KARACHI - The local manufacturers of textile and clothing can fully compete in international market by pursuing aggressive marketing strategies and innovative branding, according to the latest report from the State Bank of Pakistan. A paradigm shift appears to be emerging in textile designing and branding. Large textile firms are entering fabric processing in collaboration with fashion designers - textile firms are providing fabric whereas designers are providing brand recognition, said the SBP report. The report found that the collaboration between textile manufacturers and the fashion industry is the first step towards a paradigm shift in apparel exports. The report expects this collaboration will not remain limited to lawn production and marketing, but could penetrate other categories like garments and knitwear. According to the report, the majority of Pakistans apparel manufacturers do not compete in the global markets as their designs are not sensitive to changing global trends. Furthermore, Pakistans presence in the world market is largely focused on mens clothing, women clothing is more fashion-oriented and demands continuous market research. Now with professional and contemporary designers on-board, there is an opportunity for local apparel manufacturers to penetrate this profitable market segment, it stated. The domestic textile firms are realising the value of branding and thus the need to invest in it. Progressively, they are reading the mood of local consumers to gauge how much more they are willing to pay for specific brand, and are formulating business strategies accordingly, it observed. The textile firms are taking leaps in marketing. Besides deploying traditional advertisement campaigns in the mainstream media, they are using the web and promotional magazines to enhance the appeal of their products, the report said. The report commented, As an outcome of branding and marketing, the potential for exports of processed fabric is much enhanced. Due to cultural similarities, Pakistans processed fabric has a large market in India and Bangladesh. It is a stylised fact that, Pakistani fabric is well-liked, especially in India, where local retailers order fabrics in bulk from Pakistan, A couple of Pakistani textile firms have even opened their retail outlets in India. Some firms have also started selling online for the same reasons, the report said, adding that Pakistan has a huge market in the UAE and some western countries, thanks to Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi diaspora in these countries. The report showed that the phenomenon of involving fashion houses in textile designing began some four years back, the fervour it touched this year is unprecedented. One of the key reasons is their aggressive marketing strategy; they selected leading celebrities from the fashion industry as their brand ambassadors. Hence, well reputed textile firms, with strong brand recognition, strategised so as not to go out of competition. While some firms chose to rely only on revamping marketing campaigns; others decided to run parallel product lines - one with the firms name, and a second with the designer label. The report said that contrary to this trend, some critics are of the opinion that large-scale branding and marketing of casual wear has only propped up unbridled consumerism in the country. They feel Pakistan is already struggling with lavish spending habits and mass media campaigns are only nurturing these habits. They also believe that collaboration between textile firms and designers is small-scale, and limited only to the big cities, which will not impact sectors long-run growth. Over the years, analysts characterized the local textile sector as one with stagnant products and markets. Textile manufacturers were not investing in product innovation, or marketing to diversify business portfolios. Today, however they are taking strides in both directions, it mentioned.