Back in 2015, Grasim Industries Limited had achieved a major milestone marking the advent of a new era of Birla Cellulose with the launch of new age fabric brand – Liva. Liva is a natural, fluid and fashionable fabric that serves to infuse fluidity in a garment. IMAGES BoF spoke to President – Marketing, Grasim Industries Ltd., Birla Celluose, Manohar Samuel about the company and its future plans.
Tell us a bit about Birla Cellulose.
Birla Cellulose, the pulp and fiber business of Aditya Birla Group, is a global leader in Man Made Cellulosic Fibers (MMCF) and a pioneer in India in Viscose Staple Fiber (VSF). A versatile and easily blendable fiber, VSF is used in apparel, home textiles, women’s wear fabrics, knit wear and non-woven applications. Liva is an ingredient brand which was introduced in Spring/ Summer 2015.
Liva stands for high quality fabric made using natural cellulosic fibers of Aditya Birla Group delivered through an accredited value chain for guaranteed performance. Liva imparts softness and comfort to the fabric.
Could you tell us in detail about how important a role fabrics play in the making of the final product?
This is indeed a very apt question for textiles and clothing as a whole. Fabric is the heart of ensuring what the consumer wants in terms of functional need, aesthetic appeal and utility performance.
Our consumer research shows that even if they buy a product which they wear, they connote the performance also on the fabric which has backed the product.
The fabric is perfected with right construction, and most importantly, the choice of fiber. The fiber relates to most of the fabric value. Of course the consumer desires a garment which has styling, designing and perfect choice of fiber, yarn, fabric construction.
The birth of ingredient brand Liva, is an amalgamation of consumer insights and core fabric needs. Our research shows that innerwear requires a fabric that is comfortable, soft and absorbent, good for the skin and is engineer-able for all consumer needs. Specific tests for low sheer performance has shown luxuriously soft Liva Crème as a fit for premium innerwear, and Liva with cotton blend for value segment.
Tell us about the different types of fabrics that you manufacture for the innerwear industry.
Let me share with you some of the most prominent innerwear fabrics that we manufacture. We have Vortex Modal (100 per cent) with 5 per cent spandex in 160 GSM, and Vortex Cotton/ Modal (50 per cent/ 50 per cent) – 170 GSM. Then we have Siro Modal (100 per cent) with 5 per cent spandex in 160 GSM and Siro Cotton/Modal (50 per cent/ 50 per cent) in 170 GSM. Apart from these, we also have compact ring Modal and blends.
These fabrics are finished in a way that the intrinsic value of the product is brought forth with closed collaboration with the Liva Accredited Partner Forum (LAPF). The LAPF members have innovated leveraging the fiber attributes, yarn configuration, fabric construction and functional finishes to ensure consumer delight.
In layman’s terms, what would be the the key attributes of these fabrics?
The key attributes for fabric used for innerwear applications are softness, moisture wicking, light weight, colour brilliancy, lusture, skin friendliness, easy maintenance, etc.
Tell us about the recent innovations that you have developed in terms of technology and product features.
There are actually two key developments which we believe will take the product features to another level. One, the wider adaptation of Siro compact spinning with Viscose and Modal by the value chain which provides a much cleaner and softer end product. Secondly, micro-modal becoming a preferred fiber base in the intimate space imparting softness and comfort to the end product.
Also, we have innovated with fibers that kill bacteria; there’s another one which is super white and a third which uses spun-dyed MMCF. Our innovation pipeline would ensure that we seek opportunity and align with consumer demand to grow our business.
Tell us about the price points of your products.
The inherit strength of our fiber adds a luxurious softness and premium look to the end product. The pricing of the end product is influenced by a profusion of factors including brand image as well as the target audience. Our fiber based product is normally targeted towards the premium end of the market with a price bracket of over Rs 300 (for end product).
Tell us which innerwear brands are your key clients?
It gives me immense pleasure to tell you that today, most of the top Indian and international brands use our fiber based fabric. Some of brands working closely with us are Jockey, FCUK, XYXX, Neva, to name a few.