Indian textile industry showcases its wares in South Africa

March 24th, 2009 - 3:11 pm ICT by IANS  

By Fakir Hassen
Johannesburg/Cape Town, March 24 (IANS) Two dozen Indian manufacturers and exporters are showcasing their latest designer collections, fabric and yarn at a trade show as India said it is willing to assist South Africa in developing human capital to improve productivity and skills in the textile industry.

Indian Textiles Secretary Rita Menon was speaking in Cape Town at the weekend at the opening of the first leg of the India Clothing & Textile Mega Trade Show, which has since moved to the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

Menon mooted the possibility of a memorandum of understanding being signed between the different sectors in the textile industry in South Africa and organisations such as India’s National Institute for Fashion Technology as a step in this direction.

A successful exercise along these lines has been a training centre which had been established in Ethiopia to help develop local skills and could serve as a model for the rest of Africa.

Ranges on display include women’s wear, men’s wear, children’s wear, fashion fabrics, home textiles and fabrics, and yarn. Daily fashion shows are also taking place.

“We had targeted getting 400 visitors each in Cape Town and Johannesburg, and we got more than 780 in Cape Town alone, so it augers well for Johannesburg,” said Deidre Hart, local organiser of the trade show put together by the Apparel Export Promotion Council of India.

Hart told IANS that there been great interest from almost every major South African clothing chain store group, although some had expressed concern about cheaper options available from China, India’s largest competitors in this area.

“But the Indian manufacturers have slowly worked on positioning themselves in the niche market for quality and have gained acceptance by meeting the demands of South African buyers.”

Virender Chopra, an executive member of the Apparel Export Promotion Council of India, told IANS that India had an advantage over China of greater creativity in design and in being able to produce smaller quantities to meet the demands of wholesalers and retailers from several countries in Southern Africa who had shown interests in the items on offer.

“There are Indian manufacturers who are recognised by some of the world’s leading brands for their high quality, and this is very encouraging,” Chopra added.

He said there were many emerging young designers in India who took inspiration from Paris and other fashion capitals of the world and the Council planned to include them in future shows.

Indian Consul-General Navdeep Suri, who has played a major role in organising Indian participation in international exhibitions here for almost every month during the first half of this year, told IANS it was part of an ongoing commitment by India to build political, economic, academic and trade links with South Africa.

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