Textile Institute World Conference:
Omar calls for new business model
There is a need for a new business model in apparel manufacturing,
said Brandix CEO Ashroff Omar.
He was delivering the keynote address at the Centenary World
Conference of the Textile Institute held recently in Manchester. Omar
explored the topic ‘manufacturing on the global stage,’ making his
presentation to an august assembly comprising world renowned corporate
leaders, academics and researchers.
He contended that it is at present, a heavily fragmented industry
stemming from the single-minded pursuit of cheap labour. He observed
that retailers have become pseudo manufacturers taking on roles that
belong within the sphere of manufacturing, resulting in an escalation of
costs and a lower value proposition to the consumer.
Omar pointed out that industries such as automobile, computer and
footwear have provided consumers with ‘phenomenal products at great
prices’ whereas the apparel industry has moved in the opposite direction
- providing the same product at a far higher price.
He recommended that the new model must be one of collaboration within
the value chain enabling greater research and development and the
employment of breakthrough technologies.
He said “I believe that, today, on the 100th anniversary of The
Textile Institute, we are still a virgin industry. Automobiles, phones,
televisions, airlines are all industries which have large aggressive
players while the enormous apparel market has a multitude of small
suppliers who do not have the scale to deliver outstanding value.
There is white space for a few $ 5 billion companies.”
Pentland Group Limited CEO Andy Rubin, Hong Kong Polytechnic
University Textiles and Clothing Institute Head Prof Xiao-ming Tao, and
Corsair Capital Partner and Vice Chairman Lord Mervyn Davies were the
other keynote speakers.
The conference themed ‘Creating a global vision for textiles,
clothing and footwear’ recognised the need for change in the textile
industry and focused on creating a platform for information exchange and
The Textile Institute, inaugurated in 1910, was incorporated in
England by a Royal Charter granted in 1925 and is a registered charity.
It is a unique organisation which has individual and corporate
members in approximately 80 countries with the membership covering all
sectors and disciplines of textiles, clothing and footwear.
The Centenary Conference was held in Manchester as it has been home
to The Textile Institute for the past 100 years.