What is plain on the back, thick and soft on the front, and has a lustrous sheen, whose texture has led to the word's use as an adjective to describe something soft and smooth? VELVET!
Velvet is no longer just a luxury fabric, used only on special occasions and exclusive purposes. Today there are high-end applications and also they serve as simple fashion statements. About 50 lakh meters of velvet fabrics are manufactured in India every month, said Rishabh Shorewala, Executive Director of Klass Velvets Pvt Ltd.
Revealing information on velvets and also his company to ITJ, he said velvet was once a major prerogative of Korea, but then the focus sifted to China. “At present, China is vacating velvet and has only 20 per cent of what it had a decade ago, and everything has shifted to India. Labour problem, pollution issues and the expensive production process were reasons for this shift from China to India. With great export potential to European countries, India is poised to turn into a big manufacturer of velvet fabrics. There are many velvet fabric manufacturers in Surat, Panipat and such areas, but quality producers catering to the export markets are a few. There are about 15 to 20 big players and at least 200 small players in this velvet field,” Shorewala said.
Said Shorewala: “Processing, which is different from other fabrics, is a complex process and there are only a few processing houses for velvet. We are manufacturing 2 lakh metres of velvet fabrics per month, but the quality of the fabrics of very high standards. We have 175 velvet weaving machines, and we have shearing machines. We use softflow dyeing machines and it is the finishing with brushing which imparts the final nice touch to the velvet cloth that makes them unique,” said Shorewala.
Klass Velvet Pvt Ltd, located in Dombivli n Maharashtra, has been in this business for over 70 years. “My grandfather started this velvet business by importing from Germany and Japan and selling them in India. Then we imported from China also. But in the last 10 years we have been weaving them here itself by setting up the required facilities. The imported fabrics were of very high quality. We also follow the same path by focusing on high quality standards.
South America, Africa and Gulf countries are a good market for velvet fabrics. Europe is the best market for high quality velvet.