New product design development:
Possibilities for Pakistani fashion apparel industry
by Mr. Allah Dad, PhD
Scholar Binary University Malaysia.
Textile industry has preeminent position in economic
structure of Pakistan. Textile industry is capable of making
yarn to garment products. In Pakistan, the fabric manufacturing
sector mainly divided into two main categories: one is weaving
and the second is knitting goods. During September 2016 the 9
selected commodities of textile manufactures contributed 59.55%
of total exports in which the shares of knitwear, bed-wear,
cotton fabrics, articles of apparel & clothing accessories
(excl. knitwear), cotton yarn, and towels were 11.95%, 11.27%,
10.96%, 10.56% and 5.71% respectively.
These values indicate that knitwear industry in flourishing
day by day and putting its major role in export performance.
Major type of knitted goods accounted as t-shirts, socks, and
other apparel goods. For such industry which accounted important
role in economy of economy needs more improvement and attention
in terms of product development and also needed to be produced
more fashion and design goods.
Weft knitting technique is dominant in Pakistani textile
industry over warp knitting technique, various small to large
companies are operating in this sector. But mostly focused on
export orders, very few companies are developing their own
product and attracting European, American and other customers in
the world. In the technique of weft knitting by using hand
flatbed machine which is easy to operate and has ability to
develop fabrics from 2 to 14 gauge fabrics with also many easy
possibilities in product development.
Various small to medium size factories of Pakistan can
produce such products by consuming less cost in terms of
technology investment. One of technique that can be used is
tubular knit fabric on hand flatbed machine. Through developing
tubular knit fabrics and by adding or stuffing digital print
deigns in it can give aesthetically good product which is cost
effective as well.
This paper will explain various possibilities of tubular knit
fabric in design development which will be suitable for coarser
to finer fabric of various end uses such as tops, lowers,
knitted jackets, etc. By producing such value added products,
Pakistani Textile Industry, specifically areas relevant to
knitted goods can increase overall competitiveness in terms of
Key Words: Textile Industry, Weft
The textile industry has an important position in the
industrial structure of Pakistan, as it caters to one of the
basic necessities of human life, namely, clothing. The demand of
textile all over the world is expected to increase by 6.5% every
year (Springer, 1995) and worth of total textile demand is
around 800 Billion US dollars per annum in world (Khan, 2014,
WTO International Statistics 2015).Consumption of clothing is
more income and price responsive than food, for example the
International cross-sectional analysis has shown clothing
expenditure has an income elasticity of about 0.9 while food has
an income elasticity of 0.1 to 0.3 in high-income countries
(Seale, et al, 2003). According to the economic survey of
Pakistan (2015) by the Ministry of Finance, Pakistan is the 4th
largest producer of raw cotton in the world and now at 6th
position from 5th exporters of raw textile goods in world.
China, the European Union and India remained the top three
exporters of textiles in 2015. Altogether, they accounted for
almost two-thirds of world exports.
The top ten exporters in terms of raw material/semi-finished
goods, all experienced a decline in the value of their exports
in 2015, with the highest declines seen in the European Union
(-14 per cent) and Turkey (-13 per cent) and Pakistan (-8%). The
smallest decline was recorded in China (-2 per cent).
Among the top ten exporters of clothing, increases in export
values were recorded by Vietnam (+10 per cent), Cambodia (+8 per
cent), Bangladesh (+6 per cent) and India (+2 per cent). The
other major exporters saw stagnation in their export values
(United States) or recorded a decline including Pakistan (WTO
Statistics 2016). In terms of revealed comparative advantage,
Pakistan ranks as first, in raw cotton textile manufacturing
whereas India has ranks as 3rd, China 4th and Japan 12th in 2016
which was calculated using Bella Balassa Revealed comparative
advantage index of 1965 (Grish Kumar, 2017).
The textiles industry may rightly be called the buttress of
Pakistan’s economy for following three reasons. First, its
backward linkage with the agricultural sector in form of raw
material, the life line of Pakistan’s economy. Second, yarns and
fabric manufacturing are the biggest manufacturing units in the
country, accounting for the largest share of manufacturing
investment, value added products and employment. Third and most
important, these are high export interest enterprises. In
Pakistan fabric manufacturing sector is divided into two main
categories one is weaving and second is knitting. In knitting
major industry is related to weft knitting type. Most of sector
comprises of apparel and hosiery goods.
The popularity of knit goods has grown enormously in the
recent years because of the increased changeability of
techniques, the malleability of many new man-made fibres and the
growth in the consumer demand for wrinkle resistant,
stretchable, cozy fitted garments, particularly in greatly
expanding areas of sportswear and other casual wear segments.
Pakistan knitwear (hosiery) industry is playing a vital role in
value addition of textile sector.
The global knitting industry is growing at a fast rate and
numerous technological innovations contribute to the success of
the knitwear industry. Today, knitwear is also tantamount with
trendy, fashionable wear for casual, sportswear as well as smart
casual work wear. Pakistan knitwear (hosiery) industry is
playing a vital role in value addition of textile sector. In the
export field, the hosiery knitwear industry of Pakistan has
managed to make a big name in many countries of the world. At
present there are about 600 knitwear factories of various sizes
with 13372 circular knitting machines, 10,646 flat knitting and
23,241 socks knitting machines spread all over the country. The
capacity utilization is approximately 70%.
Pakistan's knitwear industry is also almost completely
export-oriented, however domestic use of garments such as vests
and underwear are common in all urban groups. The products made
in Pakistan include T-shirts, jogging suits, jerseys, sport
shirts, children wear, gloves, tracksuits, sweaters, socks etc.
There is great potential of a further development in this
industry as there is extensive value addition in the form of
knitwear apparel, sportswear, socks and even knitted shoes.
This sector has remarkable export potential, however; the
sector remained under pressure from its competitors mainly from
Bangladesh, India and the Far East. China, India, Sri Lanka,
Vietnam, Bangladesh, Korea, Bangladesh, Jordan and Kenya are
among major competitors in the industry. Small units face more
challenges, as they get no facilities with regards to
electricity services and financing. The foreign buyers in some
segments were turning towards our competitors.
Pakistani exporters were losing export earnings on one hand,
while losing their reliability due to non-fulfilment of export
commitment in international markets due to load shedding and
higher costs of inputs. During the past few years, the segments
of knitwear and selected items of ready-made garments have shown
an appreciable rising trend in exports. The use of knitwear
(hosiery) has increased primarily due to its low price, as
compared to cotton woven shirts due to easy-to-wash nature.
Inherent qualities like softness, coolness, sweat-absorbent and
durability have made knitted garments popular especially in
developed countries. Knitwear goods exported from Pakistan are
known for their fine quality in European, American and UAE
markets. It is a highly value-added item, earning much valuable
foreign exchange, as per kg cotton converted into finished
garments fetches better margins.
A series of new finishing processes have been incorporated
with improved shades, texture and luster. Some of the bulk
export items, which have gained popularity, are 100% cotton
T-shirts, vests, slips, children's pyjama suits, sports shirts,
undergarments, bathing suits, knitted garments and knitted
tabular or flat fabrics.
The main items of export in knitwear from Pakistan are
elegant men's T-shirts, fancy ladies T-shirts with exquisite
embroidery and sequined work, night shirts for ladies and men's
pyjama sets and sportswear and jogging suit and boxer sets.
Techniques of designing, printing, embroidery and dyeing of the
fabric have become well developed.
Export of knitwear (hosiery) increased from US $ 2.04 billion
in 2012-13 to US $ 2.36 billion in 2015-16, thus showing an
average increase of 5% per annum. Exports of knitwear are given
in Table 1.
In knitwear, the US market alone accounted for 41% of total
knitwear with exports of $961 million in 2015-16. About 32% of
knitwear exports went to EU, while the share of rest of the
world was only 27%. USA, UK, Germany, The Netherlands, Spain,
Belgium, France, Italy and Canada are the top nine trade
partners for Pakistan. Country-wise exports of knitwear are
given in Table 2.
Apart from all there is great potential for further
development and expansion in this field. By taming value
addition in exiting current products can helps in increasing
revenues and obtaining attractiveness of the market. The fashion
industry in Pakistan is flourishing day by day and trying to get
its better position in front of their competitors. Various
fashion shows, exhibitions are conducted in various part of the
world, especially European countries and in the US as well.
Research objective: To develop various design
based value added tubular knit fabrics for apparel and
Research question: What are new possible ways
of making design based tubular knit fabrics for value added
products of apparel and accessories?
Significance: Support local industry and improve export rate
as well by attracting more customer through value added knit
fabrics of apparel and accessories.
Machine and its justification
In this research paper the author will propose various design
possibilities of tubular knitting which can help in making and
developing more value added products by using simple hand
flatbed machine. New product development can helped for getting
new and more export orders related to fashion knitted goods from
Europe and other parts of the world.
Hand flatbed machine is considered as inexpensive and easy to
handle. Various models of the machine are in use in various
factories such as Forest sweaters which is parent manufacturing
unit of various brands like Crossroads, Outfitters and along
this other small units are also working in Green Town area of
Lahore, where different articles of various brands like Hang
Ten, Leisure Club, Breakout etc are manufacturing using this
hand flatbed machine. This machine is also considered source of
bread and butter for local workers and small entrepreneurs.
Development of various new designs and articles helps in
creating new opportunities for their business which leads
towards more market attractiveness. The machine is totally
manual and there are no requirements of electricity. A trained
worker can make 4 to 8 sweaters in one shift. The production
quantity can be obtained by placing more machines and workers.
Tubular knitting is a technique widely used in weft knitting
manufacturing. It is actually making fabric by using double V
bed flatbed machine. In Pakistan this V flatbed machine is
mainly using for coarser fabrics and for making ribs and body
panels such as sleeves for sweaters. There is room for
development of this new product using this V bed machine which
ultimately lead towards value added products. In this paper
tubular knitting technique has been explored and proposed
designs for various end uses. The major recommended end uses are
sweaters, lowers, jackets etc. It is a technique in which in one
course one bed works while second bed hold in order to make tube
or layer. In manufacturing process cams are switched off
alternatively. The stitch length can be changed in different
courses in order to make experimental fabrics using big and
small length of loops.
Machine type: Hand Flat Bed V knitting machine.
Make: Stoll and flying tiger
Gauge: 3, 5 ,7, and 10
Material: Cotton, polyester and fancy yarns.
Fabric: Jacquard knitted, digital printed
By utilizing tubular knit technique various design
possibilities can be made in an easy and effective way. The
examples mentioned are just few possibilities. By adding
different designs as prints fabrics in to it will make more
interactive and better designs. This paper attempts to open up
new easy ways for value added manufacturing of knit fabrics.
Local industry will also benefit if new products enter the
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