Consumers are looking for full garment solution and styled garments: Manohar Samuel

In conversation with Manohar Samuel, Marketing President, Birla Cellulose, who spoke about the fibre industry and their future endeavours.
Manohar Samuel, Marketing President, Birla Cellulose

Aditya Birla Cellulose is a global leader in Viscose Staple Fibre business, Their premium brand Liva, launched in 2015, is all about extending a comfortable clothing experience while being responsible towards environment without compromising on fashion. About two years after LIVA launch, Aditya Birla Group will be announcing a new variant of Liva i.e. LIVA Crème, a premium fabric with the perfect drape, fall and fluidity. Birla Cellulose Marketing President, Manohar Samuel, shared with Indianretailer the insights into the manmade fibre industry while focusing on LIVA and LIVA CRÈME.

Tell us a little about your company.                                                                                
Birla Cellulose represents the Pulp and Fiber business of the Aditya Birla Group, and is India's pioneer in Viscose Staple Fibre (VSF). Birla Cellulose fibers are of 100% natural origin, highly absorbent, having a good feel, and are completely biodegradable. As an extremely versatile and easily bendable fibre, VSF is widely used in apparels, home textiles, dress material, knitted wear and non-woven applications. Birla Cellulose commands a major world market share in the Manmade Cellulose fiber domain.

LIVA stands for the high quality fabric made using natural cellulosic fibres of Aditya Birla Group, delivered through an accredited value chain. Unlike other fabrics which are boxy or synthetic, LIVA is a soft, fluid fabric which falls and drapes well.

What makes Birla Cellulose the largest fabric firm in the world?
MMCF (Man Made Cellulose Fibres) based garment exports from India has grown around 27% on account of our collaboration with brands and the supply chain. Considering that over 50% of our revenue comes from international markets, Birla Cellulose is among the largest in the world for viscose staple fibre. MMCF, which is around 5% to 6% of the fibre basket, has larger market share in double digits with good brands across the world. Our customer spread covers the entire market for MMCF.

Top brands all over the world are very conscious about sustainability, and their expectations have helped us align further to deliver most sustainable fibres. We also work with the supply chain of many countries like Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Thailand and Turkey in addition to India.

What all retail brands does Birla Cellulose cater to?
LIVA, this season has about 34 brands having tied up with it. LIVA Creme is about 14 brands. When we launched LIVA, we were about 18 Lac tags, today we are about 11 milion tags. There is no single brand that can do it, also because it’s growing rapidly thanks to our partnership to these co-branding partners because they made it possible with their designs. Our alignment is critical with them and our consumer links with LIVA contents are critical, but the main brands which are marketed have also taken up very strong innovation, they have designed it uniquely according to their brand business that is something that has helped this. Coming to LIVA Creme , it is more about luxurious softness. The signature collections are designed by fashion designers like Nikhil Thampi(Allen Solly), Shivan-Naresh(Van Heusen) and Ka-sha(Shoppers Stop). These collections were launched on the same day as LIVA Crème and these designers have brought in their own personalities and unique creativity in the collections.

Fbb is the largest selling brand from our stable. Allen Solly, BIBA,  People, Van Heusen, Shoppers Stop, FBB, Lifestyle, Pantaloons, Maxx, Central, Go colours, Cottonworld, abof.com, Imara, CrimsonClub, Fusion Beats, desi belle, Relaince Trends, Aurelia, Madame, Park Avenue, Zivame, 109.F, Soch, Unlimited, Vajor.com, are among others

How has Liva as a brand grown over the years? What are your plans further?
Birla Cellulose of The Aditya Birla Group is a world leader in Manmade Cellulose Fibres and had commenced production of viscose staple fibre (VSF) in 1954 in India.  The business has grown steadily across geographies, with operational excellence, deep integration, product innovation and leadership.  Today we have 7 MMCF plants, 4 in India and one each in Thailand, Indonesia and China. We also have 5 pulp plants, one in India, 3 in Canada and 1 in Sweden.

Please share your expansion plans for this fiscal. Which other categories are you planning to expand in?
We have brought in two new fibres which have unique blends like Liva Modal, Viscose and excel. New innovation technique plays across chain. There is a huge jump in yarn because most of the differentiation in the last one or one and a half year has been due to innovative yarns coming out of the Indian spinning industry. In the fabric stage, processing with our Liva accredited partnered forum. Liva has 170 processors as partners. There’s a cut and jump in the way it looks and feels which is what a consumer looks at. Next is the process of innovation in the way people have marketed their products. The consumer is looking at a full solution and they want to see how a styled garment looks like, that they are entering into something new. So, fabricators of garments will be further inspired to bring in innovations in their marketing strategies and with e commerce coming in, people have styled products which are unique. I see scope of innovation between fusion and western wear. Change is coming up because global brands that are coming to India are willing to collaborate with the H & M’s, Zara and Marks & Spencer. They’ve done quite well on the western sector so there is an element of, you can say, an expectation to match them from the Indian brands to get ahead. A few of them are clearly big, but from what the Indian brands find unique is earlier the fusion between ethic wear and western wear. Now there is something which is coming between fusion and western wear which only the Indian brands can do. He can find a tinge between getting a westernized Indian wear or fusing an Indian wear into western wear to create something new that has started coming in and we see it growing quite heavily. 

Manohar Samuel
 
 
 
 
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