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Knitting the Future: An Exclusive Interview with Mr. Hitesh Sharma

Meet Mr. Hitesh Sharma, President of the International Federation of Knitting Technologists (IFKT) for North America, a visionary leader with a profound passion for knitting technology. Hailing from Ludhiana, India, renowned as the “Manchester of India,” Mr. Sharma’s journey in knitting began at a tender age. With a distinguished academic background and extensive industry experience, he brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the table. Join us as we delve into Mr. Sharma’s remarkable journey and his vision for the future of the knitting industry.

How do you evaluate the knitting sector globally?

The knitting sector is a significant part of the global textile and apparel industry. It encompasses the production of knitted fabrics, as well as the manufacturing of knitted garments and accessories. Here are a few factors to consider when evaluating the knitting sector globally:

1. Market Size and Growth: The knitting sector has witnessed steady growth over the years, driven by factors such as fashion trends, consumer demand, and the increasing popularity of handcrafted items. The market size can vary depending on the region and the types of knitted products involved.

2. Manufacturing and Trade: Countries like China, Bangladesh, India, and Turkey have traditionally been major players in knitted textile and apparel manufacturing. However, the industry has seen some shifts in production due to factors like changing labor costs, trade policies, and technological advancements. The sector’s evaluation involves analyzing the manufacturing capabilities and trade dynamics of different regions.

3. Technology and Innovation: The knitting sector has undergone significant technological advancements, particularly in areas like computerized knitting machines, 3D knitting, and smart textiles. These innovations have improved production efficiency, product quality, and design possibilities.

4. Sustainability and Ethical Practices: Increasingly, consumers and brands are focusing on sustainable and ethical practices in the textile industry. Evaluating the knitting sector involves considering factors like the use of eco-friendly fibers, energy-efficient manufacturing processes, fair labor practices, and responsible waste management.

5. Consumer Trends and Preferences: Understanding consumer preferences is crucial to evaluating the knitting sector. Factors such as changing fashion trends, demand for specific types of knitted products (e.g., athleisure wear), and the influence of social media can impact the market dynamics.

6. Online Platforms and DIY Culture: The rise of online platforms and the popularity of do-it-yourself (DIY) culture have contributed to the growth of the knitting sector. Online marketplaces and communities have made it easier for knitters to connect, share patterns, and sell their creations.

Please let us know more about IFKT- International Federation of Knitting Technologists missions, Vision, future, and goals.

IFKT missions, vision, future plans, and goals are very specific to the field of knitting technology. IFKT(international federations of knitting technologists) related to knitwear industries or textiles technologies aim to promote collaboration, knowledge sharing, and advancements within their respective fields. We often provide a platform for professionals and experts to connect, exchange ideas, employment opportunities etc. and stay updated with the latest developments in the industry.

What opportunities will the IFKT Congress offer for networking and collaboration among attendees? How do you plan to facilitate meaningful connections between individuals from various sectors of the knitting industry?

IFKT conferences and events will facilitate networking and collaboration among attendees.

1. Structured Networking Sessions: The IFKT Congress can organize structured networking sessions, such as speed networking or roundtable discussions, where attendees can interact with each other in a more focused and intentional way. These sessions can be designed to bring together individuals from different sectors of the knitting industry, enabling them to share insights, exchange ideas, and explore potential collaborations.

2. Interactive Workshop and Panels: If needed, The congress will host interactive workshops or panels that encourage active participation from attendees. These sessions can involve group activities, problem-solving exercises, or case studies that prompt participants to collaborate and engage with each other. By working together, attendees can establish connections and build relationships throughout the event.

3. Social Events and Receptions: Organizing social events and receptions, such as cocktail parties or dinners, provides a more relaxed and informal setting for networking. These events offer opportunities for attendees to engage in casual conversations, get to know each other on a personal level, and discuss potential collaborations in a more relaxed atmosphere.

4. Online Networking Platforms: The IFKT Congress create an online networking platform or mobile application that allows attendees to connect with each other before, during, and after the event. This platform can include features like attendee profiles, messaging systems, and discussion forums, facilitating networking and collaboration beyond the physical event.

5. Networking Lounges or Areas: Designated networking lounges or areas within the congress venue can serve as meeting points for attendees interested in networking and collaboration. These spaces can be equipped with seating arrangements, charging stations, and refreshments, fostering informal interactions and encouraging attendees to connect with each other.

6. Facilitated Introductions: The congress organizers will introduce attendees to each other based on their shared interests, expertise, or goals. By making strategic introductions, the organizers can help attendees find relevant connections and initiate conversations that may lead to meaningful collaborations.

previous IFKT Congress

As the use of 3D knitting technology becomes increasingly pervasive, what are some of the emerging trends and innovations in the knitting industry that delegates can expect to explore during the IFKT Congress? Are there specific sessions or presentations focusing on advancements in this area?

3D knitting technology was indeed an emerging trend in the textile and knitting. Presentations, and advancements in the knitting industry that will be covered during the event.

specific details would be available upon submission of abstract papers in this area.

Could you provide insights into the range of participants expected at the IFKT Congress, including researchers, practitioners, knitwear producers, and machine manufacturers? How does the diversity of attendees contribute to the richness of discussions and exchange of ideas?

The IFKT Congress, also known as the International Federation of Knitting Technologists Congress, is a significant event in the field of knitting technology.

The IFKT Congress typically attracts a diverse range of participants, including researchers, practitioners, knitwear producers, machine manufacturers, and other professionals involved in the knitting industry. Here’s a breakdown of the potential attendees:

1. Researchers: Researchers from academic institutions such as HOCHSCHULE NIEDERRHEIN University of Applied Sciences-Germany and other global research organizations participate in the IFKT Congress to present their latest findings and advancements in knitting technology. They contribute to the event by sharing their knowledge, discussing research methods, and exploring emerging trends in the field.

2. Practitioners: Practitioners, including engineers, designers, and technicians, attend the congress to gain insights into the latest developments in knitting technology. They share their practical experiences, discuss challenges they face in their work, and learn about innovative techniques and approaches.

3. Knitwear Producers: Representatives from knitwear production companies, including manufacturers, suppliers, and industry professionals, participate in the congress. They attend to stay updated on the latest trends, explore new machinery and materials, and network with researchers and practitioners. Knitwear producers contribute by providing practical insights into the challenges faced during production, discussing market demands, and exploring collaborations.

4. Machine Manufacturers: Companies specializing in knitting machinery and equipment showcase their latest products, technologies, and solutions at the congress. Machine manufacturers participate to demonstrate their innovations, receive feedback from attendees, understand the needs of the industry, and establish partnerships with other stakeholders. Their presence adds a practical dimension to discussions and provides insights into the capabilities and limitations of knitting machines.

The diversity of attendees at the IFKT Congress contributes significantly to the richness of discussions and the exchange of ideas in several ways:

1. Cross-pollination of Knowledge: The presence of researchers, practitioners, knitwear producers, and machine manufacturers ensures a multidisciplinary exchange of knowledge. Researchers can learn about real-world challenges faced by practitioners and manufacturers, and practitioners can gain insights into the latest research findings. This cross-pollination helps bridge the gap between theory and practice, leading to innovative solutions and advancements in the field.

2. Networking and Collaboration: The congress provides a platform for professionals from different sectors of the knitting industry to connect and collaborate. Networking opportunities allow participants to establish relationships, share expertise, and explore potential partnerships. Collaborations between researchers, practitioners, and manufacturers can lead to the development of new technologies, improved processes, and enhanced products.

3. Holistic Understanding of the Industry: The diversity of attendees ensures that discussions and presentations cover a wide range of topics, including technical advancements, design trends, market demands, and production challenges. This comprehensive approach helps participants gain a holistic understanding of the knitting industry, its current state, and future directions.

4. Problem-solving and Innovation: The IFKT Congress serves as a platform for problem-solving and innovation. By bringing together professionals with diverse perspectives, it encourages discussions on critical issues and challenges faced by the industry. Through collaborative brainstorming and idea-sharing, participants can identify innovative solutions, propose new research directions, and address industry-wide problems.

Overall, the diverse range of participants at the IFKT Congress promotes a dynamic and inclusive environment for knowledge sharing, collaboration, and innovation in the field of knitting technology.

Can you elaborate on the significance of the theme “Future of Knitting” for the upcoming 51st IFKT Congress? How do you envision this theme shaping the discussions and presentations at the event?

The theme “Future of Knitting” for the 51st IFKT (International Federation of Knitting Technologists) Congress suggests a focus on exploring the advancements, innovations, and potential directions in the field of knitting. By centering discussions and presentations around this theme, the congress aims to provide a platform for exchange and collaboration among professionals, researchers, and industry experts.

1. Technological Innovations: The theme “Future of Knitting” implies a spotlight on emerging technologies and their impact on the knitting industry. This could include discussions on topics such as 3D knitting, computer-aided design (CAD) for knitting, advanced machinery, automation, and digitalization in knitting processes. Presentations may showcase cutting-edge technologies and their applications, while experts can discuss the advantages, challenges, and future prospects of these innovations.

2. Sustainable Practices: With an increasing focus on sustainability across industries, the future of knitting entails exploring environmentally friendly practices. The congress may delve into topics such as sustainable yarns and fibers, circular knitting techniques, waste reduction strategies, and eco-friendly dyeing processes. Discussions could revolve around how the knitting industry can contribute to a more sustainable future by adopting responsible practices.

3. Smart and Functional Textiles: The theme also opens up discussions on the integration of smart textiles and functional properties into knitted fabrics. This could involve exploring advancements in wearable technology, conductive yarns, sensor integration, and intelligent textiles. Presentations might showcase prototypes or examples of knitted fabrics with embedded electronics, responsive properties, or enhanced functionality for various applications such as healthcare, sports, or fashion.

4. Design and Fashion Trends: Knitting is not only a technical process but also an art form and a medium for creative expression. The “Future of Knitting” theme can incorporate discussions on design trends, fashion forecasting, and the fusion of traditional and contemporary knitting techniques. Presentations might explore how technology and innovation intersect with design aesthetics, enabling new possibilities for knitted garments, accessories, and textile structures.

5. Global Industry Outlook: The theme provides an opportunity to discuss the future outlook and challenges faced by the knitting industry on a global scale. This could involve examining market trends, exploring new business models, discussing supply chain optimization, and addressing issues related to trade, sustainability, and labor. The congress can serve as a platform for networking and knowledge-sharing, fostering collaborations and partnerships that can shape the future of the knitting industry.

Overall, the theme “Future of Knitting” sets the stage for a comprehensive exploration of the evolving landscape of knitting, encompassing technology, sustainability, design, and industry trends. It encourages participants to envision and contribute to the future of this dynamic field, fostering innovation and collaboration among professionals in the knitting community.

About Mr. Hitesh Sharma:

Born and raised in Ludhiana, a city in North India renowned as the “Manchester of India” for its thriving hosiery, apparel, and knitwear industry, Mr. Hitesh Sharma’s journey into the world of knitting began at a young age.

Graduating with top honors from Punjab Technical University’s Knitting Technology College in 1992, he embarked on a career that saw him mastering various circular and flat knitting machines. In 1999, Mr. Sharma joined the International Knitting Technologists Association (IFKT) in Germany, eventually rising to become the President of the North American Continent.

With a penchant for innovation and a commitment to advancing textile knitting technologies, he continues to make significant strides, including spearheading projects like the H97 Loop Cluster knitted fabric innovation for Covid-19. Currently serving as the Chief Operating Officer at The Great Canadian Sox Knitting Co. Inc. in Toronto, Canada, Mr. Sharma remains at the forefront of the industry, driving progress and innovation in knitwear production.

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