Innovations to Watch in the Indian Textile Industry
India is on its way to becoming the new global center for the production of textiles and garments. However, the innovations and their adoption would determine the future competitiveness of the Indian textile and apparel industry.
The textile and apparel industry in India is a major contributor to the country’s economic growth. It contributes nearly 5% of the country’s GDP and employs nearly 10 million people directly and through its allied sectors. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the industry is constantly adjusting its game to become the new global center for textile and apparel production, competing with countries like China, the European Union and Vietnam. However, with increased global competition, shifts in customer preferences and growing concerns over climate change, there is a need to focus on innovative solutions to maintain competitive advantage.
Innovation in today’s world must strike the right balance between two key factors: technology and sustainability. Modern disruptive solutions must be technologically scalable and at the same time environmentally sustainable. Over time, consumers have also become more inclined towards the Internet of Things (IoT), with brands and designers following suit. Whether in production, supply chain management or marketing, innovation remains at the heart of the textile sector.
In a 5-year horizon, innovations in the following areas and their adoption by the industry would determine the future competitiveness of the Indian textile and apparel industry.
The design and sale of a product is facilitated by new technological advances in design. When creating a new outfit, one of the first steps is to determine the optimal fit, such as how baggy or snug the outfit is supposed to be and 3D rendering can help with this procedure. Many brands are now also incorporating 3D printing into their collections because it produces less waste and requires less effort. Businesses also benefit from the ability to remotely manage and control their machines as well as collect data to improve their operations.
Blockchain for supply chain management
The emergence of blockchain has truly transformed the way global players approach their supply chain management challenges. This disruptive technology tracks all relevant data points seamlessly, helping not only manufacturers but also suppliers and distributors. Although still at a fairly nascent stage in India, blockchain would have an important role to play in how the industry interacts and executes transactions.
Innovation in athletics
With customers prioritizing their health, the athleisure category is quickly becoming popular with younger audiences. After being accepted in 2016, athleisure has now evolved as a mainstream culture across the world. In the future, this trend will continue with innovations in fabric, design and recyclable materials. While nylon and polyester are mostly used for their manufacturing process, in the future, fabrics made from organic cotton, bamboo and other sustainable materials would start to make their mark and disrupt the sportswear industry.
Personalization in the textile industry
Personalization has become one of the hottest trends in the apparel and fashion industry as more and more customers seek to create their own unique designs and styles. It also gives them the freedom to design their outfits according to the latest trends and seasons. Custom garments also complemented the growth in demand for high-quality fabrics, given their significantly longer shelf life.
With the ever-changing global weather conditions, the production of sustainable garments has become the need of the hour. Customers in the “Millennials” and “Gen Z” demographics are actively choosing eco-friendly brands. It’s also pushing conscious brands and conglomerates to embrace the new-age concept of “slow fashion”. As the use of recycled fabrics has increased, we are also seeing a trend of brands saving electricity and water by installing solar power plants and sewage treatment plants respectively. In addition, eco-friendly fabrics are being developed to turn waste into fibers.
With technological innovations and cross-cultural gaps, the textile and apparel sector in India is growing at a breakneck pace. The future for this industry looks bright, with increased innovation and strong domestic demand supported by increased exports.