International fashion brands turn to India for face masks

May 8, 2020 written by

Amid the COVID-19 crisis, international fashion brands look forward to procure non-surgical facemasks from India. The global brands have been sharing prototypes of fashion masks in cotton and blends with Indian suppliers who are waiting for the Centre’s reply regarding export of non-surgical masks.

The Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) has approached the Centre regarding the guidelines and clarification on export of non-surgical masks, gloves, coveralls, gowns and other protective wear.

The Tirupur Exporters’ Association (TEA) and Indian Texpreneurs Federation (ITF) have also approached the Centre seeking clarification on supplying non-surgical masks of cotton and various blends to international buyers.

The ITF said that the textiles clusters of Coimbatore and Tirupur have received enquiries for supplying fashion masks to global brands and importers with an immediate need for at least 50 crore masks.

According to Prabhu Dhamodharan, Convenor, ITF, this alone can generate business of Rs 1,000 crore immediately and Rs 4,000 crore over a period of one year.

A Sakhtivel, Chairman, AEPC mentioned in his letter to the commerce industry that exporters are unable to export any kind of mask, including those not mentioned in the notifications like knitted masks or plain cotton woven masks, which are not for surgical purposes.

Raja M Shanmugham, President, TEA said in his representation to textiles ministry that while a March 19 notification pertaining to the export of surgical and disposable masks does not prohibit masks made out of knitted fabric, customs authorities are not permitting their exports.

“Fashion brands like Marc o’Polo, Camp David, Lerros, et al have approached me with enquiries pertaining to non-surgical face masks,” he added.

“Masks will not just be an accessory, it will become an essential component of a garment. Brands have begun discussing prototypes of how masks would go with particular garments. To begin with, brands have been asking for masks in solid colours in cotton and in blends, but, eventually, the masks will sync with the design of the garment,” explained Shanmugham.

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