IMPRESSIONS from a Cross-section

Mr. Timothy Speldewinde
Mr. Timothy Speldewinde
Managing Director
Stretchline Group

Company Details

Business Area:
Stretchline is the world's largest elastic manufacturer and is one of six best in class companies that make up MAS Fabrics which is involved in manufacturing of narrow fabrics.
Export Capabilities:
over 23 million meters of narrow fabric / elastic a week
Global intimate wear and active wear brands


What is the current scenario of the global lingerie industry and what are the unique capabilities and offerings of Sri Lanka in the global supply chain for lingerie?

The world of intimate apparel continues to grow at an encouraging pace. While the global industry has experienced modest growth from 2011 to 2012, since the global recession, increases in costs are still a massive consideration. In Sri Lanka, we have experienced a notable growth from last year and we expect that this trend will continue as more and more retailers look for a manufacturing base that can offer high value addition in the form of coordinated supply chain solutions. 

Sri Lanka is a mature supplier to the global lingerie industry and has a track record of providing newness and manufacturing excellence to global brands. The country is home to MAS Fabrics which is the world’s only complete supply chain for lingerie and swimwear. It provides a unique value proposition via a one-stop-shop for fabrics, lace, elastic, moulded cups and accessories for lingerie and swimwear. This has been integral to the development and recognition of Sri Lanka as a global apparel sourcing hub.

The island has evolved from the traditional ‘cut and sew’ operation to offering a vertically integrated solution for apparel and lingerie sourcing as well as manufacturing. With its highly skilled workforce and emphasis on quality, Sri Lanka has a unique ability to offer a one stop shop solution for lingerie brands. The competitive edge the island has stems from the size of the country and the structure of the apparel industry which supports a collaborative approach between manufacturers and suppliers to roll out tailor made supply chain solutions for global brands.

The benefit of a coordinated supply chain is that a global lingerie brand can source its complete raw material requirement from design to delivery from a single source.  The value addition comes from coordinated product development, colour matching, pricing, logistics, etc. For example, collaborative innovation means that an entire garment could be engineered to provide newness and meet price points without sacrificing core features and functionality, all under one umbrella. Further, the benefit of simplified contact cannot be overestimated, especially when the entire supply chain is constantly talking to each other and is physically situated just an hour apart from each other on the Island! 

Today, technology and fashion cycles have become smaller and trends change overnight. More and more, brands are moving towards expectations of quick turnarounds which help them to maintain clever inventory that would give their customers the right product in the right size and colour at the right time. Moreover, the economic backdrop has demanded that retailers operate low inventory, zero mark down models. Therefore, suppliers that meet this required demand with fluid supply chain structures will prosper in this environment. 
Another major consideration is price. Retailers and sourcing offices are constantly reviewing prices and competition is fierce which means sometimes that innovation and newness of product is limited. 

Given this context, a one-stop- shop solution, like the one offered by Sri Lanka, with a focus on innovation but at competitive prices and with speed to market becomes a preferred working model for global retailers and brands.

Published on: 27/07/2013

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