Interview with Nick Hahn

Face2Face
Nick Hahn
Nick Hahn
Founder
Hahn International Ltd
Hahn International Ltd

“Textile industry is driven by consumer demand at retail which in turn is dependent upon a viable supply chain from fiber producers…”
Established in 1997, Hahn International Ltd. is a global consulting and advisory firm, concentrating on cotton supply chain management and competitive solutions through cluster creation and association building in developing and emerging economies. Mr. Hahn, Founder - Hahn International Ltd., is a strategist, facilitator and association development specialist. He co-founded Cotton Incorporated, a leading non-profit trade association created to enhance the competitiveness of the US cotton farmers and the upstream segments of the textile sector's value chain. After 30 years of success record in SME trade groups, and holding senior positions such as; Sr. Vice President Marketing, Executive Vice President & COO and President & CEO, Hahn stepped down to find Hahn International Ltd. Hahn has been honored by Textile World Magazine as one of the 25 most influential leaders in American Textiles in the latter half of 20th Century. He has been an active member of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. In an interaction with Face2Face Team, Mr. Hahn shares his professional experiences and views about the global textile industry.

Mr. Nick Hahn, it is a pleasure having you on Face2Face. For the benefit of our readers, can you give us a brief outline about the inception of Hahn International Ltd.?

After 25 years career at NYC based Cotton Incorporated (www.cottoninc.com), the last 20 years as President & CEO, HIL was founded in 1997. Cotton Inc. is a research and market promotion company owned and directed by US Cotton farmers, textile companies and soft goods retailers. I was on the team that founded CI (“Cotton-The Fabric of Our Lives”). I managed a talented group of research, product development, and marketing professionals who brought you new cotton products that don't wrinkle, fade or shrink. These were promoted under the “Seal of Cotton” logo. Hahn International Ltd. advises third-world farmers on supply-chain competitiveness from farm to retail, including commodity branding and ingredient product marketing. Hahn International Ltd. has managed textile fiber projects under USAID, US Millennium Challenge, World Bank, and numerous Private Sector grants.

What is your outlook for textile industry, globally, in the coming years? What challenges do you foresee?

The industry is driven by consumer demand at retail which in turn is dependent upon a viable supply chain from fiber producers (both natural and man-made) combined with modern production technologies as presented at the recent ITMA show in Barcelona and transportation logistics.

What innovations or products do you expect to influence the global textiles and apparel arena in the near future?

I predict that technical textiles - where function supersedes form, will dominate the market with characteristics like heat sensing, sun-ray resistance, temperature adjusting and other consumer performance.

You are a global consultant covering numerous countries such as North & South America, Eastern Europe, Asia, Middle East, etc. Where do you see market potential for textile sector in the years to come?

You can summarize this in one word: AFRICA! The African continent is the last frontier for labor intensive garment production and textiles will “follow the needle”. I lived and worked in Uganda doing a supply chain coordination project from organic cotton in the North to yarn and fabric production in the South and found the people to be industrious and willing to learn. With some help and guidance from developed industries in Asia and the West we will see Africa and India dominating the global textile landscape.

Where is the demand for new technologies in the textile sector coming from? Are clients the driving force behind it?

It starts with the ultimate consumer and in the case of new technology, trend setting consumers from the developed countries of the West (US, UK, EU, Japan, etc) are driving developments. We are in the middle of Fashion Week in NY right now and are seeing a return to practicality in form and fashion.

Related to textile industries, how would you address the task of going up the value chain, and increase productivity?

In the US and Italy we have a number of vertically integrated companies producing products from fiber to retail. As an example, Pendleton Woolen Mills in the US State of Oregon purchases raw grease wool, spins yarn, weaves and knits cloth, dyes and finishes, cuts and sews products, labels, packages and ships to their own retail outlets. By capturing the value addition in each link of the supply chain they are able to adjust costs and maximize return on investment.

How has the aspect of sustainability affected textile and apparel supply chains?

Sustainability is more than a “buzz word”; it is the driving force behind much of the manufacturing base supporting the industry worldwide. This along with improving labor conditions in the third world, are the two legs, along with pricing, that underpin our industry.

Thanks for your time Mr. Hahn, and hope we have long term association.

Welcome !

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Published on: 20/02/2012

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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