Interview with Andrew Olah

Andrew Olah
Andrew Olah
CEO & Partner
Olah Inc.
Olah Inc.

In the USA, I believe 70% of the market for jeans is for women, which means Stretch.
Headquartered in New York- USA, Olah Inc. came to being in 1959 as a textile marketing, development and sales agency. Over the span, the company has grown to offer its expertise in the arena of consultation, trade fair, education, apparel manufacturing, and textile development and marketing allied in particularly to denim. Mr. Andrew Olah is the CEO and majority partner of Olah Inc. He is the second generation at helm of management at Olah Inc. Mr. Olah has worked in textile development and marketing in over 30 countries since 1976. As a dab hand in textiles, marketing, development, sales, consulting and trade show, throughout the course of 30 years, he has given consultations to assorted textile mills and apparel manufacturers, including Bayer Crop Science. Kingpins Show in 2004, which runs biannually in New York, Los Angeles, Shanghai, Hong Kong and India, is the brainchild of Mr. Olah. He has been the Speaker to many events viz SAI (Social Accountability International) "Human Rights at Work, The Next Decade," the World Textile Conference in Mumbai, the Taiwan Textile Federation conference, the WWD Summit and the keynote speaker at the ATTCC conference in 2011. Mr. Andrew also helps teach a class on fabric development and fashion marketing at the Fashion Institute of Technology, where he is also a member of the college’s Textile Advisory Board. In his talk with Ms. Madhu Soni, Sr. Editor & Correspondent-Face2Face, Andrew Olah shares an overview on developments in denims worldwide.

It is a pleasure to host a Face2Face with you Mr. Olah! Olah Inc. began in 1959 as a textile marketing, development and sales agency. Can you share with us, from your accrued experience, what crucial transitions textile and garment industry has been through over this span, and how has Olah group tuned to these changing needs of the industry?

It is a pleasure to meet you as well. Thank you for the contact. There are some simple answers to your questions. When I started in the business in the mid 1970’s there was more demand than supply. Today the opposite is true. This goes for Textiles. As far as apparel, manufacturing the answer is also simple. Production used to be in (for our market) in the USA and Canada. Today it is all overseas. We have not really been forced to adapt. We were always in the business of developing and working with textiles in foreign countries and selling them to American and Canadian brands. The only real difference for us has been that now the merchandise ships to Asia or the Sub Continent region for stitching whereas before the textiles shipped to North America.

So, what is your outlook on global scene in textile and clothing sector today?

We see stagnant markets in the USA, Canada, Europe and Japan and growing markets in India and China. We believe this will be the “new” reality.

Please comment on the future for cotton-mades in the wake of happenings in this raw material market world over.

This year was a terrible year in Texas for cotton due to the drought. Blessedly, global demand has not been terribly aggressive so the shortage in production has not affected cotton prices. However, the rise in cotton prices last year put pressure on companies to integrate polyester into many of their products. Cotton demand is clearly affected.

Speaking specifically on denim, what latest trends and developments govern the sector?

In the USA, I believe 70% of the market for jeans is for women, which means Stretch. Women’s jeans in the USA recently require an incredibly soft touch and this can only be achieved by using long staple cotton or blending cotton with Tencel or Rayons. Due to the sustainable features of Tencel, we find this fiber to be very important in new product development. There is also great demand for stretch products to have better recovery and growth.

As a consultant, on the map for denim makers which regions do you see vital in the years to come, and why?

The major regions of denim fabric manufacturing are China, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Stitching in Bangladesh is growing. I believe this has to do with price, which is why US jeans production and denim mills have ceased to operate in any massive scale…same story in Europe and Japan.

Economists are struggling for Europe’s “firewall” against the debt crisis deepening. How would you comment on the situation affecting markets?

The economic situation in the USA/Europe and Japan has made demand in these markets static. The real issue for any supplier in these markets is not market growth but how can they take orders from their competition?

Your group also organizes events and conferences. Any announcements on the next event-

We recently held the largest Kingpins Shows we have ever held, in New York and Los Angeles. There were no cotton conferences in these shows. Cotton has been stable for six months and we not really probed the subject during these neutral times. We hope in July to talk about sustainability at our Kingpins Show.


Published on: 08/02/2012

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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