NEW DELHI — Apparel factories across India will close down today, the first such strike in the country’s clothing industry, to protest rising domestic cotton prices.
The industry is seeking a total ban on exports of cotton yarn, the primary material used in the industry, which employs some 80 million Indians indirectly. In April this year, in response to pressure from the industry, the government banned raw cotton exports. Although that ban was later lifted, further export restrictions were put in place in October.
“Because of cotton yarn exports, there is a serious problem of cotton yarn availability in the domestic market,” said the All India Apparel Export Promotion Council, an umbrella body that represents most apparel manufacturers.
It added that its representatives across India, the world’s second-biggest exporter of cotton after the United States, would meet government officials to push for a ban.
Cotton yarn prices in India have risen from 185 rupees, or $4.07 at current exchange, a kilo in August to an all-time high of 240 rupees, or $5.28, a kilo, in turn pushing up fabric prices. This was hurting ordinary Indians, the AEPC said, pointing out the cost of a lungi — a wraparound skirt worn by men across southern India — had risen to 85 rupees, or $1.87, from 50 rupees, or $1.10, two months ago.
But it is the cost to India’s growing clothing exports that is mostly worrying apparel makers. In Tirupur, a factory hub in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, 20 percent of knitwear makers had closed their operations, the AEPC said.
Globally, cotton prices have been rising to record levels after adverse weather destroyed crops in China, Pakistan and the United States.
China’s demand for cotton outstripped domestic production by 3.6 million metric tons in 2009 to 2010, widening a supply deficit and contributing to rising prices.
Next, a British clothing retailer has said it will increase its prices by up to 8 percent in the first quarter of next year because of rising costs. And Arvind, the world’s largest denim maker and a supplier to Levi Strauss & Co. and Gap Inc., which is based in the west Indian state of Gujarat, has raised prices by as much as 15 percent.
In India, cotton growers tell a different story from apparel manufacturers.
The Cotton Association of India, which represents farmers and raw cotton merchants and lobbies against cotton export restrictions, said earlier this week that output in the year from Oct. 1 could well exceed estimates after the heaviest monsoon in three years encouraged farmers to plant a record cotton crop,
Sales by farmers were 2.55 million bales as of Oct. 31, the association said. Domestic demand may total 26.6 million bales, leaving a surplus of 24.05 million bales — making it difficult for the government to further restrict exports.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast