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Retail sector responds to COVID-19 with innovative fashion

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The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reform
the retail sector, which is adjusting to the ‘new normal’, creating a need for items that are fast becoming an integral part of every individual’s life. The sector in general, and fashion retail in particular have responded swiftly with brand new approaches as well as with the acceleration of trends that were already gaining traction pre-pandemic.
Aside from innovative ways of practicing social distancing and contactless shopping – like introducing apps, virtual checkouts and even virtual trial rooms – the fashion retail industry has gone so far as to create anti-viral fabrics–this after research released by the World Health Organisation (WHO), suggested that the virus (as well as certain bacteria) can remain active on garments for a couple of days.
We bring you some ways in which certain brands are using technology and innovating to enhance consumer confidence and experience, thereby increasing their sales in these unprecedented times.
Anti-Viral Fabric
Arvind Limited, India’s leading textile-to-retail conglomerate announced the launch of Anti-Viral Textile technology for the first time in India under its brand Intellifabrix.
Arvind has partnered with Swiss textile innovation leader HeiQ Materials AG in association with Taiwanese Specialty chemical major M/S Jintex Corporation to introduce this revolutionary anti-virus technology in India.
Research shows that viruses and bacteria, can remain active on textile surfaces for up to two days. Garments treated with HeiQ Viroblock actively inhibit viruses and kill them upon contact, helping to minimize the potential for re-transmission of pathogens through clothing.
Announcing the launch of the anti-viral fabrics under Intellifabrix, Kulin Lalbhai, Executive Director, Arvind Limited says, “The world is facing an unprecedented crisis due to COVID-19. In this context, we are committed to keep our customers safe and that is why we have tied up with HeiQ to bring its revolutionary Viroblock technology to India. We are excited with this partnership and in a very short period of time we will introduce into the Indian market fabrics that will provide best-in-class viral protection and are fashionable at the same time.”
HeiQ Viroblock is one of the most advanced global antiviral products created by HeiQ, a Swiss textile innovator. HeiQ Viroblock significantly enhances the antiviral log reduction and reduces viral infectivity by 99.99 percent and is one of the first textile technologies in the world to claim such efficacy on SARS-CoV-2. HeiQ Viroblock has been designed to stay active on treated garments for 30 gentle domestic washes, ensuring safety for the consumer that lasts for a good part of the garment’s life.
Arvind has also led the battle against COVID-19 by manufacturing PPE suits and Masks using its rich technical textiles knowledge, and now the company is happy to bring this breakthrough innovation of anti-viral fabrics under the Intellifabrix brand to the Indian market.
Anti-Viral Home Textiles
Welspun India Limited, a global leader in home textiles, has announced the launch of an exclusive range of anti-viral home textile products for the Indian market.
An extension of Welspun India’s recent foray into the health and hygiene category, the anti-viral products include terry towels, bed linens, rugs and carpet along with re-usable cloth mask, and will be made available to the customers under brands – SPACES and Welspun Health. To introduce this revolutionary range, the company has partnered with Australia headquartered HealthGuard Corporation – leaders in tailored non-invasive healthcare products.
The company has created an innovative home textile range that is treated with HealthGuard AMIC technology, which has shown outstanding preliminary results against the Human Strain SARS-CoV-2 virus (COVID-19). HealthGuard AMIC has already proven 99.94 percent effectiveness against coronavirus, combating the spread of harmful viruses through textiles. This technology not only has anti-viral, but also antifungal and anti-microbial properties. Furthermore, the anti-viral properties in this technology has high wash durability and can stay active on treated textiles for minimum 30 domestic washes, ensuring long lasting protection for the consumers. Authenticated with superior quality, the HealthGuard AMIC technology has been tested as per international test standards such as AATCC: 100 (MS2) and ISO 18184 (H1N1).
Commenting on the launch, Dipali Goenka, CEO and Jt MD, Welspun India Limited states, “In response to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Welspun India has consistently innovated to address evolving consumer requirements. Having recently ventured into the health and hygiene category with Welspun Health, we are now launching a range of high quality anti-viral home textiles. We have partnered with the Australian HealthGuard Corporation to integrate cutting-edge technology that will minimize the spread of harmful viruses.”
Anti-Viral Fabrics with NEO TECH® Technology
With the intention of creating one mega-brand which caters to a wide range of consumer psychographics, GRADO had invested in bringing together WORSTEDS from the house of OCM and TR/BI-STRETCH fabrics from the house of GBTL (which were earlier marketed under respective brand names – OCM & GRASIM Suiting), under the umbrella brand ‘GRADO’.
In the wake of COVID-19, GRADO has come up with NEO TECH® technology wherein the products are high quality, utilitarian and have a shield against bacteria and viruses alike.
NEO TECH® is a unique technology developed by the Donear group companies, perfected by brand GRADO at its manufacturing units. The fabric is revolutionary and has been certified by top-laboratories such as NABL accredited Bio Tech Services. Leveraging NEO TECH® techniques, GRADO has developed specially designed anti-viral and anti-bacterial fabrics that inhibits growth and retention of micro-organisms, making them safe and hygienic.
GRADO NEO TECH® fabrics have been certified safe to wear/ use for any kind of garment – suits/ jackets/ trousers. These fabrics retain their properties up to even 50 washes and are suited for everyday wear. Currently, we are geared up to take on bulk orders and should be able to roll out to the market within a few days of lockdown being lifted.
Trusted by their business partners and known for their legacy – GBTL (formerly GRASIM Suiting and Gwalior Suitings) and OCM under the brand – GRADO has continued to garner a lot of admiration for this new and need-of-thehour product.
These fabrics have received wide acclaim from multiple industries – hospitality, hospitals, aviation, uniform providers (for schools/ universities/ factories), big-wigs from the retail industry and from the defense sectors. Multiple large-scale production orders from these industries are pouring in too. We have recently closed a large order with a Police Department with a major state of India.
Commenting on the range, Rajendra Agarwal, MD Donear Group & Mentor, GRADO says, “We have been investing in R&D since a very long time. We have been pioneers in introducing a lot of innovative products in the market in the past as well with products such as STREEZA (4-way stretch fabric), ICEtouch (making you 5 degrees cooler) and Uncrushable (for wrinkle resistance) amongst others, which are continuing to fare extremely well. NEO TECH® is the latest addition to that long list.”
“Given the current world situation, we wanted to be in a position to offer a more hygienic product choice to the market post this lock-down; and what could be better than anti-viral clothing that can be worn by anyone and everyone. We are really happy about the outcome and also feel proud about contributing to the nation during these trying times,” he adds.
The Donear Group, using NEO TECH® technology, has conceived products that are high quality, utilitarian and have a shield against bacteria and viruses alike. Known for their pioneering efforts, NEO TECH® has partnered with HeiQ, a Swiss company, to power up its suiting & worsted fabrics with an intelligent textile technology – HeiQ Viroblock NPJ03. HeiQ creates some of the most effective, durable and high-performance textile effects in the market today, which lasts upto 30 washes.
Agarwal says, “We have always wanted to extend our forte in poly viscose and worsted fabrics – be it for trousers, jackets or suits. This partnership has added another feather in our cap for breakthrough technology with anticorona fabrics that shows its effects within minutes rather than hours! I strongly believe that the antiviral fabrics will boost our established group turnover (of Rs 1,300 crore) by at least 15 percent.”
Eyewear with Optimum Safety
The recent coronavirus pandemic calls for greater protection and safety for our eyes, as directives issued by health bodies suggest that COVID-19 virus could transmit through eyes besides nose and mouth when exposed to infected droplets, making eye protection a necessity, along with hand sanitization and face cover.
Nova Eyewear, the global brand from the house of Vision Rx Lab, has stepped forward to cater to the pressing need of optimum eye protection and safety as the world enters the phase of unlocking. It has introduced a diverse range of safety eyewear under Nova Safety range, manufactured with cutting-edge technology and best of lens materials to help shield the eyes not only from hazardous environment but also from biological hazards such as infections caused due to COVID-19, whether indoors or outdoors.
As per industry safety standards, Nova Safety range of eyewear comes with unique protective design in fl uid repellent material to provide perfect coverage for the eyes. Additionally, its special anti-fog coating keeps lenses fog-free even when wearing masks, providing a clear vision and optimum protection from any infections or harmful agents. The advanced coating HC AF (Hard Coat Anti Fog lenses) applied on both sides of lenses in Nova Safety range gives wearer a fog-free comfortable vision, as it resists fog / fine particles and chemicals from accumulating on lens surfaces and with water sheeting properties it ensures best quality and performance for indoor or outdoor environment.
Further keeping the diverse needs and preference of the consumers, the brand’s safeguard range comes in two categories, Nova Safety Premium Goggles for industrial purpose and stylish Nova Safeguard glasses along with fashionable face masks for day to day activities.
Also for complete face protection, Nova Safeguard is clubbed together with Nova Face Masks which have 5 layer purification system for protection and is carefully designed for all weather conditions keeping breathability and comfort in mind, allowing wearers to step out with proper face safety in style.

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