Apparel and textiles veteran Steve Stewart introduces the industry's oldest newcomer, and outlines its plans to continue delivering value, performance and sustainability.

After 30 years in the apparel and textiles industry, Steve Stewart has seen it all. However, today the former Commercial Director - Greater China, for INVISTA's Apparel and Advanced Textiles business is facing a new challenge with one of the most established, but also one of the newest names in the industry. That's because when the Apparel and Advanced Textiles business recently separated from INVISTA and changed its name to The LYCRA Company, he took over as its Vice-President - Apparel for the entire Asia region.

On one of his first regional trips, Steve visited India to introduce what he calls "the industry's oldest newcomer," and outline its plans to continue delivering value, performance and sustainability.

Q: What brings you to India?

A: India has long been an important market for us, and I needed to get to know the business, meet the team and key accounts. We've traditionally been very export-oriented, focusing on denims and other cotton-rich applications for brands around the world. However, recently we've been working with domestic businesses. Indian consumers are looking for better clothes, fabrics and brands that they recognize - which offers a tremendous opportunity to bring the LYCRA brand and products here to India.

Q: What does the change in name and ownership mean?

A: I think the new name and ownership illustrate what we are all about. Earlier, we were an independent part of a US-based chemical and industrial products company. Now, we are still independent, but our majority shareholder is Shandong Ruyi, which is a very textiles-oriented group. They have wool farms in New Zealand, cotton farms in Australia, European brands and a major presence in China's textiles industry. They are also Asia-based, so they have an intimate understanding of the growth happening in this part of the world, including India, China and the rest of the region.

However, as a business we operate pretty much the same as we did before. Our leadership team is largely unchanged, and the company is still based in the US.