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Commercial Head-South Asia Lenzing Group
Tencel has tremendous growth potential in South Asia
Lenzing Group is an international company headquartered in Austria that produces high-quality fibres made with wood pulp from sustainable tree farms. Tencel, one of the fibre produced by the group is an eco-friendly, fully biodegradable fabric. The production process used to make Tencel is completely organic, with sustainable technologies and durable farming practices. Avinash Mane, commercial head, South Asia, discusses the growing and potential applications of Tencel and the increasing emphasis of sustainability in South Asia.
What is the global market size for cellulose fibres? At what rate is it growing?
The total global fibre market is close to 105 metric tonnes (MT) while the global market size for cellulosic base fibres is 6.5 MT. It is growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4 per cent. The growth is increasing in recent years. It is expected to grow at this rate or maybe at a higher rate in future.
What is Lenzing Group's market share?
Our global market share is 18-20 per cent. If we only consider the Asia-Pacific region, then it is close to 10 per cent.
What is the percentage usage of Tencel in denim, activewear, intimate wear, home textiles and footwear? Where are the applications growing?
We have four major segments -denim, innerwear, outerwear and home. For denim, it is 25-30 per cent, while for home textiles, it is close to 25 per cent. Rest 40-45 per cent goes into innerwear and outerwear. Innerwear covers all knits applications like underwear, lingerie, sports and activewear, while outerwear covers shirting and casualwear applications. Tencel is at a very nascent stage in footwear.
Have you seen any considerable growth that you want to highlight?
We have denim that is doing quite well. Light-weight denim application is growing at a faster pace in comparison to other applications from product perspective. We are growing strongly with Ecovero, a sustainable viscose offering from the company.
Where is the application of Refibra the most and what are the latest applications?
Refibra is a technology based on circularity (reduce, reuse & recycle). Brands and retailers that are strongly committed to circular economy principles on sustainable grounds are seriously looking at Refibra and adopting it to their product lines. To name a few, Levi's, Zara, Patagonia are amongst the early adopters of Refibra.
Which are the major markets for Tencel in South Asia?
In South Asia, textile is dominated in three countries: India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. All three countries are turning out to be good markets for Tencel. Bangladesh is the key converter market for Europe and the United Kingdom. Over past few years they have raised their technical ability to handle high-end products like Tencel. Pakistan is good for domestic traditional wear applications. In India growth is governed by various applications including light-weight denim, casualwear, shirting, and home textiles. So, all these markets are the main markets for Tencel.
Which regions in South Asia are warming up to sustainable fashion and which ones have picked momentum?
In South Asia, there are two angles. First is sustainability for domestic consumption, in which India is better compared to Pakistan and Bangladesh. The second is sustainability at conversion stage (fibre -yarn-fabric-garment) where Bangladesh is better due to a push by customers and retailers across the globe. In India, sustainability is gaining better ground due to government initiatives like Swachchh Bharat Abhiyaan and the plastic ban in Maharashtra. With easy access to digital platforms, young consumers with high disposable income are willing to spend more for sustainable and better performing products. So ideally in South Asia, it will be India followed by Bangladesh gaining better grounds on sustainable practices.
Which brands and designers are working with Tencel fibres in India?
Brands like Jockey, Spyker, Mufti, Lee Cooper, Zara, H&M and many other fast fashion brands use Tencel fibres. Designers like Rajesh Pratap Singh and Hemang Aggarwal are using Tencel fibre in their ethnicwear and traditional creations. Besides these, across all segments there are various domestic brands who also use Tencel fibre to make their products.
How sustainable is the extraction of Tencel?
Tencel manufacturing process is a closed loop process where the ingredient used for manufacturing is recycled to an extent of 99.99 per cent. We don't damage the environment in any aspect when we are extracting; Tencel has a very good compostability. When the product is disposed off depending on the garment's condition and surrounding conditions, it only takes 10-15 weeks for Tencel to completely decompose.
What are the future plans at Tencel with respect to South Asia?
With Tencel and the entire basket of products under Tencel, we feel there is a tremendous growth potential in South Asia. This region has hot and humid climatic conditions and high temperature, and therefore people tend to sweat a lot. Under such conditions one needs a garment that is breathable, cool and comfortable and a fabric that has high moisture/sweat absorption properties. The comfort by cotton is expected out of new textile solutions and this can be only provided by Tencel, because of its cellulosic nature. (HO)
Published on: 14/11/2018
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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