Saturday, 16 December 2017

Puma expanding India base, to open 35 more stores

Global sportswear brand Puma is looking to open 35 new stores in the coming one year to increase its footprint in the country. The brand that currently has 355 stores across 120 cities added 60 new ones in the last one year and are looking to launch 35 in tier I, II and III cities.

The brand, just 10 years old in India, a late entrant when compared to its competitors, has managed to hold on to its number one position in the sportswear category. According to Bjorn Gulden, CEO, Puma, India will be among the top five global markets for Puma.

Valued at around Rs 6,000 crore, the sportswear brand is seeing some stiff competition. Skechers, the US-based footwear and apparel company, which debuted in 2012, recently announced it will expand to tier-II and III cities and add 400 more exclusive stores to strengthen its India business. The German sportswear giant adidas is also looking to tap into the tier-II and III markets as a part of its long-term plan.

Apart from increasing the number of stores, Puma, whose 30 per cent sales happen through e-commerce platforms, is looking to invest and build its e-commerce platform to stay ahead in the game.

“We are making huge investments in technology to change our approach towards the market. We will invest heavily in building our e-commerce platform, as online is the future. Our focus is on running e-commerce platforms directly through our own website and through online market places. At present, 30 per cent of our total sale comes from our e-commerce platform. We are investing heavily on, and are working towards increasing the size of the catalogue on our website as well as ensuring a better supply chain,” said Debosmita Majumder, Head of Marketing Puma India.

While Majumder agrees that tier-I cities are their strong market, she points out that internet penetration and high levels awareness among consumers has made tier-II and III cities equally important.

“The internet and social media provides everyone with access to global content, and, therefore, consumers are seeking products available globally. Consumers in tier-II and III markets today are well educated about brands and the products they offer. We reach out to them through, and through our physical stores,” added Majumder.

Puma has been in the news recently for its new marketing exercise Suede Gully. The campaign, created by DDB Mudra to celebrate 50 years of the iconic Suede sneaker, which has been a symbol of street culture and hip-hop for over a decade, features eight rappers, 36 dancers, seven artists and countless creators.

Speaking about why they believe in creating good content and not arbitrary spending when it comes to marketing, Majumder said, “We believe that creating unique experiences and exciting content to engage with our consumers reaps far more benefit than just putting marketing budgets behind traditional marketing channels. Suede Gully is our effort to provide a platform for the youth and artists in our country which will help them express themselves in the form of art and music.”

Apart from leveraging the digital medium, Puma believes that creating experiences is the way to connect with the audience.

“We recently brought Virat Kohli on board as our global ambassador to help us get India moving towards a more active lifestyle. We have brought Disha Patani as our sportstyle and fitness expert for India. We believe that creating exciting experiences for consumers will also help develop a sports ecosystem in the country. From unveiling the official Arsenal kits in India, taking fans to experience Arsenal matches at the Emirates stadium, or opportunities to interact with sporting legends such as Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell, Boris Becker, Robert Pires and Thierry Henry – these experiences help engage with people in India. Activities like these not only help build the brand but also serve as inspiration to pursue sport in everyday life,” said Majumder.

Indian skipper Kohli who has, according to media reports, struck an eight-year deal with Puma worth about Rs 110 crore, also launched his athleisure brand One8 in collaboration with the brand.

Sporting brands also have strong sport associations. adidas was associated with the recently concluded U-17 FIFA World Cup and is also the official sports partner for FIFA World Cup to take place next year in Russia.

Speaking about their sports associations, Majumder said, “For building an active sporting community in India, there has to be a right combination of initiatives that target the grassroots level as well as help inspire people at every stage to pursue sport. We have hosted Ignite Your City runs to motivate people to take to running. We are also associated with the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon and Tata Steel Kolkata 25k to propagate the sport. Last year, we globally launched the Do You movement aimed at encouraging women to follow their instincts and find their best self. This ignited a spark in the women’s segment for training and being themselves unapologetically. We were associated with the ISL as the official ball and boot partner for 2015, and were also the kit partner for ISL teams – Mumbai City FC, Delhi Dynamos FC and Kerala Blasters FC.”

Friday, 15 December 2017

Rs 2,600-cr package for leather and footwear industry to boost jobs: Govt

The government on Friday approved a Rs 2,600 crore special package for employment generation in the leather and footwear sector, which has the potential to generate 324,000 jobs in three years and assist in the formalisation of 200,000 jobs.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi here.

The package involves implementation of central scheme 'Indian Footwear, Leather & Accessories Development Programme', with an expenditure of Rs 2,600 crore during 2017-18 to 2019-20.

"The scheme would lead to development of infrastructure for the leather sector; address environmental concerns specific to the leather sector and facilitate additional investments, job creation and production," the government said.

Moreover, the enhanced tax incentive would attract large-scale investments in the sector and reforms in labour laws in view of seasonal nature of the sector will support economies of scale, it said.

The package has the potential to generate 324,000 new jobs in three years and assist in the formalisation of 200,000 jobs as cumulative impact in footwear, leather and accessories sector.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Footwear brand Woodland to ramp up presence in North East

Apparel and footwear maker Woodland will look to ramp up its presence in the North East. It will also consolidate the regional presence with area-specific offerings.

According to Harkirat Singh, Managing Director, Woodland had previously been slow in expanding in the North East. However, with increase in trade queries and some existing stores turning profitable in quick succession, it makes more business sense now.

It plans around nine-odd stores in Kolkata and the North East over the next one year. While three-four will be in Kolkata, other places being explored include Tezpur, Guwahati, Aizawl, Itanagar and Kohima.

At present it has three stores in Guwahati, and one each in Tezpur, Gangtok, Shillong and Agartala.

All the new stores in the region will be company-owned.

“We will look to tap the North East. Woodland has been slow in tapping the region as we weren’t sure how the area will react to our offerings. But, with some of the existing stores there turning profitable in quick succession, we are confident of doing good business there,” Singh told BusinessLine.

The brand’s Gangtok store had been able to turn profitable in one of the shortest time spans — within one year of inauguration. In fact, a majority of the North East stores are profitable, said Singh.

“We found a lot of pent-up demand for our outdoor offerings like footwear and jackets. Our outdoor offerings would also be a good fit in the hilly regions of the North East,” he added.


Incidentally, Woodland gained popularity as an adventure brand with rugged footwear and jackets. This had somewhat limited its presence to select markets that experience harsher winters or extreme weather conditions. In markets like the East, it gained prominence (during its early days) as a winter wear maker.

However, over the years, the brand has worked on its offerings with apparels now accounting for nearly 35 per cent of its revenues. Another 15-odd per cent comes from accessories.

In fact, it also focuses on region-specific offerings that include lighter jackets and windcheaters for select markets and heavier ones for cold weather.

In the South Indian markets, it focuses on slippers/sandals and chappals.

In recent times, it has also launched canvas sneakers that are mostly sold through multi-brand formats. It is also exploring other footwear offerings in the non-leather segment.

“We are open to region-specific offerings,” Singh said.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

How men’s footwear industry is mushrooming in India

India is globally the second largest footwear producer after China. India’s footwear production accounts for approximately 9 per cent of the global annual production of 22 billion pairs as compared to China’s which produces over 60 per cent.Categorically, men footwear industry has showcased a steady uptick in terms of growth, because of rising disposable income coupled with the increasing awareness of international fashion trends.

According to industry insights, the Indian footwear market is dominated by casual players that makes up for nearly two-third of the total footwear retail market. The majority of the Indian footwear market is men’s footwear that accounts for nearly 58 per cent of the total Indian footwear retail market. Non-leather footwear accounts for ~1.23 billion pairs, or 56 per cent of the footwear market in India. And while the industry is dominated by the unorganized SME footwear players, but with changing consumer behavior and modern lifestyle, the organized footwear retail segment has started shaping up in India.

In light of this, men’s footwear market has always been the center of attraction for international players over the last few years – especially when native footwear brands are adding the ‘Indianness’ to their brand narrative, culture, emotion, and overall appeal. With evolving fashion sensibilities of the Indian male consumer, the male footwear industry is becoming perfectly compatible with the overall fashion and lifestyle realm. Additionally, online stores have also become an important channel of sales for men’s footwear in the country in the last few years. An unparalleled development in e-commerce due to rising penetration of internet in urban, rural and sub-urban cities across India also signifies the favorable prospects for the industry. Indian manufacturers are increasingly using online mediums to connect with the fashion-driven consumer through a carefully designed personalized experience.

Men’s footwear brands are increasingly focusing on providing general category benefits by understanding the Indian consumer’s buying sentiment and their key emotional drivers. Offline footwear stores are offering experience zones to consumers so they can indulge in their chosen footwear and find their fashion connect. Further, functional experience such as user experience (UX) of the website, the checkout experience, payment experience, grievance management, the after sales service, convenience, speed, competitive pricing is expected to organize the industry’s functioning. And although,major footwear brand manufacturers are facing stiff competition on the pricing front, but brands are keeping the brand consciousness intact, with a long-term, sustainable consumer connect to resonate with [their] footwear fashion style statement.

Wearing shoes is no more a standalone style statement; men’s footwear choices are constantly evolving with fashion trends. And while these choices could be episodic, the consummate feeling of wearing success comes with the right footwear – be it casual, party or formal. This is because basic trends never go out of fashion. The best example in this context can beof environment friendly/ hand-crafted shoes that are made of recyclable materials and yet bring comfort. That said, men’s footwear choices are based on longevity of use, style and elegance – and that’s where the industry is moving: towards stunning designs, artistic sense of craftsmanship, finest artisanship and impeccable service for the chicest male connoisseurs.

No matter what the trend of fashion or even a season is, India is a multi-cultural country that has a fashion slant of every culture. And that’s why several leading footwear brands are also venturing into the Tier III and II cities, which comprises 55 per cent of the footwear industry in India.

It’s no more about a premium or staple footwear label; brands that can build a luxurious perception in the mind of consumer, and continue to showcase and launch new designs, patterns and concepts/ themes, with the focus on consumer’s wide and vast fashion palate, will eventually thrive.

Monday, 11 December 2017

How Changing Trends Resurrected FILA As A Fashion Brand

FILA, a mid-market footwear and apparel company that some had left for dead, has shifted its image to an on-trend fashion brand.

Similar to how adidas AG (ADR) ADDYY engineered a turnaround three years ago, positioning the brand at the intersection of sport and fashion, FILA is also reinventing itself. The company has re-emerged as an in-demand fashion brand in the sneaker game.

A Footwear Comeback

After returning to the U.S. nearly seven years ago, FILA was a family value brand focused on big channels like Kohl’s Corporation
. During the time however, FILA opened up a new channel, FILA Heritage, aimed at widening its exposure to the sneakerhead market.

“One thing we have right now is the attention of the consumer. We have no celebrity or athletic endorsers — it’s all about the brand. The conversation you have with the consumer needs to be consistent, you need to reinforce past stories, but you need to be consistent for the kids to continue to buy into it,” Louis Colon III, director of heritage for FILA North America, told Benzinga.

FILA’s "Heritage" category has grown exponentially and has become a key business driver for the brand, with sales of the segment up 146 percent this year. Over the past four years, FILA’s heritage business has doubled its growth every year, Colon said.

“In 2018, we are making the brand a fashion brand and marketing to a younger consumer, applying new techniques. The conversation you will see around the brand will be a lot different. We want to tell a fashion story with a sport twist. Everything you see from us has a sport twist, ” Colon said.

'Ugly Shoe'

Since footwear trends are moving in the brand’s favor, FILA has a new opportunity to connect with the younger generation who may not be familiar with the brand’s past but are attracted to its products.

So how was FILA able to change the narrative?

One of the hottest trends in footwear is the “ugly” shoe movement. FILA helped pioneer the style, but it's now being brought to the forefront through high fashion brands like Balenciaga and Fendi. Kim Kardashian teased the latest Adidas Yeezy sneaker — which looks similar to the FILA Disruptor 2 — on social media. The look has quickly become one of the most in-demand styles, and has in turn made the brand an on-trend fashion staple.

“When you see brands in high, high fashion selling the ugly shoe, the bulky shoe — we have had this in our brand DNA since 1993,” Colon said.

“The bulky shoe trend will continue to influence footwear design over the next 18 months. It will go extreme as it is, and you will see more aggressive bottoms."

Relying on past strategies may not be enough for footwear companies to keep up with today’s fast-changing consumer, Colon said. FILA is not simply resting on playing into trends and is positioning its comeback to be something greater than just a fad, he said.

“Now people are looking for more value, for more authenticity, but it needs to be on-trend. The big ships can’t turn that fast. We have an advantage [in that] we are smaller and nimble and have built an infrastructure to be able to turn things around really fast. I think you will see more businesses adapt to our business model. Some of our competitors need to reposition themselves as a little smaller, which is harder because they are a bigger ship,” he said.

“We are not resting on the fact that we are a nostalgia brand. We can balance being a fashion brand of today and tomorrow. Once brands rely on so much on what the past was, they will end up having the shortest life of all the brands. The ones that can balance past present and future are the ones that will last,” Colon said.

Footwear industry analyst Matt Powell said there's excitement surrounding the trajectory of the FILA brand.

“They have two elements to their line. FILA is still a strong mid-market piece. They have a good movement at Kohl’s and at the same time have been able to establish a business at Bloomingdale's and Urban Outfitters. All that is a testament to the brand — they are doing the right stuff. It’s new and yet it’s authentic, and that’s an exciting combination.”

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Adidas partners with Lifestyle International Pvt. Ltd.

It inaugurated the first such outlet on Friday in MGF Metropolis, Gurugram in the presence of renowned boxing athlete Nikhat Zareen, actress Sanya Malhotra and musician Monica Dogra.

The adidas women’s apparel products will be available in 16 Lifestyle stores across Delhi-NCR, Mumbai and Bangalore.

The association aims at reaching versatile women across India and inspire them to reinvent their routine, create their own path and make a difference in their lives. With this partnership, customers will have access to high-quality apparel, for fitness and athleisure, which will help them in setting new personal benchmarks in their respective fields.

Speaking on the association, Sr. Marketing Director, adidas Group India, Sean Van Wyk said, “We are pleased to introduce Shop-In-Shop outlets in association with Lifestyle International Pvt. Ltd. for our women’s product category. The partnership with Lifestyle will strengthen our reach across cities and make adidas accessible to a larger set of women. adidas believes in encouraging women to take up sport and fitness and with such initiatives we hope to bring this cultural change to the forefront. We look forward to a meaningful association between both the brands.”

The announcement was followed by a high octane Zumba session hosted by India’s leading Zumba Zin, Shwetambari Shetty and the Cult Crew.

Friday, 8 December 2017

This Entrepreneur Is Growing Organic Leather Without the Cows

Andras Forgacs co-founded Modern Meadow to revolutionize the materials we wear everyday.
If you visit the Modern Museum of Art (MoMa) in New York City this winter, you’ll see a unique graphic t-shirt on display at the new Is Fashion Modern? exhibit. It’s not made from cotton, or a synthetic fabric like polyester. The material, dubbed Zoa, is “biofabricated,” and meant to resemble something like leather. Developed by a company called Modern Meadow, the t-shirt is derived from organic materials, but doesn’t utilize skin from cows or any other animal.

“Leather is one of our most ancient and beautiful materials, we love it. But we believe there’s a whole realm of innovation to be explored,” Andras Forgacs, the founder and CEO of Modern Meadow, told me on a phone call. “And to do it in a way that’s sustainable, that doesn’t harm animals.”

Modern Meadow is aiming to radically alter the leather economy, which has an estimated global trade value of around $100 billion per year. Forgacs and his team want to replace one of humankind’s most ancient materials with something not only new, but also sustainable. Leather is ultimately a byproduct of the food industry, but if people begin widely eating so-called clean meat, it might become more scarce.

“We’re on the cusp of biology and technology coming together to build a whole new engine of innovation for everything,” Forgacs said. “We have natural materials and we have synthetic materials. There’s going to be a third category made from the same building blocks of nature.”

Forgacs called me at the start of a busy day in December. That night, he was headed to London for the Business of Fashion’s annual VOICES conference, where he was going to present about Zoa and what we might wear in the future.

“I’m hardly one to speak about fashion as an authority,” Forgacs said when I asked about the conference. I pointed out that it must be hard to build a company focused on sustainability in a business known for excess and extravagance. He mostly shrugged the idea off. “Fashion is an incredibly self-conscious industry,” he argued. As consumers grow more conscious about what they wear, the industry will change with them, he said.

Forgacs and his company are ultimately betting that fashion brands and their customers will want to wear clothes made from biofabricated materials like Zoa. Last year, Modern Meadow convinced investors that the idea was viable. It raised $40 million, bringing the company’s total funding to over $50 million. Now, it’s full speed ahead. The goal next year is to debut several pieces of clothing developed in collaboration with different fashion brands.

Forgacs doesn’t have a scientific background, but he has been working in the field for over a decade. After stints in finance and consulting, he and his father, Gabor Forgacs—an accomplished scientist— launched Organovo in 2007. Now a publicly-traded company, Organovo grows real human tissue in the lab for medical and pharmaceutical research.

“A lot of conversations began to come up about where we could take this technology,” Forgacs said. “Like If you could make skin, could you make leather? I was really intrigued by this idea: Could we take biofabrication beyond medicine?”

To grow Zoa, Forgacs’ team begins with a strain of yeast that’s genetically engineered to produce a protein identical to that of cattle collagen—the protein found in cow’s skin. Collagen is the main structuctural protein in all animals; it’s what makes skin strong and elastic. Modern Meadow isn’t the first company to utilize genetic engineering to create a luxury good. Similar techniques have been used to create new varieties of materials like silk, for example

“The way we make our collagen is we brew it. We developed a type of yeast that eats sugar and produces collagen,” Forgacs told me. The company’s lab “looks very much like a brewery.” Modern Meadow’s chief creative officer Suzanne Lee has experimented with making clothes from kombucha in the past.

What’s ultimately created is a customizable sheet of raw “leather,” that can be dyed, tanned, and finished in any way a designer pleases. Zoa comes out polished; free from the blemishes characteristic of cowhide. In the future, designers could even tinker with the genetic properties of Zoa, in order to optimize for one feature over another, like thinness or sturdiness.

Forgacs stressed to me that Zoa ultimately isn’t intended to try and imitate leather; it’s meant to be a new material entirely. But it certainly reminds you of the material.

“Some of the most exciting innovation is not when it’s about imitating the past,” Forgacs said. “It’s when it’s familiar enough that I understand where it came from, but then it’s also provoking me with something new.”

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Duke launches maiden flagship footwear store

Leading fashion and lifestyle brand Duke Fashions India, has opened an exclusive flagship footwear store in Ludhiana. The showroom offers a wide range of shoes. The collection has a loving, detailed branding. The footwear range feature’s superlight and comfortable shoes, inspired by the defining trends of international fashion, which guarantees fashionable, latest and elegant styles in trendy designs. Cushioning, support, shock absorption, breathability, traction, lightweight, and stability are just some of the elements in the range for men.

Duke is known for its standardized fits, superior quality, wide range and 'fashion-right' styles in its segment, making it the trusted brand amongst consumers. A breathable mesh upper and no-sew overlays provide comfort, smooth movement and optimum support. The classy varieties from Duke will equip your footwear closet like never before. From sleek-looking to party-material, check everything is available at Duke new footwear showroom.

The success of the exclusive showroom is driving the company to new heights. With a strong focus on fashion and style, Duke caters to the young cosmopolitan Indian offering them the season's latest trends and catering to their ever-changing fashion needs. Duke has over 4,000 multi brand outlets and over 360 exclusive stores across major cities in India. Moreover the products are also exclusively placed at big chain stores and on online business portals.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

How Puma entered India as a latecomer and still became a leading sportswear brand

Puma is constantly reinventing itself to keep up with the competition in the Indian market, a country in which sporting goods is becoming bigger and bigger business.

Puma CEO Bjorn Gulden recently said that India will be among top five global markets for Puma.

The Drum spoke with Debosmita Majumdar, head of marketing, Puma India to find out how they aim to achieve this. She says that India is strategic for the brand, particularly given how recently it entered the market.

"India is a very strategic market for us. Though we entered the Indian market in 2006 - much after other players – we have grown to become the leading sportswear brand in the country in just one decade. Our brand and products are extremely popular with our target consumer group i.e. the millennials and Generation Z. India is also a key market for us when it comes to launching innovative products. "

"What has worked for us is the new and exciting ways that we engage with our consumers. This, coupled with extremely high-on-style products, has helped us stay ahead of the game. In the coming years as well, we will continue to engage with our consumers by bringing them the most unique experiences and cutting edge products that are high on performance and style. "

To engage its Indian audience, Puma has in the past brought sporting legends, such as Robert Pires, Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell, Boris Becker and Thierry Henry for fans to interact with them. Puma has also launched Arsenal kits in India and created a mini-museum for fans to relive nostalgic moments of the club, and has even taken selected fans to experience a game live at the Emirates stadium.

Majumdar says: "Our strategy is to identify our target group and find an authentic voice to communicate to them, and present to them the brand in the way that they associate and relate to it. We always strive to create exciting yet engaging experiences for our consumers, so they understand that Puma wants to invest in them."

As to how important it is for Puma to cater to millennials, Majumdar says:"Our primary target group is the connected, engaged millennial and Generation Z. This consumer segment is characterized by their high usage and influence of digital communication mediums. While they do consume content, they also use these platforms to communicate with each other and with brands and businesses. They are influenced by both local and global culture – fashion, trends, behavior etc. We call them Generation Hustle – always on the move to chart their own path and make an impact."

According to Majumdar, this aspirational set of young consumer are looking to be inspired and so using sports stars and influencers is a key way to gain credibility.

"It is essential for us to always stay relevant to this target group, and this means being adaptable and moving at their pace. They are influenced not just by their peers and network, but also by people they look up to – musicians, athletes, celebrities etc. Our aim is to engage with this consumer set and the people they admire to tell our brand stories. We want to collaborate with them – consumers and their influencers – to tell our story."

Majumdar further emphasizes on the influence of social media on consumers. She adds: "Today’s youth are exposed to global content, thanks to the influx of social media. They are easily able to differentiate whether a brand is only ‘selling’ to them or engaging with them to contribute to their individual journeys. Consumers today like immersive experiences, it assures them that brands are also investing in them. In order to provide them with exceptional experiences, we complement our initiatives with product-led advertising and influencer engagement which creates interest among the fans and consumers."

According to Majumdar, Puma believes that a bit of localization is essential to connect with the audiences. She says: "Our campaigns bring in the local nuances so the message we want to put out becomes relatable for our consumer. A ‘one shoe fits all’ strategy doesn’t work; we need to personalize the campaign so consumers are able to relate to our communication."

A recent example of this is its 'Suede Gully' campaign, which integrated Indian graffiti, street dance and hip hop in four languages, taking a very globally recognizable street style aesthetic but promoting it in a hyper-local way.

"Being a global brand, we do run international campaigns across the world. But we do customize it to each country so it resonates better with our consumers."

Puma also roped in Indian cricketer Virat Kohli on board as its global ambassador who launched his athleisure brand One8, in collaboration with them.

According to Indian Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF) total sports goods exports for the year ended FY 2016-17 is US$ 227.70m, as compared to the US$ 274.50m during the previous year.

The market is set to become even more competitive, as brands realize there's scale and success to be had in engaging India's aspirational youth. Constant reinvention will surely help Puma retain its short, but significant, impact on the sector.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Why Kanpur’s Tanneries Are At The Centre Of A Fight To Save The Ganga

In Jajmau, the epicentre of a legal and political battle to save India’s holiest river, the Ganga turns black. Tanneries in the Kanpur-Unnao industrial belt of Uttar Pradesh discharge effluents into the river, untreated. Toxic fumes make the air unbreathable.

“It’s so bad that even our utensils turn black,” Pankaj Kumar, who lives along the riverbanks, said.
Yet, highly polluting tanneries contribute only 8 percent of the effluents that flow into the river, the Centre of Science and Environment said in a 2013 report. More than 70 percent of wastewater comes from paper, pulp and distilleries. To add to that, cities along the banks dump domestic sewage water into the river.

The Ganga is India’s largest river basin, covering 26 percent of the nation’s landmass and supporting 43 percent of its population, according to the CSE report. Along the entire stretch of the Ganga – and its tributaries, Kali and Ramganga – 764 industries consume 1,123 million litres of water, throwing back about half those volumes as effluents. About 90 percent of the industries are in Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state. And the stretch from Kanpur to Varanasi is the worst polluted.

So, are the tanneries being singled out?

Other industries and the domestic sewage pollute as well, Sushmita Sengupta, programme manager at CSE, told BloombergQuint. “But Kanpur is a hotspot. The tannery cluster lets out chromium that turns the river black.”

Agrees MC Mehta, environmental activist and lawyer, who filed a public interest litigation in the Supreme Court to save the Ganga more than three decades ago. All industries and domestic and hospital waste are responsible for the pollution, he said. “But tanneries are the most polluting.”

The National Green Tribunal last year ordered closure of about 100 of 402 registered tanneries along the Ganga. Another 100 have shut after the twin blows of demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath now wants the rest shifted out. The cluster, which contributes about a third of India’s leather exports, may not recover from the blow.

Khalid Nadri, who owns a small tannery in the area says, “It would be disastrous if the industry is shifted and it could create huge job losses across the industry.”

However, the NGT has proposed setting up of another treatment plant in the area. “If this happens, it would save our industry from the losses,” he added.

The government’s Rs 20,000-crore flagship ‘Namami Gange’ plans to set up treatment plants for sewage and industrial effluents, besides beautifying the riverfronts. It’s the latest such plan and the first one was mooted as early as 1954, according to the CSE report.

In fact, a common effluent treatment plant was set up in Jajmau in 1996, to treat nine million litres of water a day let out by 175 tanneries. Yet, as the number of leather units more than doubled, it proved insufficient.

In 2015, only half the 26 million litres a day of tannery refuse that flowed into the river was sent to the plant, an NGT report said. The effluents at the plant too are hardly treated.

Tanneries have to install primary units to separate chromium. The water then flows into the common plant operated by the government.

"We do primary treatment at our unit. But the secondary plant is over 20 years old and it’s no longer efficient. The NGT in its last order said that these plants need to be upgraded. We hope in the next two years this will be done with the government’s help.
                                   Taj Alam, Vice-Chairman , UP Leather Industries Association

Tannery owners say they are willing to comply with guidelines but run into red tape.
“There are at least 10 departments that monitor the discharge. NAMAMI Ganga, UP Pollution Control Board, Central Pollution Control Board, National Ganga Basin, NGT, UP Jal Nigam, Nagar Nigam, etc,” said Qazi Naiyer Jamal of the local Leather Industries Welfare Association. These departments should be coordinating with each other. We waste all our time and energy replying to letters we get from different tribunals.”

Most leather units are small and said setting up primary plants would cost them upwards of Rs 1 crore. “We are anyway facing a financial crisis as business has slowed down,” said Mohammad Sharif who operates a tannery in Jajmau. “Where will we get the money to upgrade the treatment plant? The government should provide some help.”

Saddaqat Ali, who runs a small workshop, blamed corruption for the state of the Ganga along Kanpur-Unnao stretch.

The leather units are less at fault, he said. “There is no end to corruption. The diesel that comes to the plant is sold off. They don’t operate the machines and the industry water goes directly into the river,” he said. “Till that ends, the Ganga will never be clean.”

Queries sent to the UP Pollution Control Board remained unanswered.
Environmentalist Mehta said the only way forward is to shift the cluster some 20 kilometres away from the river basin. And that’s just the beginning.

"Other industries such as sugar, distilleries, chemicals, paper and pulp are also responsible. I am not asking just for one industry. I am arguing against everybody
                                           MC Mehta, Lawyer And Environmental Activist

Monday, 4 December 2017

Dear men, here’s how to up your shoe fashion game this winter

Winter is a great time to experiment with cuts and colours and explore your fashionable side. Men, layering is the game for apparel in winter but don’t forget to team it up with right shoes to add the final touch to your ensemble. Here are some great tips on the kind of shoes to wear this winter:

*White sneakers: White men’s trainers are a must if you want to wear something sporty yet trendy. One could argue that they get dirty but they go with everything and are especially useful when layering.

*Black casual shoes: It goes well if you are going for a monochromatic look this winter or your game is neutral colours. From high-tops to slip-ons to lace-ups, there is so much you can choose from.

*High-top sneakers: If you have been eyeing that high top pair, now is your chance to get it. These shoes will keep your feet warm and at the same time add to your style quotient. Mix and match the print or the fabric of the shoe to suit your requirement: from leather to suede or print to plain.

*Leather lace-up boots: Lace ups are a great look. These kind of boots go great with skinnier jeans. A nice pair of jeans, a t-shirt and some lace ups boots will put you head and shoulders above the other people in the room. Not only are they great winter boots, but they are great any season boots for men.

*Cap toe leather boots: Who said one couldn’t wear boots with formal attires. A cap-toe boot has the added advantage of extra leather on the toe, which gives it a little bit more protection from snow and rain. Plus, just as with cap-toe oxfords, it’s a nice added element of style.

* Chelsea boots: While Chelsea can come in either suede or smooth leather; the typical pair includes a leather sole, rounded toe box and minimal stitching. If you’re looking to sharpen up your act however, both styling and the boot’s ankle height come into play. The taller ankle height is very on trend and adds a smarter feel for a sharper look. These look great when worn with slim jeans, a crisp white shirt and a smart wool coat.
– Inputs from Ankita Bajaj Shankar, marketing lead at Vans India and Harkirat Singh, managing director at Woodland

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Colorado Study Shows Nike Shoe Makes Running 4% Easier

Sports is chock-full of seemingly unbeatable records. Joe DiMaggio’s hit streak, Cal Ripken’s consecutive-games streak and Wayne Gretzky’s 2,857 career points all represent mind-boggling figures. These are the numbers that keep us watching.

An elusive mark from the running world is the 2-hour marathon. The closest anyone has come (and the current world record) was Kenya’s Dennis Kimetto who clocked in at 2:02:57 in 2014. Three minutes doesn’t sound like much, but any long-distance runner will tell you otherwise.

Nike’s new “Zoom Vaporfly 4%” shoe is making the mark more feasible, according to a recent University of Colorado-Boulder study that discovered that the shoe reduces energy use up to 4 percent while running. While Nike did fund the study, authors say that “in no way influenced the results.”

The Zoom Vaporfly 4% was originally created in conjunction with the Nike Breaking2 project to aim for a marathon run under two hours, and to test the shoe, researchers had participants (a group of 18 experienced male runners) each run six five-minute treadmill trials per day for three days. While running, they would breathe into a device measuring oxygen consumption.

Participants wore three different pairs of shoes, one being Vaporfly 4%, which lived up to its name and showed an average energy savings of 4%.

“Every single day at every single speed, every runner used less energy with the prototype shoe,” senior research author Rodger Kram said in a statement. “There is no reason to believe the results would be different for slower speeds, since our findings were the same at all the speeds we tested.”

Nike on Friday trumpeted that elite runners wearing the shoes had captured 19 of the 36 possible top-three finishes among the 2017 World Major Marathons, including American woman Shalane Flanagan winning the New York City Marathon last month.

Quickness does come with a hefty price; the Zoom Vaporfly 4%’s are $250 per pair and will be available this month, with new colorways coming in 2018 on and select retailers.

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