Sourcing Fabrics from Different Places in India

This is a guest submission from Pulak Debnath.

Fabric is the main component of a garment and it contributes approx 60-70% to garment cost. Hence fabric sourcing is one of the most important aspects for a garment manufacturer. Fabric sourcing is a strategic decision a garment manufacturer should take cautiously before taking a garment order. Choosing a good fabric supplier means your half job is done.

Image courtesy: Grass via Flickr

The first step for fabric sourcing is to identify the fabric quality i.e.
  • Woven or knits
  • Solid, Prints or yarn-dyed, 
  • Count-construction, GSM, weave
  • Content e.g. Cotton, Viscose, Polyester. etc.
After analyzing the fabric quality, the next step is to identify a supplier who can offer the quality at the best price. Though the price is the most important parameter for supplier selection, one should consider the other aspects also like lead time, quality parameters required, supplier's performance in past orders in terms of delivery commitment, quality of fabric delivered, their response to quality issues, etc.

Before introducing a new supplier, one should closely analyze the mill's production capacity, quality system, and capability for on-time delivery.

So now the question is from where do I source fabric?

It depends on fabric quality and sometimes on the end buyer. Some buyers want better quality and are willing to bear extra costs for that. Some buyers especially who are doing big volume business, give very tight costing target and in that case, garment manufacturer has to find out the cheapest source.

1. Delhi and Delhi-NCR (Around Delhi)

Suppose you are looking for regular quality like 80s voile, 60s cambric, 40s poplin, 30s rayon, Rayon crepe etc. in solid and print then you can purchase from Delhi-NCR region at cheaper rate.

For knits fabric, there are some mills like Gupta Exim, Richa, Mercury knits in Delhi-NCR having a good capacity for knits fabric.

For garment sample development where small volume of fabrics is required, you can source any kind of fabric from fabric showrooms in Delhi-NCR.

2. South India (Salem, Erode)

If you are looking for yarn-dyed fabrics at a cheaper rate, then South sector like Salem, Erode is a good option.

3. Tirupur

For knits fabric sourcing Tirupur is the hub.

4. Surat 

Similarly, for any kind of polyester fabric, Surat is the hub in India. Though there are some mills in Delhi-NCR doing polyester qualities.

5. Jaipur

For hand-block printed fabrics, and hand-crafted textiles Jaipur is a good place for sourcing.

6. Souring from Mills

Most garment exporters source greige fabric and then get dyed/printed (job work) in the local mill which gives a price advantage. 

When you source from the organized mill sector the same quality, then the price will be slightly higher but the quality of the fabric will be better. Mills like Arvind, Vardhman, Nahar Industries, BVM, Bombay Rayon are big companies in the organized mill sector. These mills are located in different parts of India. Like Arvind Mills is located in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, and Vardhman in Ludhiana, Punjab.

7. Importing fabrics from China

Additional information. There are some qualities like silk, linen, polyester for which China is still given preference over India. Advantages of sourcing from China are a better price, higher productivity, and better quality.

Fabric sourcing is the heart of the apparel business. So you should take care of selecting the right fabric suppliers for your orders.

About Pulak Debnath:
Pulak Debnath has worked at Orient Craft Ltd as Manager- fabric sourcing. He holds M.Tech from IIT Delhi in textile engineering. He also worked at Shahi Exports and Welspun India Ltd.

Prasanta Sarkar

Prasanta Sarkar is a textile engineer and a postgraduate in fashion technology from NIFT, New Delhi, India. He has authored 6 books in the field of garment manufacturing technology, garment business setup, and industrial engineering. He loves writing how-to guide articles in the fashion industry niche. He has been working in the apparel manufacturing industry since 2006. He has visited garment factories in many countries and implemented process improvement projects in numerous garment units in different continents including Asia, Europe, and South Africa. He is the founder and editor of the Online Clothing Study Blog.

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