Face masks- the most essential item in today’s time, would be seen displayed in fashion stores, matching up with the designs of garments in the near future.
The international demand for face masks is rising, urging the immediate requirement to resume the export of these items. Global brands are reaching out to the Indian markets for the supply of non-surgical face masks, overalls, gloves, and other protective gear. However, a green signal from the Centre is awaited.
Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) has knocked the doors of the central government, seeking guidance on the export to cater to the huge demand. The sudden rise in the demand for non-surgical protective gear can prove to be a big advantage for the country amid these testing times. Tirupur Exporters Association and Indian Texpreneurs Federation (ITF) have also approached the center regarding the same.
ITF represents the textile value chain of Tamil Nadu. It approached the center asking for a removal of the ban on exports. It believes that this can be a huge opportunity for India and is expected to generate a revenue of Rs. 1,000 crores immediately. The country has already received an order of 50 crore masks.
“This alone can generate business of ₹1,000 crores immediately and ₹4,000 crores over a period of one year,” said ITF convenor Prabhu Dhamodharan.
The export of non-surgical face masks using cotton and other blends is facing a challenge because of the government-imposed ban on the non-essential items. However, the essential products like surgical and knitted face masks are also experiencing restrictions by the authorities.
AEPC chairman A Sakhtivel in his letter to the commerce ministry quoted that the exporters are not just facing difficulties in the export of non-surgical protective items but also in the export of items that are exempted from the ban like the knitted face masks.
In his representation to textiles ministry, TEA president Raja M Shanmugham said, while a March 19 notification regarding 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,” Shanmugam said.
Maska would not just be a protective accessory, perhaps would constitute a great part of fashion brand collection in the near future. Brands are already discussing the scope of matching them up with garments and other accessories.
“To begin with, brands have been asking for masks in solid colors in cotton and in blends, but eventually, the masks will sync with the design of the garment,” said Shanmugham