The growing use of leggings â€” tight-fitting stretch pants by women usually made from a blend of lycra, cotton, nylon and viscose is proving costly for textile traders and entrepreneurs of Surat, a hub of man-made fabric as trade in Surti dress material has dipped by almost 45 percent.
The business in dress materials is worth Rs 14,000 crore annually. Of this, leggings have captured business of over Rs 2,500 crore as more and more women, including young girls and even elderly women are switching to the trendy leggings.
Some entrepreneurs in Surat have experimented with polyester leggings in the past one year but these are yet to achieve popularity as leggings made of cotton and viscose are preferred during summers.
According to Nimesh Jariwala, a manufacturer of polyester leggings, there are variations in legging designs and prints. The lycra gives the leggings extra flexibility and makes them look nice on women. However, the kurti or top dress worn with leggings is either made of cotton or polyester.
Now traders have been offering a set of leggings with kurti at throwaway prices, starting from Rs 200 to Rs 400 a set.
Leggings along with jeans have captured 20 to 25% of the dress material market in Surat, said Devkishan Mangani, chairman, Textile Trade Committee, South Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SGCCI). Surat will have to manufacture cotton leggings in the future to make up for loss in business.
When the leggings hit the market, textile traders thought the fad would last for two years but that did not happen. With organized players moving in, leggings have now become a major segment.
In the last couple of years, the demand for cloth has gone down drastically because of the legging trend. Earlier, around 6.5 meter cloth was required for a top and salwar suit. Now the demand for this fabric has come down by almost 50%.
There is a huge shift from dress material made of cloth to leggings which are cost-effective as much less fabric is needed for the stretch-pants than for dress materials.
According to Jitu Vakharia, chairman of a dyeing and printing mill in Surat, leggings trend which has began has affected the dress material industry in a big way.
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