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Apparel sector continues to explore ways to get back on track: JAAF


29 April 2020 07:30 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


  • Some apparel makers trying to cater to new order types
  • Says industry looking at ways to go beyond month of May 

By Shabiya Ali Ahlam
Determined to get back on track despite being badly hit by the ongoing pandemic, a senior representative of the apparel industry said the sector players are continuing to explore avenues to keep the work flow active while understanding that getting through the coming months would be a fresh challenge.

Speaking to Mirror Business, Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF) Secretary General Tuli Cooray said apparel sector stakeholders are currently looking to accommodate work within the legal framework imposed by the government to contain the spread of coronavirus.

“Things are getting sorted out. Companies have started working, but not all. The problem is the legal requirement does not permit us to utilize full capacity at any given time,” said Cooray.

The JAAF leadership said with the current set up, the sector will not be able to work in full capacity anytime soon as the factory infrastructure are not geared for the social distancing that is expected.

“This is the highest priority of the country at this point of time. We understand and appreciate the situation,” said Cooray while pointing out that the industry would not be able to go in for a full production unless the infrastructure can accommodate the social distancing requirement.

The industry representative also said the sector is getting itself organized so that it can work on new areas of manufacturing such as the Personal Protective
Equipment (PPE).

“Many companies are working with international agencies and international buyers in the development of PPE products. Some of the entities will be able to go down that path,” he said.

However, although the industry is working tirelessly to stay afloat, Cooray said the coming month would be a challenge and the sector as a whole is trying to understand how best it would steer beyond the month of May.
In terms of orders, the situation is absolutely grim given that the new normal, and lifestyle changes brought about by the COVID-19 places fashion as one of the least priorities.

“In terms of orders, the situation is in trouble. We are missing the season; we are passing the season. We have a stock that is not going to go to the next season. We will not be manufacturing for the next season either. We are a fashion industry and that is the last thing that will be looked at by people at the moment,” said Cooray.

In a discussion facilitated by think tank Advocata, Brandix CEO Ashroff Omar predicted that the industry would face a 40 percent contraction in demand across 2020. 

He opined that from April to June, the industry would likely witness a demand drop of about 80 percent.

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