Denimsandjeans director on overproduction and the key challenges for Indian denim industry

Overproduction and an inward-looking tendency are the biggest challenges for the Indian denim industry as it got into a hyper-expansion mode without thinking about its impact, says Sandeep Agarwal, director, Denimsandjeans, a trade fair organised in India, Bangladesh and Vietnam that provides a global platform for interaction for the denim community.



Denimsandjeans is a trade fair that provides a global platform for interaction and business for the denim community. The shows are held in India, Bangladesh and Vietnam. The second edition of Denimsandjeans India show in Bengaluru on August 1-2 witnessed the presence of leading denim brands, retailers, buying houses, design studios and factories in the denim supply chain. Founder Sandeep Agarwal talks about the highs and lows of the Indian denim industry.

F2F: How has the show evolved over the years?

The Denimsandjeans show has evolved over the years touching many locations and involving the global denim industry. From a small show in 2014, we have now achieved global recognition with the industry appreciating the value they get from the show.

F2F: How would you describe the market for denims in India?

The market for denims in India is very different from that of other countries. India is predominantly a men's market with over 80 per cent share, though women's denim share is on the rise. The unorganised sector takes about 85 per cent share, while the organised is getting its act together and will see better figures in the coming years. But on the whole, the market is buoyant and demand is on the rise.

F2F: What are the top three innovations being exhibited at the show?

I think sustainable solutions from various technology providers; yarn and chemical suppliers were very important as were some sustainable fabrics provided by some mills. Besides, we saw innovation in stretchability and recoveries in fabrics by some companies. Finishing of fabric has undergone improvement over time and there is also a sustainable angle to the same besides the fashion element.

F2F: What was the theme of this year's event?

Our theme was Gender Free. This theme has been in vogue globally where the boundaries between male and female garments are thinning down. This has its resultant impact on the supply chain as well. We wanted our industry to be more aware and prepared about the same.

F2F: Which new countries participated this year in the event?

The new participants this year included Turkey, China, San Marino and the Netherlands.

F2F: How different is the Vietnam show from the Indian version?

The Indian edition is focused more on the domestic market as India is already the second largest market for denims. This makes it very interesting for the supply chain to meet all the brands, retailers and distributors at one place. On the other hand, our international shows, for instance the Vietnam one, focus more on global visitors who come to source denim from there. The fabric manufacturers and garment industry from those locations want to showcase their products to the visiting buyers from the European Union and the United States.

F2F: How many Indian companies participated in the Vietnam denim fairs?

We normally get about 40-50 Indian companies joining us at the Vietnam edition.

F2F: What are the latest trends in denim technologies and production?

Though there are a lot of developments in dyeing and finishing, I would say that the key theme is sustainability. A variety of technologies going around this theme are the latest trend, whether it relates to using recycled fibres to making yarns, or to use sustainable dyeing methods and chemicals, or eco-friendly finishing  or the usage of minimum water in all processes and garment production. The entire development revolved around sustainability.

F2F: What are the challenges that the Indian denim industry and manufacturers face?

The Indian denim industry today faces the biggest challenge of overproduction. It got into hyper mode of expansion without realising the consequences. This is causing pain in the industry. The industry is mostly inward looking, i.e., focused on the domestic market. This is a big negative trait as it keeps the industry out of international trends, pressures and resultant innovations. Organised garment manufacturing in large capacities is missing in the country, making us weaker in innovations in that field. We have limited vertically-integrated units, which is the need of the hour for many large buyers. Our human skills have really not grown the way they should have over the years because of less global integration. Our costs of production, especially in apparel, are not very competitive. We really need to focus on efficiency to reduce costs. I also think the government needs to create a better climate for the industry to thrive, especially as it has huge employment potential.

F2F: What can be expected from the next show?

Well, you must wait and see. I am sure we will further upgrade the show and create more value for all stakeholders.

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