Cotton garments, preferred by people in tropical areas due to its sweat absorbing property, is getting competition from linen, made from fibres of the flax plant, due to its better capacity to absorb moisture compared to cotton and other natural qualities that provide protection from ultra-violet rays and bacteria.
In spite of the fact that linen garments are costlier than cotton apparels, linen wear is gaining popularity and is becoming a new rage in India’s garment industry, with linen-based garments estimated to have already crossed an annual sales turnover of Rs. 7 billion.
Speaking to fibre2fashion, Mr. Alok Srivastav, Proprietor of Global Fashion, said, “The cotton fabric consumers have become educated and are well aware of the qualities of the linen fabric.”
Reasoning the cause for growing popularity of linen wear, he says, “Previously, people lacked awareness and the linen fabric was not promoted so much as well. Moreover, initially only the Linen Club promoted the linen fabric but now various brands like Zodiac, Raymond’s, etc. are marketing the linen fabric. So, increase in awareness is one reason for the growing demand of linen.”
“Secondly, the linen fabric gives great comfort to its wearers and is very suitable for the tropical climate in India. That is the reason for repetitive sales of linen garments,” he continues.
“Moreover, the wrinkles that are formed on linen, bestow it with a more natural look, which not only makes it maintenance free, but also acts as a fashion statement,” he avers.
Explaining the price difference between cotton and linen apparels, he says, “Although linen is costlier compared to cotton, people in the high-class circuit are well aware about linen and its properties. Even if the price of linen fabric is double than that of cotton, the cost of linen garments work out to be only 30 percent more than cotton garments at the retail end as the cost of stitching, etc. remains the same for both. The 25-30 percent price difference does not make much of a difference for those consumers and manufacturers who are aware of linen and its qualities.”
Forecasting about the future market for linen in India, he opines, “If, today, the market share of linen is 10 percent as against 90 percent for cotton, then I see it growing to 30 percent linen as against 70 percent of cotton.”
Summarizing the growth of linen market and its prospects, Mr. Sanjay Singhania, CEO, Ganga Silk Fabrics, says, “Linen has already given competition to cotton. Despite it being more expensive, the demand for linen is increasing because it is a natural fibre and it gives a better feel when worn compared to cotton. It is more in demand, especially among people from the upper middle class. We expect around 25 percent growth in linen market in the coming years.”