Interview with Thomas Dislich

Thomas Dislich
Thomas Dislich
Managing Director
Vicunha Europe
Vicunha Europe

It is a pity that our powers do not go beyond the factory gates!
Thomas Dislich, the Managing Director of Vicunha shares his concerns about sweatshop conditions and feels pity that his powers are just limited to his factory, with Fibre2Fashion Correspondent Manushi Gandhi. Synopsis: Vicunha is a leading textile manufacturer and is active in the market from last more than 40 years. The company at present produces almost 40 percent of the Brazilian production of Indigo Denim Fabric. It has factories in the states of Ceara, Rio Grande do Norte, Sao Paulo, and Ecuador. Thomas Dislich, aged 52, is associated with the textile industry since 1981. He started his career with a trading company supplying yarns and cloth to Africa, Europe and Eastern Europe. In 1999, Thomas joined Vicunha Textil S.A. He speaks six languages fluently and switches between them without batting an eyelid. Excerpts:

How do you look up to the Textile markets of Pakistan, India, Vietnam, China and Hong Kong? Do you feel that they are very stagnant at present?

Our presence in China as well as in the other mentioned countries does not aim at selling to the respective local markets. Rather, we operate in these countries because they are important production platforms for our European and American clients. In our experience, there are considerable duty and trade barriers that make it difficult to sell fabrics there. I speak of fabrics, it may be something different for branded luxury garments.

Making of attractive denims and its washing process causes a lot of adverse affects on the environment. What can be done to nullify it?

Well, we spend a lot of time and money exactly to prevent this! In our factories 100% of the water we use is treated before we send it to the sewers. And 75% of the water is recycled into our own system. That means that we work with a minimal environmental impact. And we have just launched our new line, which runs on a new dyestuff that saves 80% of the water that we would otherwise have used. This is an authentic, warp-yarn dyed, coloured jeans line with a white weft thread, is really special: the weave is made of 30% polyester gained from recycled plastic bottles. This means for every metre of this line, there are three fewer plastic bottles on this earth! Furthermore, the dye was reduced with degradable glucose using a process developed in-house so as to meet stricter environmental requirements.

Many countries are suffering from the problem of sweatshop conditions. What effective steps should be taken to overcome that?

We make very sure that all our 8’000 employees enjoy humane and dignified working conditions, and that they have full opportunities of advancement. We run a wide-ranging trainee programme and are socially active on many fronts. The average cost of a worker is close to USD 1’000/m, which is very far away from the tough realities in other places. It is a pity that our powers do not go beyond the factory gates!

Colorful denims and jeggings are in fashion. Has this increased or decreased the production costs?

Neither nor. There are different compositions, weights, colors, etc, in each particular group of fabrics. Thus, compensation will occur and the costs are balanced. Our womenswear range is already comprised of 25 percent colored denim. For examples our one successful line of colored denim: outer sides in classic blue or gray denim with different washes, with dyed color reverse sides that create eye-catching hem or pocket details. The specially designed color combinations are geared to the everyday, and lend the selected fabrics up-to-date charm. In addition to our wide product range of colored denim, with this line we demonstrate the diversity of applications and variants. All the articles in this line have a percentage of stretch and are based on different designs. They're perfect for the womenswear range, whether as pants, shorts, dresses, skirts or vests. The various denim outer sides come in a wide variety of washes and effects. The colored reverse sides are perfect for small accent details on pockets, belt loops or collars.
Published on: 30/04/2013

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

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