JOHANNESBURG — In five years, the annual India Clothing & Textile Mega Trade Show, held in the key South African cities of Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban, has grown to 42 from 18 exhibitors.
The trade show, organized by India’s Apparel Export Promotion Council, highlights the deepening industry ties between India and South Africa. At the end of this year’s shows, footfall was recorded at 1,250, with buyers from the major retail chains in South Africa, among them Woolworths, Truworths, Mr Price, Edgars, Guess and Foschini, paying a visit. According to AEPC, at least 10 exporters reported having taken orders on the spot.
India is emerging as a powerhouse in the global textile industry. Its clothing and textile sector continues to grow, with the Clothing Manufacturers Association of India now counting 20,000 members. By 2011, the Indian textile sector is estimated to reach about $90 billion. After China, India ranks second in worldwide textile development. According to Durban-based textile industry analyst and consultant Renato Palmi, in the last quarter of 2009, India’s $5 billion textile export sector had marginal drops due to the global recession and declining orders from the U.S. and Europe.
“India’s industry is not immune to global economic shifts, but its government has been proactive in allocating around $510 million to assist domestic textile companies last year,” Palmi said.
The South African textile industry has not fared as well. Palmi said it could learn a lot from India, “particularly with regard to the integration of textile into design.”
He said, “The industry in South Africa is still fragmented. There is no close cooperation between designers and textile manufacturers, whereas in India, both sectors work closely together, offering products with added value. Moreover, the strong support the Indian government extends to its textile and apparel sector could encourage government and industry to work closer together in South Africa.”
Durban is home to the largest population of Indians or South Africans of Indian descent outside of India. Numbering over 1 million, they comprise around 2 percent of South Africa’s total population, yet they represent considerable economic power.
“They are becoming more sophisticated as a market,” said Palmi. “You didn’t see saris or Nehru jackets, instead you saw very Westernized fashions. The Indian clothing manufacturers clearly know their market.”
India is also striving to dispel its image as a producer of cheap clothing and textiles, said Deidre Hart, the Cape Town-based organizer of the India Clothing & Textile Trade Show in South Africa.
“This is a high-end trade fair,” Hart said. “It provides an excellent opportunity for serious buyers and sellers to build business relationships, and the delegations from India also include trend forecasters.”
Contrary to fears from South African industry skeptics that Indian manufacturers were out to “dump” cheap clothing into the country, Hart said, “Indian manufacturers have gradually worked to position themselves in the niche market for quality and have gained acceptance by meeting the demands of South African buyers.
“Quite a lot of exhibitors come out for joint ventures,” she said. “They are looking to import raw materials from S.A., such as yarns and wools, and then reexporting the finished garments back to S.A.”
Palmi agreed, “The Indians don’t want to undermine local industry and they don’t want to be known as cheap suppliers to the market. They are more interested in sharing their knowledge with local partners.”
South Africa represents a huge market for India, Palmi noted, adding there are Indians throughout the African continent, and “India can use South Africa as a springboard into the [Southern African Development Community] and the rest of Africa.”
According to AEPC chairman Premal Udani, Indian exports of ready-made garments to South Africa rose 12.71 percent to $9.5 million in 2008.
“India has a lot of potential to increase its exports,” Udani said.
There are a few snags, however, such as South Africa recently raising the duty on clothing to 45 from 40 percent. Duty on fabrics remains at 26 percent.
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye
Did you know: @carlychaikin of "Mr. Robot" has been painting for about a decade? The actress, who plays Darlene on the show, is a self-taught artist who lists Salvador Dalí and Chuck Close as some of her idols. Chaikin told WWD that painting is a form of meditation for her — A much-needed one given the intensity of "Mr. Robot." See a piece Chaikin is working on at WWD.com (📷: @jilliansollazzo) #wwdeye