Interview with David Trerotola

David Trerotola
David Trerotola
Invista Apparel
Invista Apparel

A higher fabric modulus, improves the recovery power and efficiency of fabrics...
David Trerotola, President of Invista Apparel speaks about the importance of comfort factor in fabrics and apparels as he converses with Fibre2Fashion Correspondent Manushi Gandhi. Synopsis: Invista's Apparel business produces a wide range like swimwear, intimate apparel, legwear, outdoor wear, workwear etc. This business of Invista comprises of powerful global brands like Lycra fibre, Coolmax fabric and Cordura Fabric. Each of these fabrics are a result of endless research and development initiatives by the company. David Trerotola is the President of Invista Apparel. He had previously served as global president of Invista's Performance Materials business. In addition to his experience at Invista, he has 20 years of management experience with DuPont, General Electric and Diamond Shamrock Chemical / Oxychem, including leading several consumer brand businesses for growth and expansion. Excerpts:

What factors have helped Lycra fibre to achieve a high position in the market that it has at present?

The evolution of technology as well as fashion and the drive for comfort from a consumer perspective has seen the Lycra fibre achieve a high market position. A constant stream of innovative Lycra fibres, over the last 50+ years, has driven the growth of this fibre into all type of garments from hosiery and lingerie in the 60’s to swimwear in the 70’s to active sportswear in the 80’s and ready-to-wear and tailored clothing in the 90’s. Since the turn of the century, it’s been a combination of integrating new fibre innovations with textile innovations to bring a whole new degree of comfort, fit, freedom of movement and performance to a wide range of clothing that has continued the growth of this fibre.

Why a manufacturer should prefer the Lycra brand fibre when compared to the similar kind of fabric by other brand?

It is the world’s leading brand of elastane fibre and other premium stretch fibres and fabrics that can be combined with many other fabrics such as cotton, wool, leather or even cashmere. It is a brand that delivers the consumer promise of comfort, fit and freedom of movement. Both the Lycra fibre and Lycra brand adds value to manufacturers and consumers. For example: With Lycra fibre, we deliver quality and consistency globally – our sites follow the same manufacturing standards globally which means quality and consistency for their products too; from a Lycra brand perspective Invista also innovates through world-class service, introduction of innovations and consumer recognition all along the value chain, from fabric mills to garment producers to brands & retailers. Since it was introduced, this fibre has been available in a wide range of solutions, offering different benefits targeting the specific needs of each clothing category. In the world of lingerie, the new fabric technology Lycra Beauty makes underwear and swimwear gently shape your figure. At the cutting edge of fashion and movement for over 50 years, Lycra fibre regularly talks to fabric developers, garment designers and consumers to continue to respond to the demands of users in every area of textiles and clothing. Engineers continue with their research to offer new functions and help make sure that Lycra fibre continues to make clothes even more comfortable and practical, for young and old alike, from head to toe. Throughout its history, it has shown that it is more than capable of taking up the challenges of today, and tomorrow.

What types of information technology developments have helped you to improve your business and achieve better client satisfaction?

In the manufacturing of our fibre, we take advantage of advanced computer and control technology to monitor over 100 parameters to release each tube of yarn. This insures we produce in right the first time and our product conforms to the highest standards of quality, expected by our customers. Invista has a business intelligence unit from which we manage our operations, services, market and consumer insights. In the marketing arena, we are starting to experiment with new web-based, digital and social media platforms to be more effective in how we conduct consumer research/insights as well as communicate the benefits of our products to our customers, from mills to brands/retailers to consumers.

What is that advancement which has completely changed your business?

The integration of fibre innovations, textile innovations and consumer marketing/branding has allowed us to create new offerings that respond to the needs and desires of consumers around the world, we call this market-back innovation. Historically, our business was technology forward, in which we develop new fibres and worked with our customers introduce those fibres into fabrics and garments. About 15 years ago, we made a conscious effort to focus more of our innovation process on the consumer and work “market-back” to identify the consumer’s needs, desires and wants from their clothing. This starts at a very high level, with an understanding of macro-trends, that impact all our lives, not just the apparel we wear. We then segment those macro-trends and look for opportunities in apparel, across all segments and garment categories where the consumer is dissatisfied with their clothing and/or looking for new features and benefits. All this time, continuing to test ideas with consumers with the real trick to find solutions to opportunities, before the consumer even knows they need/want them.

Spandex fibres are used less in men’s clothing. How can its usage be increased in this segment? Is there any scope?

We have just launched a new segment within our company for underwear thanks to consumer research undertaken with both men and women. We found that when looking for underwear 26 per cent of men look for comfort, 57 per cent want their underwear to fit well and 49 per cent are looking for quality. Here it is clear that Spandex fibres have a strong case to live within underwear and can help match the attributes men are looking for. As a result we have teamed-up with leading French underwear company Pull-in in designing a promotional fabric men underwear (90% cotton/10% Lycra fibre1), to highlight the value-add of underwear garments providing a comfortable, long lasting fit. We are also seeing growing interest in stretch for men’s denim/jeans and last year introduced Toughmax Lycra Fabric, which delivers twice the strength of 100% cotton denim, but still all the comfort and fit you’d expect from a fabric with Lycra fibre. On the more fashion oriented styles, Lycra fibre in both denim and trousers bring the contemporary that the new generation is looking for. From a sportswear perspective there is no doubt that the Lycra brand is one of the main criteria sports oriented men look after in their performing clothes. In summary likewise it happened with women, male adoption will happen through fashion styles, technology and the drive for comfortable clothes.
Published on: 05/07/2013

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

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