textile industry launched by the Ministry of Textiles. Apparel and Garment Making Centre, Manipur is fully funded by the Ministry of Textiles and it is expected to generate direct employment for 1,200 people. There would be three units with 100 machines and their capacity would be augmented so as to create entrepreneurs and skilled workforce for the apparel sector.

Swedish brands Indiska, KappAhl and Lindex in partnership with more than 40 Indian textile and garment suppliers have decided to reduce environmental impact and improve capacity of supply chains through a unique project for cleaner production. The new project has saved 284 million liters of water and 402 tons of chemicals annually and is now being scaled up to include several Indian states and four other countries in the world. It involves more than 120 suppliers globally.

A training project set up by India-based Sustainable Water Resources (SWAR), a cooperation between the Swedish brands Indiska, KappAhl and Lindex and their Indian suppliers, along with the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), Sida and India-based consultant cKinetics claims to have reduced the environmental impact of textile supply chains in India through improved resource efficiency.

SWAR was co-financed by brands and Sida, in a public–private partnership that linked business and international development goals. More than 40 factories participated in the project. The factories were also able to save on an average 3 per cent of their energy cost and 3 per cent of their operational costs. The project trained more than 13,000 factory workers and managers in the past two years.

India plans to set up readymade garment manufacturing units in each of the eight north eastern states to boost the textile industry in and export of readymade garments from the region. The garments would be exported to neighboring countries. Nearly Rs 18 crores will be provided for each readymade garment manufacturing unit. All the units would be run by small entrepreneurs. Around 300 women would be engaged in manufacturing garments in each unit.

The units are expected to meet the demand for garments from police and paramilitary forces in every state besides government officials as well as school uniforms. The government-run National Building Constructions Corporation would set up the units in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Mizoram, Sikkim and Tripura. The foundation stones in Nagaland and Manipur were laid recently.

The textile ministry and state governments would observe the functioning of these units but would not play any role in their day-to-day work. The Northeastern states border China, Myanmar, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Nepal. Some of the states have trade ties with some of these countries, especially Bangladesh and Myanmar. India’s share in the global apparel and garment market is now just 3.7 per cent as against Bangladesh’s 6.1 per cent and Vietnam’s 4.3 per cent.

Aquarelle India, which currently has four units in Bangalore, now plans to build a new unit outside the metro. The company aims to invest Rs 100 crores in the current financial year to open new units. As a part of CIEL, formerly known as Deep River Investment (DRI), Aquarelle plans to set up new unit over 5.5 acres area, which will have 850 buttonhole sewing machines.

The company currently has production capacity of producing 3.5 million shirts per year and aims to double capacity within two years. Catering to brands like Diesel, CK, Tommy, Esprit and Ben Sherman it also wants to invest in the design-to-deliver concept.

The company , which now wants to move production to labour-intensive areas, expects the government to create training centres in rural areas, for the apparel industry. The company also has units in Mauritius producing around 2.5 million shirts per year with major exports to the US-based labels like J Crew, Dillards, Eddie Bauer, Joseph Abboud and Men’s Wearhouse, among others. It also has the capacity of producing three million units in Madagascar with one factory in Antananarivo and another in Antsirabe.

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Milano Unica VII successfully concluded at the National Exhibition and Convention Center, Shanghai. Correlated exhibitions including Intertextile with Milano Unica and Chic with The Micam Shanghai & Italian Fashion @ Chic were also held simultaneously.

The exceptional number of visitors attending the various events was the result of a synergy developed between these impressive fashion trade shows featuring raw materials to finished garments. The Italian fashion network benefitted from the debut of finished clothing  and footwear products inside Chic, accompanied by Milano Unica for the textile-accessories division, through the coordination between the Ice Agency, and the economic and institutional support of the Ministry of Economic Development.

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After seven editions, the event is considered an essential point of reference. “The combined presentation with the fashion production chain is an example of the importance of creating a valid network, especially when it comes to distant markets,” said Silvio Albini, President of Milano Unica. 

A total of 104 exhibitors displayed their offerings to 3,500 select visitors, the figures perfectly in line with the S/S edition held in March 2014. The Chinese market, is continuously evolving and currently undergoing a period of adjustment following the introduction of ‘new normality’, a result of the anti-corruption law passed by the government of  Xi Jinping, welcomed Italian textiles and accessories with a new outlook. Following the constant growth in sales, a temporary halt in exports, especially for the woolen division had begun to worry Italian entrepreneurs operating at the initial phases of fashion production. However, after numerous seasons of overstocking, Chinese buyers showed a growing need to source fabrics.

As forecasted by experts at Bain & Company, the slowdown affecting the woolen division is expected to diminish, and export should become stable or even show signs of growth, thanks to a recovery of the ‘uniform’ market. Large Chinese companies that purchase formal outfits will create an important opportunity for classic-formal production. Italian firms are now witnessing change in the buying behavior of Chinese consumers, who are now moving to upper casual and sportswear products. This new tendency has motivated designers to innovate.

The passion of Chinese designers is demonstrated by special attention to exclusive products and services that only the Italian textile network is able to offer, like innovation, research and taste, that too in limited quantities. The Asian giant now seems to prefer small amount of unique products. Despite economic changes, the country's potential for growth is still very high because of the rise in purchasing power of the middle class consumers.

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