Fashion Value Chain Talks with Mr. Rahul Mehta, Chief Mentor, CMAI
We’re here at the 77th Edition of the National Garment Fair, and it seems like you’ve had an incredible response this year. Can you tell us more about it?
This year’s National Garment Fair has been phenomenal. We’ve witnessed participation from over 1300 brands, making it the largest-ever exhibition in India’s garment industry. Initially, we expected around 30-35 thousand retailers, but the response has been so overwhelming that we anticipate this number will be exceeded.
Could you shed some light on what sets CMAI apart from other associations in the industry?
There are several factors that make CMAI stand out. First and foremost, we continually evolve our formats and strategies to adapt to the changing business environment. Secondly, our dedicated team members personally commit to the fair’s success, actively working on it for three months leading up to the event. Many organizations outsource these tasks, but we believe in hands-on involvement. Lastly, our rates for exhibition spaces at NESCO and Jio Convention center are extremely reasonable, making it accessible to a wide range of participants. This year, we’ve even taken the entire NESCO facility and space in Jio World Center, a first in the history of the garment industry.
How does CMAI support garment exporters, both domestically and internationally?
While our primary focus is on domestic markets, we also have members who engage in exports. In fact, we’re venturing into international promotion with the “Brands of India” trade show in Dubai this November. This marks the first time any association has taken the initiative to promote Indian brands globally. It’s not a one-time effort; we’ve been in discussions with the Dubai World Trade Center for three years, and if successful, we plan to expand this endeavor further.
Can you tell us about CMAI’s involvement with luxury brands and Indian manufacturers?
We’ve created forums where manufacturers showcase their production capacities rather than just promoting brands. This approach benefits major corporates like Aditya Birla Retail and Fashion Ltd., as well as international and domestic brands, as they can source their production requirements from these manufacturers. It’s a unique platform we’ve developed.
How does CMAI contribute to branding by garment manufacturers?
Many of the major brands in India began their journey by participating in CMAI’s exhibitions. We also collaborate closely with international brands. We have two specific activities for brands – the Captain’s Forum, which brings together top brands and retailers for idea exchange and problem-solving, and the Shore Initiative, where we work with brands to introduce sustainable practices in the Indian industry.
Could you tell us about CMAI’s stance on the Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) trend?
We don’t have a specific forum for D2C, but we are actively considering how to engage with this growing business model. It’s a trend that’s catching on, and we want to ensure we can connect with D2C businesses effectively.
Before we conclude, can you tell us about any business training programs CMAI offers for manufacturers?
We frequently host knowledge-sharing workshops where we invite experts and industry leaders to speak on various topics, providing valuable training and insights for manufacturers in the garment industry.