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Interview with Sagee Aran

Sagee Aran
Sagee Aran
Head of Global Marketing

Largest manufacturer of premium nylon 6.6 for apparel
With headquarters in Israel, privately owned Nilit is a manufacturer of polyamide (nylon) 6.6 yarns for apparel applications. Sagee Aran, Head of Global Marketing, Nilit, spoke to Paulami Chatterjee about the factors which are contributing to growth of Nilit's nylon yarns, the latest trends in the nylon industry and the sustainability initiatives being promoted by the company.

What are the factors contributing to the growth of your nylon yarns for apparel applications?

Our premium nylon 6.6 yarns create fabrics with incredible softness, outstanding functionality, and significant durability. These factors combine to address the conscious consumer's desire for long lasting, high quality performance apparel that feels good and looks good for years to come. Add to that the growing demand for more conscientious textiles, and our Sensil portfolio offers the largest assortment of responsibly manufactured, sustainably designed performance and fashion nylon 6.6 products on the market today. 

How has COVID-19 impacted the worldwide nylon industry and how did you utilise this time?

The pandemic was difficult for everyone in the apparel industry. COVID-19 disrupted the entire supply chain! We decided to use the downtime to focus on and accelerate our sustainability initiatives. Our engineers looked for new ways to make our processes more efficient, eliminate emissions, and reduce and recycle any waste streams. We structured our Total Product Sustainability or TPS programme and implemented it at our global facilities. Our product developers designed an impressive collection of new products that work to mitigate several serious environmental issues and we have been launching them over the past several months as the market comes back to life.

What are the upcoming trends for the nylon industry?

Sustainability is certainly the most important concern for the industry. Emerging aspects of sustainability will become more and more important to the public and we need to anticipate and address them responsibly. For example, our new Sensil BioCare was developed in direct response to growing concerns about microplastics and oceans. We are currently looking at ways to incorporate more recycled content into our products and processes and we are experimenting with other renewable feedstocks to reduce our consumption of fossil fuel feedstocks. We are also working to engineer our fibres to anticipate end of life issues to assist our customers with circularity efforts.

Where does Nilit rank today in worldwide nylon market? What are your major strengths as a company?

Nilit is the largest manufacturer of premium nylon 6.6 for apparel in the world. We take our market leadership role very seriously. We operate with integrity and honesty, investing in our employees and innovative technologies to produce the highest quality products at our environmentally and socially responsible facilities. Our global manufacturing and distribution locations enable us to provide outstanding customer service to the worldwide apparel market.

Who are the founders of Nilit and when was the company founded? What is your employee strength as on date?

Nilit was founded in 1969 by Ennio Levi to create advanced, customised nylon 6.6 innovations for customers around the world. With expertise in polymerisation, as well as spinning and texturing, Nilit offers a comprehensive range of high quality products and services for apparel applications. Operating in more than 70 countries, Nilit today has around 1,000 employees.

Based on consumer preferences, how has your business altered?

The growing consumer demand for more responsible textiles has certainly shifted our business over the past several years. We have significantly improved our company's environmental footprint and strengthened our product offerings to help our mills, brands, and retailers provide high quality, more sustainable apparel that people want. 

We have also seen certain markets grow during the pandemic. Our products are perfectly suited for yoga, running, and other outdoor apparel. Well-being has become an important part of every day life and our products enhance that as well with incredible smoothness on the skin and features that enhance comfort and confidence.

In response to society's calls for corporate transparency and traceability, we have greatly increased the kind and amount of information we share. This includes consumer communication and education through point of sale collateral, social media, and our websites. We are proud of what we have achieved so far and welcome our customers, brands and retailers, consumers, and other interested parties to partner with us on this sustainability journey.

What new innovations you are likely to come up with to meet the demands of a Covid-hit world?

We believe health and well-being will be even more important to consumers as we emerge from the pandemic. We will continue to develop innovative performance yarns that work for active people. Running, hiking, walking, and cycling have become even more popular during Covid and now that gyms are opening up, workout wear is surging again. We offer premium nylon products that provide valuable attributes that cool, warm, manage moisture, and protect against bacteria and viruses, all benefits valued by athletes at all levels. We expect interest in physical activity to remain strong even after the world returns to normal. As such, we will continue to identify benefits that we can instill into our products to help create versatile, much-loved apparel that consumers wear and enjoy for years.

What are your patent products for the textile industry and what are their applications like?

Our products' intellectual property comes in different forms including patents in various performance attributes such as cooling, thermal regulation, dyeing capabilities, recycling, and others.

How do you differentiate your products against competition?

Nilit's competitive advantages come from investing to understand the needs of the market, which enables us to support brands and retailers with meaningful nylon 6.6 innovations that respond to consumer demands. We develop engaging concepts based on our research and align our products to attitudes, trends, and expectations consumers have for their apparel today. 

Our portfolio offers the broadest range of performance and fashion products, all responsibly manufactured under our Total Product Sustainability programme. The exceptional craftsmanship and functionality of our premium nylon 6.6 yield apparel that is high quality, long lasting, soft, and beautiful, all attributes that provide a sustainable solution that is good for people and planet.

Has Nilit undertaken any Covid-relief activities for its in-house staff?

We engaged our employees around the world to plan, prepare, and emerge from Covid stronger than ever. Communication between all sites was on-going, reassesed each site's employee situation, level of health and how to deal with the situation in general.

Employees "abided by the rules" to the fullest with regards to COVID-19 limitations and recommendations in each country--cooperation was at its peak. Masks were produced for all employees with our anti-bacterial/anti-viral fibre Sensil BodyFresh. Internal promotion of the importance of getting vaccinated was stressed worldwide by professional lecturers that were brought in for this specific purpose.

What are your plans for the future?

At Nilit, we know that sustainability is a never-ending journey of continuous improvement and we are committed to leading the textile and apparel industry to a more environmentally responsible position. Our Planet Promise commitment will guide our actions in our three key cornerstones of Communities, Operations, and Products.

We will support and engage our employees around the world and help them attain their full potential. Our facilities will be operated ethically, transparently, and proactively and our presence will enrich the communities where we operate. Our products are the materialisation of these corporate values and commitments. Therefore, we care deeply about what we design and how we manufacture. We will continue to expand our product portfolio to provide significant added value that enhances sustainability and performance and contributes to the health and well-being of the planet and people. (PC)

Which markets do you operate in? Any new market you would like to tap?

Nilit produces premium nylon 6.6 products for the entire apparel market from lingerie and hosiery to performance apparel, outerwear, ready to wear, and fashion. We also serve the accessories and footwear markets. With our customers, we are expanding applications of our performance products to many new markets. 

Our industrial division engineers polymer products for a multitude of applications in injection moulding, profile extrusion, and film blowing and casting.

What sustainable initiatives is your brand promoting nowadays?

Nilit has significantly increased our investment in sustainability initiatives over the past several years. We first looked internally and made substantial changes to further reduce emissions, water use, and waste. Our new cogeneration plant powers our facility in Israel as well as provides clean energy to the neighbouring community. We undergo third party certifications such as HIGG and GRI to ensure we exceed the highest standands in the industry. Next, we focused on our product portfolio with the intent of designing products that truly advance sustainability. We recently launched several new Sensil products specifically designed to help the apparel industry address its most pressing environmental challenges. Sensil WaterCare eliminates 100 per cent of the water used in the traditional wet dyeing process and Sensil BioCare has a special additive that enables it to degrade substantially more rapidly than other synthetic fibres in oceans and landfills. We are collaborating with like-minded partners to get these sustainable products out to the apparel market in response to rapidly growing consumer demands for more responsible apparel.

What are the environmentally responsible products you are developing under your Sensil brand?

In addition to Sensil WaterCare and Sensil BioCare, we also offer Sensil EcoCare, a premium nylon 6.6 product made with recycled raw materials. Our sustainable product development approach is guided by the environmental challenges that our customers and the apparel industry faces like waste elimination, water use reduction, and incorporation of more recycled content. Also, we make sure that all of our Sensil products are responsibly made according to our Total Product Sustainability standards. We want our Sensil products to form the basis for appealing, responsibly made apparel designs that address consumer demands for performance and quality and become favourites that last for years and years.
Published on: 09/06/2021

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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