Interview with Aamir Akhtar

Face2Face
Aamir Akhtar
Aamir Akhtar
CEO, Denim Fabrics
Arvind Ltd
Arvind Ltd

Beyond product innovation

Arvind is the pioneer of denims in India with a turnover of around $1.3 billion in FY2015-16. The company's own product brands include Megamart (recently rebranded as Unlimited), Flying Machine, Colt, Ruggers, Excalibur while its licensed product brands have big global names like GAP, Arrow, Gant, Izod, and Cherokee to name a few. Aamir Akhtar, CEO, Denim Fabrics, Arvind Ltd, chats about the launch of the innovative line of denims with Invista and other developments.

How big is the market for denims globally? Where does India stand? At what rate is it progressing?

Globally denim fabric consumption is close to 4.5 billion metres per annum and the Indian domestic market consumes approximately 750-800 million metres. Additionally, India exports close to 200 million metres annually in fabric or garment forms. The Indian domestic market continues to grow at double digit CAGR.

How has demonetisation affected the denim industry and the retail side of it?

Q3 sales and to some extent Q4 sales of FY17 were impacted due to demonetisation. However, we have seen a strong recovery in sales since February 2017.

How is Arvind's Khadi Denim being received in the domestic as well as international markets?

Our objective is to use Khadi Denim to help evolve an Indian signature and promote traditional Indian crafts. We have received great response for the product and are very encouraged by it.

How is the DNA of denim evolving? What are consumers looking for in a denim garment today?

Denim has continued to evolve over the years. In addition to comfort and fit, today consumers also look for functionality and performance. 

Please tell us about the latest collection launched in collaboration with Invista? When will the collection be available in stores?

The festive'17 show Decode highlighted the multifaceted nature of denim fabrics where we launched our latest collection in denims. We launched our latest innovation-Azurite Denims-Arvind's patented technology of premium saturated indigo fabrics. For the first time, we have introduced the concept of Intellectual Property in the Indian fabric market. The event also saw the introduction of an innovative line of flip denims (reversible denims), 360 degree Mutants (multidirectional stretch knit denims) and XL Mutants (wider width knits for better production efficiencies), to name a few. We also launched a new collection of Denim Express, which is a speed-to-market solution of versatile fabrics that is always in vogue-a much needed requirement of the industry. The collection further extended to popular Arvind categories of Blue Natives, Neobubble, Boomerang, along with the bestsellers across the market. 

The latest collection also highlighted the Khadi Denim collection. We have recently received much appreciation globally for this phenomenal sustainable fabric, and also won the prestigious Global Denim Award for the best fabric in October 2016 at Amsterdam. 

What are the latest innovations at Arvind's denim division apart from these?

Besides product innovation, we have focused on service innovation in a big way. We have recently set up Arvind Denim Lab (ADL), a state of art laundry in Ahmedabad, which offers the latest in wash trends to our key customers.

Which are your major markets for denim fabrics? Where do you see the potential growing?

Our major markets are the United States, the European Union and India. We see growth with key customers in all these markets.

Functional clothing is the next big thing, and denims are very versatile. Is Arvind working to develop any new products in this direction?

Arvind's Denim Fabrics is a pioneer in functional clothing. We have moved to the next level by recently collaborating with Google and Levi's to offer 'wearable technology in denims' called Project Jacquard. This product has got a great response and won many global innovation awards. The denim jackets made out of this collaboration are now available in Levi's stores internationally.
Published on: 16/05/2017

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.

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