A two-day international denim conference will be held at IIM-Ahmedabad on October 29 and 30, the Ahmedabad unit of Textile Association of India (TAI) announced on Monday.
To be jointly organised by TAI and fibre2fashion, the “International Conference on Denims — the new face of Indian Textiles and Apparel Industry” will host the heads of denim giants like Levi Strauss & Co, Cotton Inc (both US), Jeanologia (Spain), and Arvind Ltd and Mafatlal Denims (both India).
Delegates from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are also expected (most of the manufacturing units are concentrated in Asia), but Chinese delegates have not confirmed their participation, organisers said though China is considered to be the biggest denim producer.
P R Roy of TAI said the domestic demand for denim had bailed out the industry during the global meltdown, but the ongoing “currency war” is affecting profit margins as the dollar is losing value to the rupee.
“There is an annual demand of about 240 to 260 million pairs of jeans in India now, which would amount to roughly 300 million metres of denim (roughly half of India’s annual production). The market is now domestic,” said Roy.
He added that the unorganised denim retail is stronger and bigger than the organised retail market. But that may change as the Diwali season has boosted sales in the organized sector.
The domestic demand may see a sudden rise if denim houses decide to vigorously market in the rural areas, he added.
He said India still has to catch up with China, which had produced three billion metres of denim in 2007. But the fact that China has converted two million hectares previously used for cotton cultivation — a major component of denim — to grow food crops, and has started relying on imports from the US and India, has tilted the race in India’s favour.