HONG KONG — China’s growing prowess in global textile production was the talk of the trading floor at this month’s Interstoff Asia show.
Exhibitors and buyers discussing their capabilities and sourcing plans inevitably included China in their strategies, whether it was doing more business there or finding ways to compete with the countries’ combination of low wages and expertise.
Anil Sharma, senior manager for exports at India’s Raymond Ltd., whose company was one of the 300 exhibitors from 16 countries at the three-day event that wrapped up Oct. 8, said he expects the looming end of apparel and textile quotas among the 148 World Trade Organization “will be good for us.”
Raymond, which produces 20 million to 30 million meters of fabric a year in its denim division, is opening a jeans unit in Bangalore, India, to attract business from China. It’s expected to open in January and produce 10,000 garments a day.
“No one wants to put all their eggs in one basket in terms of infrastructure, feasibility and manpower,” Sharma said.
The firm offered denim made from ring-spun yarns, which allows for a smoother hand. The fabric also goes through a moisturizing procedure to take out the starch.
Ben Yi, a general manager of Samsung’s Textile Team Trading Group of South Korea, said he doesn’t think the end of the quota regime will be that dramatic because “there are so many limitations already.”
Still, he acknowledged that China’s market share is likely to grow dramatically after the quotas are lifted.
South Korean manufacturers were out in force, with 28 joining together in a Rediscover Korea pavilion with 28 booths.
That nation’s industry has changed rapidly over the past eight years, shifting its focus to fashionable and high-tech products from more basic goods. The switch has been a matter of survival, said John Chung, who heads marketing for South Korea’s International Textile Fair Preview in Daegu.
The textile business is downsizing in South Korea as the market shifts to China.
“We can’t compete in terms of price,” Chung said.
So the industry set out to follow what Chung dubs the Japan model: creating high-tech, high-value functional textiles to take South Korea out of direct competition with China.
A Stella McCartney sketch of a custom dress made from protein-based silk in partnership with biotech lab Bolt Threads. The dress will be displayed at The Museum of Modern Art's upcoming design exhibition, "Items: Is Fashion Modern?"