India has been in the textile business for the longest time. This sector is in fact one of the oldest in the Indian economy dating back to many centuries. Besides being one of the imperative industries, it also contributes to 7 per cent of industrial output in terms of value, 2 per cent of India’s GDP and to 15 per cent of country’s export earnings. The textiles and apparel industry is the second largest employer in the country providing employment to 45 million people and it is expected that this number will increase to 55 million by 2020.
The fashion trajectory in India has witnessed a huge transformation in the past 10 years, and gone are the days when local fabrics stores and street durzis were the only resort to get something designed. While readymade garments segment has reserved its own share of market, the present time is looking at a revival of the fabric and made-to-measure industry, offering customised clothing options to the discerning. OCM Pvt. Ltd. read the nerve of this market in time to rule this industry as a manufacturer as well as a retailer of fabrics. While its journey started from Turkey as a carpet manufacturer, it gradually moved to its present status of being one of the fastest growing worsted fabric manufacturer offering wool and wool blended fabrics. The firm primarily offers suits and jacket fabrics that lie at the core of its brand assortment. The global textile mills market is forecast to reach US $ 842.6 billion in value in 2020, an increase of 26.2 per cent since 2015. Meanwhile, the Indian textiles industry is expected to grow to US $ 250 billion by 2019 with a CAGR growth of 14 per cent from 2009.
What’s on offer?
OCM has been at the top for years now, innovating and growing with time. The company prides in its brand assortment which includes Grado (offering affordable luxury wool and wool blended products for blazers, trousers and suitings), Siena (offering polyester viscose fabric in trendy, youthful and vibrant colours), Ferrara (premium suiting and jacketing fabrics, and blends of cashmere, mohair, silk, rose and milk fibres), and Moda Biella (luxury range of wool and wool blends).
“OCM is into fabrics and few end-products like shawls and scarves, and made-to-measure clothing options for suits, jackets and trousers. Besides offering the best tweeds and flannels in the world, we are into wool flannels, worsted trousers or fine wool and wool blended suits, acrylic shirting. We also do a bit of polyester viscose fabric which is the entry point in the mass premium category. In terms of product ratio, 80 per cent of our products are in wool and wool blended categories which bring in the maximum revenue, and in that category, pure wool jackets and flannels are the bestselling products, even as the other 20 per cent of the product assortment is acrylic and polyester viscose fabric,” asserts Vikram Mahaldar, Managing Director & CEO, OCM Pvt Ltd.
The firm launches two collections annually – Autumn/Winter and Spring/Summer. The collections usually offer close to 800 fabrics in different designs, and out of these, at least 200-300 fabrics are tweeds and flannels and jacket fabrics. These fabrics are stocked by close to 2,000 retailers across the country with whom the firm works directly and around 5,000 retailers who are serviced through OCM’s 65-70 wholesale channels. Besides having an expansive network of retail stores offering its products, OCM also prides in having a wide range of age bracket as its target consumers.
The back-end processes
OCM is majorly a manufacturing heavy firm with 80 per cent of its range and products in-house and only the remaining 20 per cent which are specialised products, being sourced from China or Italy. Vikam avers, “Sometimes we may have to buy some products from China and Italy to offer something new to our customers or to gain some advantages in terms of what is happening in the market but that is a very small proportion. The majority of products in this category are manufactured in house and even acrylic fabric is manufactured in house by us. So we only buy fibre and then convert it into fabric in our Amritsar facility. We source polyester viscose fabrics from China and partly from our parent company Donear . We also buy cotton from Donear since it is supposed to be the country’s best cotton bottom weight quality manufacturer.”
The lead time of the products at OCM depends on season-to-season. The winter season which is typically from May to December is the most occupied time, and so, the lead time is close to 90 days whereas the time duration from January to May, that is, the summer season reduces the lead time to 60-75 days. OCM launches its winter collection in the first week of June and its summer collection around the last week of December or first week of January. GBTL has a capacity of over 35,040 spindles and 140 looms for production and three looms for sampling. The process house has the capacity to finish 20 million metres per year. GBTL has its own captive 8 MV thermal power plant to take care of its own power needs. About 60 per cent of production is for exports. OCM’s annual capacity is 8 million metres.
Polyester viscose is majorly outsourced by OCM and this contributes to around 10 per cent of the total product volume while it is negligible when it comes to wool and wool blended fabric. “Even in poly viscose, we do not outsource fabrics used for summer uniforms for the police department or khakis. For this, we only buy yarn and we weave and finish it in-house,” he adds.
The designing decision at OCM is an amalgamation of the domestic trends and international trends. While zeroing in on the domestic trends, the firm looks at the demography, consumer preference, climatic conditions, etc., before finalising the designs. “Soon after launching the summer range, our sales team and design team go out, travel and see what is selling, what the consumers are asking for, if a trend from the previous season is still going strong, the colours that are in vogue, if the demand for a particular print of design is coming up and in what percentage, etc. Analysing these points and also consulting our European advisors (who forecast 2 seasons ahead) is what makes up our design language for the next collection. Furthermore, if need be, our design team also travels to Milano Unica to get an insight on the trending colours, designs selling internationally, etc. After the textile designing team comes up with the range, it goes through our select trade partners and our sales team who, on the basis of what they see and observe, give their feedback to the designers, post which the designers present the final range after compiling everything,” elaborates Vikram.
Expansion of brand portfolio
While OCM has been ahead of its game from the very beginning, it expanded its brand assortment with Italian brands Moda Biella and Ferrara. “We mostly work on multi-brand format and it was imperative for us to have a number of brands present under one roof to offer different product ranges to our consumer base. In order to keep the multi-brand business alive and to service the growing middle class who are aspiring for luxury brands, we identified this wide space and then came up with Ferrara which entered the market 3 years back (the brand offers an array of worsted fabrics spun in exotic blends such as milk fibres, rose fibres, cashmere, mohair, etc.) and then brought in Moda Biella in September 2019 (it offers a brilliant array of unique fabrics in exotic blends of cashmere, merino, silk and linen). Ferrara focuses more on jacketing, and Moda Biella focuses more on suits. So, now we have a range of fabrics in each segment and these brands, in no way, compete with the existing brands since they are mass level brands and cater to a large audience but niche customers,” says Vikram. From next year, OCM is planning to source merchandise for its international brands from different countries, which will do justice to these brands and the quality they offer, and all the buying, designing or sourcing decisions or trade partners or any strategy regarding the Italian brands lie with OCM since it has ownership of the brands.
OCM has been bringing in something new and fresh for its consumer base every year, and 2019 saw the firm venturing into cotton as also an addition into its brand portfolio. The textile firm is planning to enter the EBO space and to introduce an apparel brand in order to focus on its garment portfolio along with the fabric segment. “Besides, obviously doing much better in designs and coming up with several new products, strengthening revenue, taking competition, etc. has been on the agenda for long now. These two are the strategies that we think will put us in a much better space,” concludes Vikram.