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How Raymond UCO Denim is innovating to cater to the new-age consumer

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Raymond UCO Denim Pvt. Ltd, a 50:50 joint venture between Raymond Ltd and UCO NV – Belgium, is a formidable combination of advance manufacturing and global market reach. The company entered the world of Denim in 1996 in collaboration with an Italian firm. The JV with UCO NV of Belgium was formed in 2006.
Largely focused on fancy and multi-count yarn fashion denims, Raymond UCO Denim’s range of garments include sustainable denims with BCI cotton, Fair Trade Cotton, Organic cotton, Recycled Cotton, Recycled Polyester and their blends. The company also produces limited editions of printed, Jacquard and Selvedge denims.
CEO, Raymond UCO Denim Pvt.Ltd, Arvind Mathur explains that the company’s fabric manufacturing facilities are located in Yavatmal in Maharashtra as well as in Romania in Europe.
“Our fabric manufacturing facility is fully integrated, covering manufacturing operations ranging from spinning, yarn dyeing, weaving, finishing and fabric inspection and packing. The annual capacity of all plants taken together is nearly 50 million meters. Garment manufacturing is taken on lease from a 100 per cent subsidiary of Raymond Ltd. in Bengaluru. Our garmenting business is engaged in designing and production of premium jeans for top fashion brands,” Mathur says.
He adds that the company is fully utilising its current capacity and the three-year ‘2020’ strategy is to achieve a realistic double digit CAGR in its topline. He also says that the expansion of these facilities will be done in line with customer requirements and growing demands.
“Fabric capacity expansion project undertaken in FY 16 has now stabilised. Over the next 3 years, turnover of Indian operations is expected to grow at a healthy CAGR,” says Mathur.
Sustainability & Retail Reach
“Our products are conceptualised and executed to meet customer requirements keeping in mind fashion, performance and commercial aspects. Sustainability is in focus for most of the brands. The use of post-consumer waste cotton and polyester, along with a clean Indigo dyeing process is something that we religiously follow so we can do our bit for the environment,” says Mathur.
Currently, the company is supplying fabric to Levis, Wrangler, Lee, Pepe, Jack & Jones, Killer, H&M, Spykar, Parx, Mayoral, Scotch & Soda, Benetton, and Tommy Hilfiger in the Indian market. In the international markets, their key customers are Levis, GAP, Zara, Wrangler, Lee, Marks & Spencer, Ann Taylor, Pull & Bear, Jack & Jones, C&A as well as H&M.
Mathur says that the retail reach of his company goes from Americas to Europe to Asia including a strong presence in the domestic Indian market.
However, he says that the demand varies from region to region. “The trend has been moving towards super stretch and soft touch in International markets, whereas in India, the knit look is the dominating force. We will continue to surprise our customers with our super stretch and hyper flex products with excellent recovery properties.”
Catering to the New-Age Consumer
Mathur says the brand is on a quest to provide consumers with new and innovative products regularly to counter the constant rising prices due to rising raw material costs and strengthening of domestic currency.
“The top five predictions on denim fabric preference trends for the coming seasons will be primarily driven by comfort and performance. Stretch as a product category will grow. Bi-stretch, Soft Super Stretch, Sustainable and Performance denims will be in the limelight. The knit look will continue to dominate the domestic market,” Mathur says.
Raymond UCO Denim surveys the changing market and consumer needs and demands and in conjunction to that, plans its product / category expansion. Currently, the brand is concentrating on going deeper into the markets it has already tapped and seen potential in.
Future Plans
Accelerated product development and innovation, growth using asset light model, strengthening full package and continuing collaboration with top denim brands are some of the things on Raymond UCO Denim’s to-do list for the near future.
Mathur says that some of the top challenges the denim fabric industry is facing today are over capacity, intense price competition and – more specific to India – high raw material costs and a strong exchange rate (for exporters).
“The best way to overcome these challenges is to be different and innovate. Globally, the denim fabric industry is growing slowly, in low single digit, and in India the growth depends on the source, in the range of 10 – 15 per cent. Indian consumers tastes have changed over the years. They want new things so we are giving them variations in knit look denim in terms of structure, stretch and colours,” he concludes.

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