Interview with Julien Born

Face2Face
Julien Born
Julien Born
Executive Vice-President
Invista Apparel
Invista Apparel

Will Invista be investing in Lycra brand on a B2C level?

We are continuing to invest in B2C, but in a more focused and targeted manner than in the past. We are investing with Arvind in the retail programme, distributing millions of our hangtags to retailers who feature our brands. We are also looking at e-commerce and social media, a very efficient way to reach out to customers in India, especially when there is huge digital penetration.

What steps are being taken on the carbon footprint for Lycra fibre? How environmentally friendly are the manufacturing units?

The environment is one of Invista's top agenda. We have a very strong target on carbon consumption. We also recycle all our waste or try to sell it as a different product. In addition to making sure no waste water goes into the land, we carefully manage consumption, and in China we have won several awards for water management and recycling.

Our plants are state-of-the-art property as far as environmental perspectives are concerned. As well as limiting waste, we try to make them even more environment friendly.

What is the growth story in 2016 compared to 2015?

Our business has been growing roughly in double digits for the last several years, and 2016 was no different. Our Lycra fibre business continues to expand through the underlying demand of the market, and we are increasing penetration in various categories.

More brands today are looking for differentiation, so our products are aligned quite well with the dynamics of markets, that are increasingly looking for ways to stand out through differentiators and more sustainable products. We continue to invest in support of this model and expect a similar growth for 2017 and beyond.

What is the growth story in 2016 compared to 2015?

Our business has been growing roughly in double digits for the last several years, and 2016 was no different. Our Lycra fibre business continues to expand through the underlying demand of the market, and we are increasing penetration in various categories.

More brands today are looking for differentiation, so our products are aligned quite well with the dynamics of markets, that are increasingly looking for ways to stand out through differentiators and more sustainable products. We continue to invest in support of this model and expect a similar growth for 2017 and beyond.

Where do you see Lycra in 2022?

The market trend is in our favour, as we believe there is a continued bipolarisation of the market, with a large commoditised market on one side and a growing higher-end market focused on differentiation, innovation, branding and consumer experiences on the other side. We see more market players throughout the value-chain keen to trade up, as the latter is a more viable way to compete over time. At consumer level, we are seeing a crossover between several categories such as intimate, active or casual wear, with for instance the growth of sport bras, commuter jeans or "all-day wear" yoga pants. Our introduction of Lycra Fusion fibre into the hosiery category is a good example of how we can capitalize on this trend. With this unique technology that brings anti-laddering benefits to hosiery, we are giving hosiery brands the ability to differentiate and tell a new story to consumers, thus trade up and expand part of their range. As we have an exciting product pipeline and continue to invest in differentiation, we are confident that the Lycra brand franchise will have further grown in value by 2022.

Which is the best market in the world for Lycra fibre?

We are truly global and our presence is fairly strong throughout the world, whether in Asia, the US, Europe or South America. Now, if you are talking about fibre sales, Invista's fastest growing market is China. If you consider brands and retail presence, the US is the largest single market. Europe is a very strategic and large market as well, but obviously more fragmented. We continue to be very excited by growth prospects in China and India, so I would highlight both markets as well in terms of domestic consumption and expansion of the retail footprint.

What are the future innovations?

We continue to invest significantly in fibre developments, but our approach to innovation is very broad, including basic chemistry, fabrics, garments and all the way to the consumer experience at retail. We are also looking to open sources of innovation with entrepreneurs and smaller companies keen to benefit from the global presence, technical know-how and market access of Invista.

Will Lycra fibre go into technical textiles?

It's not a tremendous focus. But we do have Lycra T400 fibre in workwear, which has high chemical resistance and fibre strength that makes it interesting for workwear and uniform business.

How are INVISTA brands like Lycra Beauty, Lycra FreeF!T , Lycra dualFX , Tough Max, Coolmax and Thermolite doing?

We don't want to comment specifically on each technology, but all those products and innovations have indeed played a role in the growth of our business over the last several years.
How are INVISTA brands like Lycra Beauty, Lycra FreeF!T , Lycra dualFX , Tough Max, Coolmax and Thermolite doing?

In 2014 Invista showed the latest Lycra T400 polyester based fibre application, which requires no spinning but can be taken straight to the loom to make fabrics, like Lycra Tough Max technology. How is it doing?

Lycra Tough Max technology is doing very well, this is a fabric concept with Lycra T400 fibre, which gives moderate stretch and very good recovery, it is also able to withstand chemical washes and has a good resistance to abrasion.

Denim made with Lycra Tough Max technology is 100 per cent chlorine resistant, comfortable and offers good moisture management. Lycra T400  Black fibre is perfect for dark colours, like indigo black for denim jeans, jackets, separates, trousers, skirts, suiting knit tops.

Published on: 24/05/2017

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.

F2F NewsLetter

Subscribe today and get the latest information on Textiles, Fashion, Apparel.

 Fibre2Fashion Monthly Updates
 Upcoming Trade fairs & Events Monthly
 Daily eNews Insights
 Technical Textiles eNews Weekly
  Please refer our Privacy Policy before submitting your information