Apparel Commercial Director, South Asia and EMEA Distribution The LYCRA Company
LYCRA® fiber is not just a fiber but a highly recognized consumer brand
After 30 years of experience in the textile business Fabrizio Maggi, is ready for a new challenge. Fabrizio joined the Apparel business in 2005 when it was INVISTA. During the last 15 years, he moved up the corporate ladder, holding several key positions and is now appointed as Apparel Commercial Director, South Asia and EMEA Distribution. His present assignment is an interesting and challenging one, which Fabrizio will surely make a success. He shares his thoughts on The LYCRA Company and Indian operations with Fibre2Fashion in an exclusive interview.
What brings you to India and please talk about this recent change where in you will take over the responsibility as Apparel Commercial Director, South Asia?
India is one of the growing economies and is a very important market for us from both exports and domestic prospective. I am here to meet some key partners, as well be part of the joint event we are having with Arvind denim mill highlighting the latest collection made with The LYCRACompany innovations.
We recently made a strategic change where we moved South Asia under EMEA, as a lot of our customers buy from mills located in South Asia as well as there are lot brands / retailers with whom we work in India and are globally present in Europe. I believe we can leverage more from this new setup both on strengthening downstream and upstream business in India.
It’s been one year that ‘The LYCRA Company’ came into being, how has been the journey so far?
Yes, while headquarter remains in Delaware, The LYCRA Company is marking its first Anniversary as a standalone international company. In the last one year, we have sharpened focus in all domains including R&D, new fibers, sustainability initiatives and strategic collaborations with our downstream & upstream customers. Further, we have a pipeline of some exciting products and upgrades to be launched soon which will reinforce our edge in the marketplace.
You have this partnership with Arvind denim for a long time. How has this association helped both the stakeholders?
Arvind is one of the leading mills in the denim industry and we are strategic partners for a long time leveraging each other’s strengths. We have our range of innovative fibers which eventually becomes a value-added ingredient of their fabrics & garments. This partnership is going on for the last several years and jointly we have made various prototype collections which ultimately become part of the brands and retailer’s commercial collection as well. In the past concepts like LYCRA® dualFX® technology, COOLMAX® fiber, LYCRA® BEAUTY fiber, LYCRA® TOUGH MAX™ technology, our sustainable products of EcoMade technology and a few more fiber and fabric concepts have been adopted by various brands and retailers in India as well as overseas.
What are your future plans for the Indian region, as India is a big spandex market and hub for both domestic and exports?
Yes, India is hub of both domestic and exports business and both are quite important for us. To have further focus on exports, we have made this organizational change, where India now coming under EMEA, will help Indian mills to connect better with the brands and retailers in Europe and supporting them becomes faster and easier. In domestic, we have had good growth in last few years and brands and retailers have been able to leverage us to create some exciting collections. We see that Indian brands are becoming demanding and wanting to introduce something new every season for their customers which is differentiated from others and functional as well, that’s where we help brands with our portfolio of innovative fibers and fabric concepts. Since India is quite an important market for us, we make sure that innovations we launch from time to time reach our customers in this geography and mills and brands get all the technical know-how to produce this.
Fiber to fiber LYCRA® is quite expensive. What do you think mills leverage when they use LYCRA® fiber?
It is true that LYCRA® fiber which is a branded stretch fiber is comparatively expensive than generic spandex, but this extra spending is more of an investment which gets offset along the value chain. At the garment level it will add a few cents more for a more engineered product. Mills using LYCRA® fiber leverage better production efficiency, innovate offerings, technical and marketing support. All this put together offers an attractive value proposition.
Indian consumers are generally price sensitive; how do you deal with this challenge and convince the brands to specify LYCRA® fiber?
Actually LYCRA® fiber is not just a fiber but a highly recognized consumer brand. Our research shows that 87 per cent of the consumers globally are aware of LYCRA® fiber brand and 66 per cent of the people are willing to pay more for the garments made with LYCRA® fiber, so it helps our downstream customers to sell at a premium and increase sell through as well.
There is a nominal upcharge brands pay for garments made with LYCRA® fiber compared to generic stretch fibers but the value they get in total easily makes up for this upcharge. What brands leverage by specifying LYCRA® fiber is, superior stretch and recovery properties. Their fabric gets tested in our lab for essential parameters, LYCRA® brand hangtags, marketing support in building consumer stories, in addition working with us gives brands access to latest innovations & trends and technical support to develop customized products. All this put together has much more value than the few cents of upcharge for LYCRA® fiber. That’s the reason we don’t just have premium brands but also value retailers as our partners.
How has the business been in Europe and how you think India can leverage that link?
Europe is one of the regions where we have the longest history, as we are present from the beginning. We have celebrated LYCRA® fiber’s 60th anniversary in 2018, that means our relationship with the industry is over 60 years and quite strong upstream and downstream. There are lot of brands and retailers we work with, which we can connect to Indian mills to work on our technologies and all can benefit from our relationship with the industry.
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