Textiles have been the stronghold of India for centuries. From rich silks to functional cotton, clothing made from Indian fabrics have been popular worldwide. The textile industry is the largest employer after agriculture, providing employment to more than 100 million people in India.
While the handloom, power loom and handicrafts industry receive impetus through various initiatives, we need to build India’s strength in man-made textiles as well. This includes technical textiles used for all-weather clothing, winter wear, outdoor and adventure sports.
According to a FICCI and KPMG report, India is going to be the 3rd largest civil aviation market by 2020 with more than 369 million Indians flying annually. With more than 50% of the population being under 25, the Millennials start travelling early and with greater frequency. This generation combines adventure with travel and therefore, there is a specific need for high-performance technical clothing. The size of travel wear and gear market has risen from Rs.63 to 93 billion.
Garments like touchscreen gloves, adventure wear, performance apparel are manufactured and imported from China, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh; thus resulting in a loss of opportunity and income for India. While the presence of technology in clothing for the industrial sector exists, clothing for travellers, the manufacturers and R&D facilities aren’t available.
INTEGRATION OF TECHNOLOGY IN FABRICS AND CLOTHING:
1. Touchscreen gloves:
With more than 220 million mobile phone users, India is the 2nd largest mobile phone market in the world. Therefore, it becomes necessary to have gloves that enable you to use your phone when they are on. It requires the yarn on the thumb and index finger to be engineered so as to be responsive to touch interface on the phone.
2. Jacquard gloves:
Currently, woollen gloves in India are made with old technology where the finished garment is not seamless. The opening of the fingers has to be closed manually to complete the garment. This reduces its durability. With new technology, machines can manufacture gloves which produce a complete seamless product. These machines offer additional features like jacquard designs and lining to the gloves, which makes them more warm and durable.
3. Breathable all-weather fabrics and seam-sealed waterproof garments:
India is a tropical country with an active presence of the monsoon season. The Northern parts of the country experience snowfall for 3 to 4 months of the year. This kind of weather requires clothing in all-weather fabrics which do not make one feel muggy when worn for long. Therefore, the fabric needs to be made breathable with technology similar to Goretex. Also, the garment has to be sealed on the seams so as to ensure zero water seepage. Introducing the seal sealing machine will be a big boost to the apparel manufacturing industry.
At Kosha (formerly known as Prrems), we sell technical clothing that is put to test regularly in high intensive travel activities. We work with a series of product testers who are hikers, runners, and seasoned travellers. Post their feedback, we perfect our wear and sell them in our store at Bandra, Mumbai; our e-commerce platform and Amazon. Here’s to the future!