LIVA: REV­O­LU­TION­IS­ING CON­VEN­TIONAL FAB­RIC IN FASH­ION RE­TAIL

Com­fort­able, soft, cent per­cent nat­u­ral and ecofriendly, this ul­tra-modern fab­ric is chart­ing a new course in fash­ion by em­boss­ing a strong pres­ence in the fash­ion re­tail seg­ment…

Business of Fashion - - Fashion Creation - Gur­bir Singh Gu­lati

Since its launch in 2015, Liva has de­fied all norms of con­ven­tional fab­ric. Com­fort­able, soft, cent per­cent nat­u­ral and eco-friendly, this ul­tra-modern fab­ric is chart­ing a new course in fash­ion by em­boss­ing a strong pres­ence in the fash­ion re­tail seg­ment. IM­AGES Busi­ness of Fash­ion talks to Manohar Sa­muel, Pres­i­dent – Mar­ket­ing & Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment, Birla Cel­lu­lose, Grasim In­dus­tries Lim­ited about the in­no­va­tion that the brand has brought to the In­dian fash­ion in­dus­try. Ex­cerpts from the ex­clu­sive chat…

Tell us about the dif­fer­ent seg­ments of fash­ion that

Liva cov­ers. Also tell us about any spe­cific prod­uct cat­e­gories that Liva has helped to rev­o­lu­tionise in terms of in­no­va­tion.

Liva is present in all the seg­ments of women’s wear. We es­pe­cially see that Liva has made a good in­gre­di­ent with the kurti seg­ment which is the largest prod­uct pro­file as on date in the women’s wear cat­e­gory. In this seg­ment, the ear­lier fo­cus was nat­u­ral fluid fash­ion, com­ing out with reg­u­lar fibers like vis­cose, modal, etc. But now things have dras­ti­cally changed, and we have gone into blends and lot of struc­tured fab­rics have come into play.

When I talk about blends it’s the vis­cose rich polyester blend, which is re­ally into higher tech­no­log­i­cally driven fin­ish­ing that we have launched this sea­son. It has bet­ter

mois­ture man­age­ment and gives great fin­ishes with per­for­mances that are unique.

Sa­ree is an­other cat­e­gory where the po­ten­tial is very high, and the In­dian con­sumer is get­ting to know more about in­no­va­tion. We have a ny­lon fil­a­ment yarn blend which is uniquely twisted to give a han­dle which is very dif­fer­ent with its drape and flu­id­ity. We also blend this with other fab­rics like modal which give it a lus­trous look pre­ferred by the high-end mar­ket. Also our re­search and de­vel­op­ment has been suc­cess­ful in yield­ing dif­fer­ent fin­ishes which gives com­fort lev­els and man­age­abil­ity with a slew of ad­di­tional fea­tures.

We have also de­vel­oped a two way fab­ric where one can see the process of dif­fer­ent dy­ing prop­er­ties with dif­fer­ent fibers. Then there is ponte, which is a poly-fil­a­ment yarn and has re­ally picked up in the jeg­gings cat­e­gories. If you look at stoles as a cat­e­gory, there are va­ri­ety of sizes and styles in which it is worn. Stolls was pro­duced in 2/40/20s now it has gone by 60/60 counts printed stoles. Nev­er­the­less the pair­ing of stoles with dif­fer­ent types of women’s dress­ing has given the abil­ity to man­u­fac­tur­ers to keep in­no­vat­ing.

We also are launch­ing in the men’s wear cat­e­gory. Poly-vis­cose is al­ready there as a long stand­ing prod­uct. How­ever, our in­no­va­tion is to play more with colours. We also have given a cer­e­mo­nial wear tilt which is fast grow­ing and catch­ing up in In­dia. So jacquards and the play of these colours have been good and fab­rics have been de­vel­oped along the need of the in­dus­try.

Throw some light on your de­sign and prod­uct de­vel­op­ment ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

In­sights from the mar­ket that come from re­tail stores is our pri­or­ity, fol­lowed by in­sights from the de­sign cen­ters that our de­sign­ers visit rou­tinely.

As a pro­gres­sive com­pany, our ca­pa­bil­ity is or­gan­i­cally built in our sys­tem. The first one is

Tex­tile Re­search and Ap­pli­ca­tion De­vel­op­ment Cen­ter (TRADC) – this is where we have the prod­uct ca­pa­bil­i­ties worked out on. We put para­mount em­pha­sis on con­sumer in­sights be­cause Liva is a con­sumer brand. Our in­ter­nal de­sign team is in­stru­men­tal in work­ing very closely at the ground level to get the de­sign right as per the ex­act needs of the in­dus­try. Our de­sign­ers work with de­sign in­sti­tu­tions and de­sign­ers of lead­ing brands across the in­dus­try which has re­sulted in much larger co-cre­ated de­signs.

We work closely with trend fore­cast­ing agen­cies like WGSN to en­sure that our prod­ucts align as per the lat­est trends and in­dus­try stan­dards. Apart from all these, we also have our Liva Ac­cred­ited Part­ner Fo­rum (LAPF) which en­sures our as­so­ci­a­tion which some of the most in­no­va­tive fab­ri­ca­tors of the in­dus­try.

LIVA’S RE­SEARCH AND DE­VEL­OP­MENT HAS BEEN SUC­CESS­FUL IN YIELD­ING DIF­FER­ENT FIN­ISHES WHICH GIVES COM­FORT LEV­ELS AND MAN­AGE­ABIL­ITY WITH A SLEW OF AD­DI­TIONAL FEA­TURES.

Tech­nol­ogy is be­com­ing the big­gest en­forcer to­day, how well do you use this at your pro­duc­tion stage?

Let me split this an­swer into two parts—tech­nol­ogy at the fiber stage and tech­nol­ogy at the value chain.

We, as a fiber com­pany would def­i­nitely play a role in bring­ing out newer fiber, but at the same time the part­ner­ship across spin­ning, fab­ri­cat­ing and pro­cess­ing chain it­self will en­hance what the con­sumer wants. From the fiber stage, wet spin­ning tech­nol­ogy will re­main the key fo­cus and we will keep ad­ding ad­di­tives to it so that it ben­e­fits the en­tire value chain and most im­por­tantly the con­sumer. An ex­am­ple of this is the dyed fiber which has an anti-bac­te­rial fin­ish, mak­ing it stay fresh for­ever.

We have also built tech­nolo­gies at the sus­tain­abil­ity stage which would put us in a higher pedestal. The com­pany has made huge in­vest­ments to­wards a sus­tain­able modus operandi along with work­ing with global brands and NGOs.

Some of the big­gest part­ner­ships are with our spin­ning cen­ter Aditya Birla Yarn (ABY). They have a de­vel­op­ment cen­ter that can give a dif­fer­en­ti­ated com­par­i­son of these yarns with the same sort of fab­rics—which gives us an edge to un­der­stand and put forth a con­sumer re­search on the said prod­uct. We have started warp knit­ting with our Modal yarn with a polyester fil­a­ment yarn blend and it has given a fab­ric sim­i­lar to scuba which is knit­ted fab­ric but comes out like a woven role.

Tell us about some of your clients in the do­mes­tic mar­ket.

We al­ready are work­ing with big lifestyle brands like Biba, W, Aure­lia and big for­mat brands like Fbb, Re­liance Re­tail, Pan­taloon, Lifestyle, Max, etc., which are al­ways there with us. But I am par­tic­u­larly happy to let you know that from the last two years, we have been able to get some re­ally young brands on board. Let me give you a good ex­am­ple – a young leg­ging’s brand called Prisma from Tirupur is only do­ing Liva leg­gings and it shells out close to 2.5 lakh pieces a month. These are the brands which have caught on the con­sumer’s at­ten­tion and have worked dex­ter­ously on all the as­pects of the Liva eco-sys­tem.

Do you also have in­ter­na­tional brands that use your prod­ucts?

Ab­so­lutely! We have some of the best brands of the globe on our ros­ter in­clud­ing, H&M, M&S, Next, Gap, and a lot of other in­ter­na­tional brands that we work with from In­dia, Bangladesh, In­done­sia and China. In­dia how­ever re­mains the big­gest work­ing ar­range­ment for us but some of these brands have their buy­ing of­fices lo­cated in Hong Kong, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

In this age of fast fash­ion, how well are your prod­uct ideas linked to sus­tain­abil­ity?

Pri­mar­ily, sus­tain­abil­ity is car­ing for the earth and its re­sources—which is some­thing that we value at Liva. And let me tell you some­thing; we work with a nu­mer­ous fast fash­ion brands and they are very con­scious on the lines of sus­tain­abil­ity as well. How­ever, to­day the part which is be­ing of ma­jor con­cern and talk is the ex­ces­sive usage of fast fash­ion which re­ally does not take care of the re­duce, re­cy­cle or re­use phi­los­o­phy. Per­son­ally, I have a slightly bal­anced view here as it is, ul­ti­mately, driven by the con­sumer. So if the con­sumer wants more I don’t think any­body would be stop­ping, shar­ing and pro­vid­ing so­lu­tions to the con­sumer needs. But on the other hand, we need to have a bal­ance as to what we of­fer as fast fash­ion, which clearly means that we need to be en­vi­ron­men­tally right­eous.

De­code your fu­ture of work­ing on prod­uct de­vel­op­ment and the new ini­tia­tives be­ing taken by your brand for us.

We have two ar­eas of work­ing on the prod­uct end. One is the con­sumer in­sights, which leads us to a prod­uct. Next is that we are lev­er­ag­ing some of the best tech­nolo­gies avail­able so as to add value to our cus­tomers’ pur­chases. We have strength­ened our re­la­tions with the de­sign com­mu­nity and the in­sights that come to us from them are be­ing screened with a sus­tain­abil­ity out­look.

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