Arvind: Innovating with denim to retain leadership

Tuesday, 18 October 2011
Arvind: Innovating with denim to retain leadershipWith a focused approach, Arvind, the well-known denim maker is looking at fastrack growth. With denim turnover of close to Rs 1,000 crores it now plans to target the high end market. Along with the domestic market, exports have been its core strength. Subir Mukherjee, Head-Marketing, Lifestyle Fabric-Denim explains, “We are large enough not to depend solely on the domestic market. We vary between 40 to 50 per cent domestic and 50 to 60 per cent exports. The US is our biggest market followed by Europe. We are focusing on Japan, Korea and China now. Gap, Levis, H&M are some of our large volume buyers. We also supply to small niche brands like Patagonia, which support 100 per cent organic denim. We also supply to Jack &Jones, G-Star, Miss Sixty. As for the domestic market just about every brand buys from us.”

WithArvind: Innovating with denim to retain leadership denims entering the corporate world and increased demand for branded denims the industry is experiencing fast paced growth. “Indian denim market is growing at a phenomenal rate. Moreover denim is the least affected by the high prices of cotton compared to other apparel segments,” Mukherjee explains highlighting the prospects of denim market in India. In the mid-80s when Arvind started manufacturing, they had only one mill with one line of 10 million meters. Today, India has a capacity of 700 million meters annually and Arvind produces 120 million meters. Mukherjee elaborates, “We are just one-third of China, which has an annual capacity of two billion meters. But we expect denim use in India to grow and the double digit growth to continue,”

Arvind also plans to expand in Bangladesh and have already acquired the land for it. Explaining the reasons behind setting up a unit in Bangladesh, he said, “We export two and a half to three million meters of fabric a month to Bangladesh. And a lot of European brands, who are sourcing from there, are shifting their sourcing base from Europe to Bangladesh. For fashion brands in Europe, speed to market is very important. If we export from India, it takes at least three weeks to reach their factories but if we have a plant in Bangladesh we can save almost three weeks from the production cycle time.”

Though Arvind was the first denim player to become a global leader surely, it was not an easy ride. “Today, we use the name of Kato and his designs to promote Arvind denim. But in future we intend to have our denims designed not by Japanese or a European or but by Arvind. Recently, we launched a premium line in Japan designed by an Indian designer. Eventually we want to have only an Indian design and make it popular in the world,” Mukherjee observes.

Meanwhile Arvind is coming up with khadi denim. It will be hand-spun and hand-dyed and hand-woven on looms and indigo dyed. “We have shown the fabric at the Japan Fashion Week. In three to four months we should be supplying in India. The production has already begun. We may launch with some four color options initially because creating khadi denim is a slow process. This exclusive product will go to a niche audience,” he adds.

To capture the attention of its vast customer base, it recently launched Future Denim, a premium range of design driven denims having narrow width. Then they have Excel denim for women, ADL, an American line, Euro, a European line and some Kato line products under its umbrella of collections. Arvind also launched a line called Magic Denim, which is thermal-sensitive -- at different temperatures, the color of the fabric changes. This collection is still being tested in India and is available only in baby blue color. Company is also planning to try some pure colors of grey and beige without any indigo for their collections.

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