Garment exporters in Tirupur currently dominated by cotton garments are seeing opportunity in synthetic garments, as labour costs are increasing in China, which dominate the global synthetic garment business.
According to Tirupur Exporters' Association (TEA), garment exporters are in the process of tapping synthetic and blended garment segments in a big way, which constitute about 70 percent of global demand.
Tirupur, which exported garments worth Rs 18,500 crore last year, has a share of Rs 2,500 crore to Rs 3,000 crore in synthetic and blended garments, mainly winter garments, TEA president A Shaktivel said.
Despite overall continued growth and demand for garments from this town, no extra effort was taken to increase the share of garments made of man-made fibre, like clothes of synthetic fibre.
Through Knitwear Technology Mission ( KTM), which started its operations in Tirupur, it would be easy to produce garments using synthetic fabric, which until now was manufactured after imports from China.
The frequent fluctuation on higher side in the cotton yarn prices also put the knitwear segment in problem, decreasing profit margin, the man made fibre, which was steady, would be helpful to tide over the crisis, he said.
Tirupur can get business throughout the year with the synthetic garments and the exporters were catering to the demand of spring and summer garments in Europe and US markets, which accounted for about 48 and 25 per cent respectively.
Another major market emerging was fluorescent jacket used by police officials during night, which was estimated at four billion US dollars across the world and the medical textile and sportswear segment was also emerging, with blood stain free and capable of absorbing sweat, giving comfort to players and looked up as performance wears.
But, processing is a major challenge as it requires high pressure dyeing machine. On investments, A Shaktivel said that the circular knitting machine that are used for making cotton fabric costs Rs 10 lakh-30 lakh, while the average cost of a machine that produces synthetic fabric is around Rs three crore.
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