Apparel Sourcing Week (ASW) is all about forging meaningful connections, engaging with the stakeholders, unlocking unexplored avenues, sharing knowledge to foster growth and inspiring entities to reach new heights.
Businesses of tomorrow are after all rooted in the relationships built today. Rightly so, ASW crafted the third edition of the much-anticipated sourcing extravaganza on the building blocks of NOKI (Networking, Opportunity, Knowledge and Inspiration), to give the benchmark event a new dimension.
“ASW 2023 was thought-provoking and provided new insights for the larger audience to take inspiration from, to move to the next level. The one-of-its-kind and visionary, it helped to give a new direction to the industry,” aptly states Wicrant Gambhir, Head of Sourcing, Product Integrity & Quality, Babyshop Concept, Landmark Group, Dubai, describing the essence of Apparel Sourcing Week 2023.
Agreeing with Wicrant on this is Arjun Puri, the Director of KAS India.
Babyshop is a children’s retail store and the first company under the Landmark Group. Founded over 30 years ago with a single store in Bahrain, it has today over 235 stores in 16 countries across the Middle East and Africa while KAS Group Asia (KGA), of which KAS India is a part, is the exclusive direct sourcing arm of Kmart Group that operates the iconic retail brands Kmart and Target in Australia.
Present at ASW 2023 was also Marielle Bostrom, Head of Regional Sourcing (South Asia), Ralph Lauren, who led an 18-member delegation from the brand’s apparel and raw material divisions (in India) even as she actively took part in the networking and the awards’ night.
With challenges pertaining to sourcing continuing to evolve, it becomes even more imperative for brands and buyers to establish meaningful alliances with suppliers that can meet the crucial sourcing criteria encompassing speed, agility, quality and pricing, along with contemporary requisites like worker safety and sustainable practices.
Adaptability and responsiveness of the suppliers to the fast-changing fashion landscape remain paramount nonetheless.
In the given milieu, ASW 2023 brought together 150-plus apparel makers (from India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Australia and beyond), 50-plus fabric and accessories suppliers and 20-plus entities (offering sustainable technology), all handpicked based on the key parameters of competency, product specialisation, shipment and services, to provide the 6000-plus visitors including brands/retailers and buyers from world-over a veritable one-stop sourcing platform, harnessing the spirit of NOKI.
Networking and Opportunities of diverse hues
“I congratulate the organisers for such a wonderful job; it was a great networking and learning platform for everyone,” opined Ganesh Kasekar, Representative of South Asia for the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), who marvelled at ASW’s exceptional ability to keep the whole supply chain engaged for two full days through its exciting line-up of events and activities.
Ganesh’s observations on networking opportunities are strongly backed by Hardik Jain of Mumbai-based sustainable fashion brand Beyond Us, for whom, apart from catching up with the renowned names in sustainable apparel and textiles from India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, ASW was a potent stage to understand the evolving dynamics of sustainability.
Exhibitor Profile at ASW 2023
That ASW dedicated Day-1 of the two-day extravaganza to all things sustainable even as a concurrent event (SustainableNXT) was held in tandem to give a further thrust to the agenda of sustainability, was icing on the cake for people like Hardik.
For Pankaj Kumar, the Merchandiser Manager of Imtiaz Al Arabia Co; Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), the third edition of ASW while connecting with peers enabled him to catch up with wide range of apparel, fabric and trims suppliers from diverse geographical locations.
“I have been to many fairs round the globe, but nothing like ASW. It offered the best possible opportunity to connect with some very good suppliers who can cater based on our designs, mood board and silhouettes within the stipulated price points. Being able to also touch base with the fabric and trim manufacturers was a bonus,” opined Pankaj, a view that found a strong resonance with Raja Harbinder Singh, the VP, Head of Global Sourcing, Quality & Tech, Procurement- Pantaloons, Marigold Lane, Style Up.
The presence of the entire fashion supply chain spectrum under one roof at ASW 2023 only added to Harbinder’s delight.
Marigold Lane is the ethnic fusion brand by Aditya Birla with contemporary silhouettes, vibrant prints and elevated fabrics. Also from the house of Aditya Birla is Style Up, a renowned women’s fashion brand, known for its on-trend designs at affordable pricing.
Fair Fax Exports was all praise for ASW 2023; after all it helped the Noida-based leading manufacturer of jacket to make direct connections with some of the retail biggies.
Fairfax produces wide range of jackets including down jackets, fake down jackets, poly-fill jackets, parkas, leather jackets, seam-sealed waterproof jackets, storm breakers, wind-cheaters and related gears. It also possesses rich experience in manufacturing technical jackets.
‘On Demand’ manufacturing and smaller MOQs becoming the order of the day, International Trading Company (ITCRmg) of Tirupur, was very happy at the opportunities on offer at the event.
The presence of huge number of start-ups, e-commerce platforms and D2C brands, worked strongly in favour of ITCRmg.
Thanks to its ability to cater to smaller orders (end-to-end) within a span of just 72 hours, ITCRmg managed to make some major breakthroughs at the two-day event even as to provide deeper insights on the issues that matter and understand what the future of fashion retail holds, the third edition of the event held at Bangalore’s iconic Hotel Sheraton, presented an exciting range of seminars and panel discussions, to the delight of everyone.
Knowledge, Inspiration takes centre stage!
A standout event in its category, Apparel Sourcing Week, has garnered widespread and critical acclaim as a formidable knowledge platform! From the stable of Apparel Resources, which has successfully created a niche for itself in the realm of fashion retail and manufacturing through its much-read print and online verticals (considered the guiding light for the industry for close to three decades now), the wide range of conferences, panel discussions, ideative sessions, bridging talks, fireside chats and vendor sessions had the attendees craving for more.
Inclusion of topics like Sourcing as a Service; Small MOQs-Feasibility and Profitability; Digitisation of Garment Factory; Mitigating Risk in Apparel Sourcing; Closing the Divide between Manufacturing and Retail; Sustainability in Retail; Fast Fashion vs. Slow Fashion vs. Conscious Fashion; Making Fashion Sustainable with Digital ID and RFID; Material Innovation; Green Manufacturing; How to Create a Sustainable Fashion Brand; etc., ensured everyone went back home with brand new perspectives on topics that are expected to define the future of retail and manufacturing.
ASW 2023 in a nutshell
“The panel discussion of MOQ was very insightful; we discussed challenges and probable solutions pertaining to issues like reducing deadstock and increasing profitability,” held Co-founder and CEO of Denison India, Ashwini Seth.
A pocket-friendly budget brand Dennison has positioned itself as a millennial brand that works for everyone and is accessible to the emerging fashion-conscious power dressing Indian professionals
This enlightening discussion proved to be a boon for the Director of Sri Lanka’s Timex Garments (Private) Ltd., Aamir Ashraf, who got an inclusive understanding (retailers’ as well as manufacturers’ viewpoint) even as he expressed hopes to align his manufacturing capabilities with the changing requirements.
Certified by ETI, WRAP, C-TPAT and BSCI for compliance, Timex Garments is an apparel and intimatewear manufacturer with 9 production units spread across the island nation and produces a host of products including dresses, casual blouses, pants, soft formals, bras, underwear, swimwear, activewear, shapewear and sleepwear.
What excited Ashish Dhir (Executive Vice President of 1Lattice) the most was the audience’s proactive participation in the panel discussions.
“It felt really great to be in midst of such a knowledgeable and interactive audience,” Ashish underlined.
1Latticeis a technology-enabled, decision support organisation with its mission to disrupt business decisions through digital tools and produce meaningful insights which can be trusted by the retail decision makers.
Visitor Profile at ASW 2023
“Sustainability is an exercise in both environmental and social well-being. And how a commitment to evidence-based worker well-being measures results in impactful programmes that empower workers and promote a positive impact on the communities is the foundation on which Shahi operates,” held Anant Ahuja, Head of Organizational Development, Shahi Exports, participating in a panel on ‘Green Manufacturing: Significance and Strategies for Implementation’ at this year’s Apparel Sourcing Week, hosted by Apparel Resources.
During the panel, he shared insights from Shahi’s journey in adopting sustainable practices even as he addressed the challenges of implementing these practices, especially the additional costs often associated with them.
“I am really excited to be at ASW 2023 where industry experts delved into the challenges that retailers and brands face…,” held Sandeep Das, the Head of Global Softlines and Hardlines at Intertek, who was amongst the 60-plus elite thought leaders from different walks at ASW including names like Bruce Atherley, Executive Director of Cotton Council International; Chippy Mehta, COO, Bombay Shirt Company; Devender Gupta, Founding Partner, Asmara International amongst many others.
The stimulating deliberations by the industry leaders took the value proposition of ASW to a different level.
The complete package ASW 2023 has been, it left no stones unturned to give a new meaning to inspiration too!
Events like Trend Walk, Pledge Wall and BOTS added a new element to the spirit of motivation even as the attendees soaked in the melodious tunes of saxophone as they gave in to the heady mix of fun, food and entertainment, to make the third edition of ASW a memorable experience.
Sustainable practices being the essence of the hour as the 3Ps (People, Planet and Profit) and ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) and green manufacturing continue to gain momentum as fashion moves from fast to fair, ASW 2023, through its much-appreciated SustainableNXT Awards further promoted fair labour and manufacturing practices, encouraging sustainable technologies in the fashion and apparel industry and supporting and encouraging ethical and sustainable business practices.
Fashion and its supply chain being the second biggest polluter after oil and gas business as it continues to emit 10 per cent of global greenhouse emissions, release 1.2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide per year (more than the shipping and the aviation industry combined), produce over 92 million tonnes of waste and consume 79 trillion litres of water per year, it is but time to address these burning issues and rather strongly.
Twenty-one individuals and entities across five different categories (GREEN MANUFACTURING, TECH FOR GOOD, SOCIAL IMPACT, RETAIL RIGHT and MATERIAL INNOVATION) were handed over the prestigious SustainableNXT Awards, spanning the fashion supply chain, in recognition of their significant contributions towards inspiring sustainability endeavours.
Major brands/ retailers which visited ASW 2023
“There’s no two ways about the significance of sustainability as the business enabler in today’s world. There is an all-pervading sense of responsibility and commitment on this issue throughout the supply chain. The only bottleneck is perhaps that pertaining to the so-called lack of clarity on how one defines the journey of sustainability as an individual entity,” wondered Shreyaskar Chaudhary, the Managing Director of Pratibha Syntex.
According to Shreyaskar, it is only through knowledge platforms like ASW, the stakeholders can gain deeper understanding on issues that are facing the fashion supply chain.
One of the world’s largest vertically integrated, sustainability-oriented suppliers of knitted textile products, Pratibha Syntex has engineered a new business paradigm by streamlining production of cotton from fibre-to-garment, reflecting the emerging sustainable value in textiles and fashion.
The SustainableNXT Awards was undoubtedly the major highlight of ASW 2023, to say the least
A renowned name when it comes to sustainability, Shreyskar Chaudhary, the MD of Pratibha Syntex won the Iconic Leadership Award at ASW 2023.
The Best Green Factory of the Year Award was bagged by Bengaluru-based leading manufacturer of suits and formal trousers Silver Spark; Excellence in Waste Reduction Award went to Natur Tec from Chennai, with specialisation in specialty bio-based and compostable polymers; Closed Loop Supply Chain Leader of the Year Award was won by ABFRL (leading apparel retail giant from India) while the Best Green SME of the Year Award, dedicated to factories that have embraced one strong sustainable practice with tangible impacts on either environment, work welfare, manufacturing shopfloor and recycling went to Noida-based IBA Crafts Pvt. Ltd.
ASW 2023 was an ideal show for the following stakeholders
The first Award in Tech for Good Category is the Sustainable Technology of the Year Award, which is dedicated to the companies that have been helping brands, retailers and manufacturers in being sustainable through tech integration and this went to Zapero (Hyderabad-based entity active in Generative AI, Apparel Supply Chains, Addictive UX and Affordable Fashion); the Best Use of Technology for Good Award was bagged by Redefine Management (Bangalore-based consulting firm); even as in Social Impact category, which honours the initiatives that promote fair labour practices, improve worker welfare and positively impact communities, the award was given to Dressmen Ltd. from Bangladesh and India’s First Steps Baby Wear Pvt. Ltd, jointly.
The Maximum Impact on Community Award was bagged by the leading global apparel manufacturer Brandix while the Diversity & Inclusion Award went to Pearl Global (from India).
Several other awards were handed out in other categories as well.
“ASW 2023 had everything that one could ask for. It was a complete package and it ticked all the right boxes as far as the stakeholders are concerned,” opined a visitor, on the takeaways from two fun-filled and exciting days at ASW 2023 even as he looked forward to another rollercoaster ride, the year next.
Watch out for ASW in 2024!