The FINANCIAL — The manufacturing of silk is starting up again in Georgia.
Apparel company Elselema is commencing the production of silk. Next year the first locally-produced raw materials will already be available in Georgia.
Silk is a very popular fabric in modern fashion and is therefore in high demand. A great deal of different silk fabrics were presented at Texworld Apparel Sourcing in Paris, one of the largest leading international business fairs providing a platform for the European sourcing of accessories, shirting, casual wear and knitwear. Elguja Mamasakhlisi, Director of Elselema, was present at the fair along with representatives of four other apparel companies aiming to become better in tune with modern fashion trends.
The Georgian delegation was assisted by USAID’s EPI (Economic Prosperity Initiative) apparel sector consultant. In general EPI is providing full assistance to Elselema in order to accomplish the procedure and involve more Georgia companies in starting a similar business.
“We had a few silk cocoons last year so I decided to sell the fabric,” Elguja Mamasakhlisi said. “People from almost all the regions came to buy it. So next year we will have lots of silk cocoons to produce the fabric. We have recently bought a mechanism for printing on fabrics. Printed, colourful silk is very modern and popular, as Texworld Apparel Sourcing showed us. So we have everything we need to achieve success in this direction. Of course, USAID’s EPI is supporting us greatly as well.”
All apparel companies operating in Georgia are importing silk from different countries, which is not terribly convenient for them. After locally produced silk appears on the market, lots of their problems will be solved. In addition the quality and price will be totally satisfactory for them.
“I attended Texworld Apparel Sourcing where I got lots of ideas for the production of silk,” Mamasakhlisi explained. “This is a very good exhibition in terms of being able to learn global trends. I got fresh ideas and a better sense of current fashion trends and modern global apparel requirements. Now I know what kind of silk prints are fashionable and what prices are reasonable.”
“In the first stage of producing I will sell silk clothing as well as raw materials locally, but later on I plan to export,” he added.
In general commencing silk production will support the development of the apparel sector in Georgia, which is already on this path thanks to USAID’s EPI.
“The resurgence of past success will have a great impact especially against the current background of no raw material being produced in Georgia,” Eka Nadareishvili, Apparel Sector Consultant at USAID’s EPI, told The FINANCIAL. “This will provide a basis for creating room for raw material production.”
“Georgia is rich in natural resources and fertile land enabling the production of high quality silk which can make Georgia more competitive both on local and international markets,” she added.
Silk producers from China, India as well as Turkey at Texworld Apparel Sourcing claimed that the silk trade is on the rise all over the world. This fact also encouraged Mamsakhlisi to commence silk producing. After learning all the modern trends he is now able to start this with more confidence.
“I know that it is not easy and needs a lot of finances. But I believe in my staff. I am sure we can create silk which will be on a competitive level with those exhibited in Paris,” he claimed.
Another apparel company, Iveria, is starting a new underwear line. In general underwear is not manufactured in Georgia and this niche will be quite successful if the products are of affordable prices and at the same time, high quality.
“We need silk for our underwear line,” said Mzia Lashkhia, Head of Production at Iveria. “After several months of unsuccessful attempts to find an organic silk producer for this new line, the Apparel Sourcing trade show exposed the company to an opportunity to find and negotiate with an organic silk producer from Hong Kong. This will enable Iveria to commence drafting a new plan for launching a new product line.”
Mzia Lashkhia welcomes the fact that there will be locally produced silk in Georgia. It will make underwear producing easier.
In general the apparel business in Georgia is developing quite fast thanks to EPI. Apart to several companies operating in Tbilisi, there are six apparel companies in western Georgian established by Turkish investors. With an average annual growth of 20 percent, Elselema is currently considered one of the most successful companies in the Georgian market. The company works with well-known European and Asian brands, increasing the popularity of Georgian products among international markets.