Everything you Need to Know about the Textile Industry in India


India is one of the largest producers of textiles and apparel in the world. Consumers across the globe import textiles from India due to the high-quality fabric used and the affordable cost. Here are some really interesting facts about the textile industry in India – 

  • According to Statista, the Indian textile industry is valued at 223 billion dollars as of 2021. 
  • The industry is the largest producer of cotton and jute, 2nd largest in silk, and 95% of hand-woven fabrics globally are from India.
  • The textile industry is the second-largest employment provider in India after the agriculture industry.

With that promising introduction, let us begin this post where we will cover everything from what is the textile industry is to the recent trends in the Indian fashion industry. Read on…

What is Textile?

Textile is the second basic necessity in the world after food. And everybody in this world is a consumer of it. Textiles symbolize the identity of an individual’s cultural, social, economic, political, and religious norms. 

In fact, it has the potential to be synonymous with a community, state, or even a country. Textile has turned into a powerful medium to express oneself and influence people.

Indian history showcases the role and relevance of the indigenous fabric. The Kadhi fabric popularized by Mahatma Gandhi acted as an autarky agent. It was India’s way of showing resilience and displaying its unity. Even today, many political leaders acknowledge its significance and use it as their attire.

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What is Textile Design?

It is the process of planning, producing, and modifying textiles to suit the needs and likes of people. The Indian textile design and its understanding have evolved significantly over the years. The finished products after textile design include clothing, carpets, drapes, and towels. Good textile design can take the finished garment to great heights. 

The scope of textile design and its production is significant in India due to the abundance of resources and a strong history of textiles. What makes India unique from its global competitors is the combination of original and traditional design practices followed in the production and its linkage with agriculture. 

The multitude of design rules based on the region’s diverse practices and ideas adds to the richness of the design. This makes the Indian textile products perfect for domestic and export markets.

How is Textile Processed?

In this section, we’ll explain how textiles are processed right from procuring raw materials such as wool or cotton to manufacturing the end product. The textile process of today dates back to the very beginning of human civilization.

Also Read: How to start a Textile Business in India

Though automated machinery has replaced most of the traditional methods, even today, the end product is obtained after several mechanical procedures. However, we have simplified the entire process into five steps, and here are they – 

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Step 1- Source Fiber

For the textile manufacturing process, natural and man-made (or synthetic) fibers are used. The natural fibers are cotton, wool, silk, etc. The artificial fibers are polyester, rayon, nylon, etc. The first step is to source these fibers. 

Source Fiber

If you are using natural textile fibers, they need to be cultivated, harvested, and obtained from farmers, whereas artificial fibers are ordered directly from individual manufacturing plants.

Step 2 – Yarn Manufacturing

In the yarn manufacturing process, the raw materials are processed into yarn. The fiber is cleaned and mixed together. If there are any scattered pieces of debris or remains, they’re removed instantly so that the entire batch is not contaminated. 

Yarn Manufacturing

Next comes the spinning process, where the raw materials are spun into yarn.

Step 3 – Fabric Manufacturing

In the fabric manufacturing process, the manufactured yarn is weaved. The yarn is created into a lengthy fabric using a weaving machine.

Fabric Manufacturing

 It is then fed into a loom to create various colors and threads based on specific sections known as harnesses.

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Step 4 – Wet processing

This is the process of dyeing and finishing, where you bring the fabric to a semi-finished state. The dyeing process involves adding color to the fabric, while the finishing process involves adding chemicals. In a few cases, textile printing is also included. 

Wet processing

The process involves using printers on the fabrics where chemicals are heat-activated and applied on the fabrics.

Step 5 – Garments Manufacturing

This is the final step in which semi-finished cloth is transformed into finished cloth. This step is a collective set of processes that involves garments design, pattern making, sample making, production pattern making, grading, marker making, fabric spreading, fabric cutting, cutting parts, sorting, bundling, sewing, inspection, spot removing, ironing, finishing, final inspection, packing, and ends with the shipment.

Also Read: Top Textile Business Ideas in India

Different Types of Textile Industries in India

If you exclude artificial fibers, the textile industry is generally categorized into 4 textile types –

1. Cotton Textile Industry

India is the largest cotton producer in the world and has the largest cotton cultivation area. The cotton textile is also the second most developed sector (in natural fibers) in the entire textile industry.

Cotton Textile Industry

It is the most widely distributed industry in the country in terms of geography. States, where it is prevalent, include Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Haryana, Punjab, and Delhi.

The industry supports the livelihood of 5.8 million cotton farmers, and 50 million people are engaged in the processing and trading of cotton.

2. Woollen Textile Industry

India is the seventh-largest producer of raw wool and has the third-largest sheep population in the world. However, due to a severe lack of domestic production, the country depends on raw wool imports from Australia and New Zealand. The woolen textile industry typically caters to the requirements of defense and civilians of the country.

Woollen Textile Industry

The industry is comparatively small when compared to cotton in the country. Top production states include Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Gujarat.

3. Silk Textile Industry

The silk is named the ‘queen of all fabrics’ owing to its distinctive features. The Indian silk industry is the largest producer globally, with over 100 silk textile mills in India. India is also the only country that produces all the commercial silk variants, namely Mulberry, Tropical Tasar, Oak Tasar, Muga, and Eri.

Silk Textile Industry

The leading states in silk production include Karnataka, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu. These states produce 90% of the total silk in India. The industry has high employment potential, low capital investment, and lucrative margins for the silk growers.

4. Jute Textile Industry

The jute textile industry is second to the cotton industry in terms of production.. It is prevalent in the country’s eastern regions. Being an export-oriented industry, its survival depends solely upon its export performance.

Jute Textile Industry

The leading producers include West Bengal, Bihar, and Assam. West Bengal produces four-fifth of all jute in India. The industry supports the livelihood of 0.37 million workers in organized mills and several lakhs of jute farm families.

History of Textile Industry in India

For the last 4,000 years, India has been known for its textile industries. Even though the textile industry in India declined steeply during the colonial regime, it regained its charm again in the early nineteenth century.

The first textile mill was established in Calcutta in 1818; however, the real deal happened in Bombay when the first cotton textile mill was established after 36 years.

In 1861, Ahmedabad established its first cotton mill and emerged as a rival. The trading nature of the Gujaratis helped the industry in Ahmedabad to flourish.

An immediate growth in the textile industry was observed during the second half of the nineteenth century. By the end of the 1900s, 178 textile mills were operating in the country. Unfortunately, due to a large famine, several mills were shut down for a long period during the early twentieth century.

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Trends in the Indian Fashion and Textile Industries

During the mid-twentieth century, Indian fashion started to grow sans celebrity designers or models or well-recognized brands. The garment was valued purely based on the fabric and its style instead of who made it or who wore it.

Trends in the Textile Industries

In the 1980s, with the first fashion store set up in Mumbai and with an influx of American designers, the culture of designer fashion was introduced. By the beginning of the twenty-first century, the fashion industry rapidly grew, thanks to new designers, models, and a vast collection of sensible designs.

The Indian ethnic designs and materials are still in high demand in the domestic and global fashion markets. The Indian garment and fabric industry’s fundamental advantage over others is the lower cost and vast collection of designs.

Trends in the Indian Fashion

The low cost is due to efficient production, easy availability of raw materials, and a skilled workforce. Adding to this, you have plenty of colleges that focus on fashion and designing. 

The National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) is a leading institute in fashion education, providing knowledge, academic freedom, critical independence, and creative thinking since its inception in 1986. It has 16 professionally managed campuses and makes sure that its prospective students from various parts of the country reach their highest potential in fashion education.

The sector has a solid growth from foreign direct investments for over a decade. The future of the Indian fashion industry is quite promising thanks to new material blends, new business models, and the growth of tech in this industry.

How can Lio help With Managing Your Textile Business

So, if you are wondering how to start a textile business in a secure way, then we would love to suggest that you should go for Lio.

Manage your textile business well with Lio. The application is easy to use and lets you work in the most efficient and organised manner. You can manage all your invoices here. Make a note of them or simply click a picture of the invoice and upload them. You can also maintain records of all the purchase you have made whether it is daily, weekly or monthly. Not just this, you can also manage the details about the karigars, suppliers and challan along with many other things with Lio.

Lio is definitely for the win and using it for your business is only going to make your journey smooth and easy to track.

Step 1: Select the Language you want to work on. Lio on Android

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Step 2: Create your account using your Phone Number or Email Id.

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Verify the OTP and you are good to go.

Step 3: Select a template in which you want to add your data.

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Step 4: All Done? Share and Collaborate with your contacts.

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The textile and apparel industry is one of the biggest industries in India. It is also the main source of foreign exchange earnings in the country. 

With an abundance of raw materials, a wide variety of designs, a large pool of skilled workforce, and government subsidiaries, the industry is in a strong position and can catapult India to great heights in the coming days.

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About the author

Ashutosh Bhatt

Ashutosh joined Lio as the marketing manager and has played a significant role in our growth. A traveler at heart, you might just catch him on a flight to any exotic countries around the world when he isn't busy ranking websites.

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