Hyosung Team Joins Innovation Encounters Meet-Up at Interfilière Connect – Hyosung Performance Textiles

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Hyosung Team Joins Innovation Encounters Meet-Up at Interfilière Connect

Story | September 23, 2020

Julia Nam, our Marketing Manager for Intimates and Swim along with our EMEA Marketing Director, Simon Whitmarsh-Knight joined Dominique Demoinet of DLD Consulting for an Interfilère Innovation Encounters Meet -Up to discuss how Hyosung is overcoming COVID-19, our move to digital, and the importance of consistent innovation. 

In case you missed the live stream interview, you can listen here and read the transcript below.

Dominique:

Hi, today I have the pleasure to interview Julia and Simon from Hyosung Textile. Hyosung Textile is part of Hyosung Cooperation, one of Korea’s leading multinational conglomerates. Hyosung Textile is an end to end textile maker producing and supplying nylon and polyester yarns and fabrics. Hyosung Textile also produces well-known spandex creora®. Hyosung Textiles is today’s largest spandex producer is the world. 

Hi, Julia, hi Simon. Before talking about the creora® family, innovations and the Hyosung Textile Research and Development policy, I will let you introduce yourselves. So Julie, could you introduce yourself please, then Simon.

Julia:

Hello. Nice to meet you. I am Julia Nam, with Hyosung Textile marketing team based in Seoul, Korea. So I have been working for Hyosung around nine years. So firstly, I have been European marketing manager for creora® Spandex fiber, and now I cover intimates, swim and retailer for global markets. Nice to see you here Miss Dominique.

Dominique:

Thank you. What about you Simon?

Simon:

Yes, thanks Dominique. Nice to see Julia also. So my name’s Simon Whitmarsh-Knight. I lead the marketing for Hyosung here in Europe. So that means I work with Julia and the rest of our fantastic global team, focusing on the brands and retailers in Europe, really to try to help those brands and retailers find what they’re looking for in terms of fiber technology. Secondly, to enhance their fabrics and garments performance, and then thirdly, to really help upgrade the storytelling to their end users.

Dominique:

Okay, thank you Simon. Before talking about the innovative products you are launching, first question, could you tell us how does Hyosung Textile overcome the crisis due to the pandemic situation?

Simon:

Sure, thanks, Dominique. Julie and I will both take turns to answer some of these questions again, thank you for giving us an opportunity to speak today. Julia, if I may start and then we’ll go on together. I think in terms of the pandemic and the current situation Dominique, you know, first and foremost, I think for me personally, it’s reinforced how connected we are, how interrelated we are. We all work as a system and I hope that’s one of the things that really survives when the pandemic is under control. We realize as a world, we are more connected and we need each other to be safe and secure. I really hope that’s a positive result from a difficult situation.

But maybe quickly four things I think, you know, Hyosung in particular focused on to manage and react to this crisis. Of course, number one was to make sure everybody within our working environment, our colleagues, our people and facilities were safe and well, you know, that’s the number one priority right at the start and will continue to be so. Number two, I think, and we’re all learning as we go along, the number two is really around communication. You know, there’s so much uncertainty still the situation is evolving, you know, changing rapidly. So communication through the value chain, communication with the teams almost over communication if you like to try to get clarity of message to check in on people, that’s I think been a good, a good learning for us.

I think number three, of course, we reacted and responded to some of the new opportunities and needs within the market. It’s a difficult situation, but of course, with the world map producing lots of PPE, masks, etcetera, Hyosung as the leading spandex producer, was able to respond and help that area in terms of mass production and PPE. And then we’ve also seen some new trends coming in terms of working from home, wellness at home, this idea of us all working from home, needing different benefits from our clothes, I think, so we’re seeing a lot of developments in this area.

And then finally, I guess, you know, whilst thinking about the short term, we’re also wanting to make sure the medium long-term continue. So our investment in newness and new technology is also very important. And we’ll talk about those in a second, Dominique.

Julia:

So, if add something about, with the more example, after COVID situation, many brands are looking for more short-term supply, and they want to reduce their stock. So, to do this, we often have discussions by call or conference or video call with the brands and the fabric mills as to how we can reduce the supply, the delivery time, and how we can support our customers – especially mill and brands. So, this is an example about open communication.

Dominique:

Thank you, Julia. Let’s talk now about the creora® family. You are back once again on innovation. So could you tell us more about the new qualities you are launching now in the creora® family?

Simon:

Sure. Yeah. Again, maybe if I kick off and then Julia can add and pick up the bits, the many bits that I miss, Dominique, but as we mentioned earlier, we, continue to invest in the long-term whilst thinking short term around helping and managing our customers as well.

We’re coming up to the, the traditional, if that word still exist, exhibition period. And of course, there’s been a lot of change and development  with the exhibitions. Usually that’s a time where we think about promoting our newness and with the rest of the industry. We’re now thinking more closely about digital promotion as things have moved online. We still hope there are opportunities for face to face meetings later in the year, as it’s so important for us in this business. But certainly, two or three of the areas that we’re focusing on for quarter three and quarter four, we’re talking about creora® Color+ especially here at Interfilière, which is a new development for Hyosung where we are helping the market meet the need for deeper and darker shades, better colors within natural fiber blends.

As we discussed earlier, work from home lounge wear is very important. So we’re seeing, especially in that sort of underwear category, athleisure continues to be important. People looking for natural fibers, but with the enhanced technology that the fibers can bring. So, creora® Color+ in terms of giving that benefit within natural blends is very important.

And one other thing that we see Dominique that is really amplified, were many changes as part of the COVID pandemic. One thing that we see is sustainability, the customers, our brands, and retailers responding and anticipating their end user and, you know, sustainability has become even more important to people as part of this pandemic – where the things come from, how they are made, are  they helpful to the planet? And so, our story is around recycled creora® regen, Mipan regen in terms of recycled nylon, polyester, and also increasingly bio-based creora®. People looking for developing the story of reduction of carbon emissions, et cetera. So, our bio-based platforms are becoming more and more interesting for different end users, whether that’s for activewear, lounge wear or underwear. So really Color+, and then the bio based and recycled story in this particular space. I’m sure Julia will add a lot more to that also Dominique.

Julia:

Simon presented the details of our products. So I just want, you gave us some points of view in terms of intimate trend, because one or two years, when I had a meeting at Interfilière Paris show most intimate brands do not like the sustainable concept because they think intimate apparel is kind of very, how can I say…close to the skin. So, consumers do not like recycled material on the human body. But more and more brands, they are looking for more recycled products.  Of Christopher’s to target will be nylon because basically previously they doesn’t look for the recycled nylon, but now many brands, especially one of the key global brands, they are looking for recycled nylon.

But we thought the next step would be spandex because many brands are thinking about 100% sustainable garments, but if there will be unsustainable spandex inside it or under 10 or 20 percent, that it can be perfect. So, we guess more brands or more fabric mills will start to look for recycled spandex. At the moment most retailers, because they are very keen on already started to develop garments with the recycled spandex, so we see more opportunities and more niche in the market about a sustainable creora® family.

Dominique:

Do you think that this change with the consumer, they are more and more demanding for a core responsible products and garments? Do you think it’s a long term change or it’s just a spontaneous reaction due to the pandemic situation?

Julia:

In my opinion, I think that this would be a long-term direction more and more. Actually, Hyosung developed recycled nylon 10 years ago. At the time we felt it is kind of the promotional, the how can I… products, but now the consumer has been changing. They’re looking for more conscious products and conscious action. So, we for sure see the consumer need as long term. But the key point is, as Simon stated, it’s not just about recycled material. Now they are looking for more – the life cycle of garments, not just the raw material. They are looking for more carbon reduction and then from the yarn to the garment or after garments. So that’s why see some more niche for bio-based raw material. It is slowly but very quickly growing.

Simon:

I think maybe just to add to that as well, Dominique, we, as a company work very closely with our leading brand and retail customers in terms of developments, you know, a lot of those brands and retailers have made some significant and fantastic objectives in terms of maybe moving to recycled by a certain time. And that has significant impact on the value chain. So, it’s really important that we work very closely with our key customers to help them meet those targets, those long-term targets. And also, the benefit there is as we’re working hand very closely together with brand and retailers, there’s almost like a ready-made customer base when products then come to market, we’ve been able to anticipate the demand for consumers. So the product can really get going very quickly. And I think as Julia was saying, there’s also an evolution in maybe understanding and knowledge around sustainability for consumers, brands and retailers.

And so perhaps, the first stage was recycled fiber, which of course is very important. We’re now seeing a real interest in, as Julia said, bio based. In terms of maybe the understanding of how that works and the benefits of that in terms of product and planets are becoming clearer. And then we hear, and we’re looking at other areas such as regenerative now. So how do we help actually give back in many areas? So working closely with brands and retailers really helps us think about innovation, but also innovation in terms of end use and how to manufacture that in the most effective way.

Dominique:

So, we talk about creora® Color+. A few months ago, you have launched creora® ActiFit – how do you combine innovation and the core responsible policy for fashion market, for luxury, for sport market? How do you combine both?

Simon:

Yeah, it’s a great question, Dominique. I think clearly we pride ourselves on innovation. We have this very close contact with brands and retailers, so that is helping us to anticipate demand, but also then make that product in a way that is the most environmentally friendly, very important to us. We’re working hand in hand with, with many of our top customers in terms of further, how should we say… substantiation of the benefits of each product. Customers are looking to move further up the value chain and look more at traceability. So, an example being LCAs, you know, we’re doing a number of those now with customers before we launch a product. And then we’re also working with a number of global brands and third parties on those LCAs and assessments to give that third party endorsement.

So, it’s great that we are forward looking. We’re looking at where the market has some needs. We have a great fashion design team in Hyosung that is looking at future trends and how those translate into fiber and garments. And then by working closely with brands and retailers, we’re able to help develop those fibers and then help substantiate and create the stories that brands or retailers are looking for.

Julia:

In terms of the function and the eco-conscious concept recently relaunch the functional, recycled fiber. So not just the only sustainable concept, but also function because when we had a meeting with the global brands, okay, the now the target would be recycled, but the next step will be the innovative recycled yarn. So we developed a recycled cooling, UV protection polyester, brand name is to recycled askin. We see the next page of the recycled material.

Simon:

That’s a great point, Julia, actually I think that highlights really how the market is constantly evolving and the consumer’s needs are always increasing. So as Julia so brilliantly put, you know, first we were looking at nylon for the market or polyester and then the market demands moved to recycled. And now the market moving again for recycled with technology, so multifunction, multipurpose. As Julia said, our recycled askin to recycled polyester, recycled aqua- X, or recycled nylon. We’re also brought out to this recently, robic, which is a highly durable abrasion resistant fabric. So that’s also available as recycled. So multi-function but recycled answering the ever-changing, evolving needs of the consumer.

Dominique:

Thank you, Julie and Simon. So for all these details, last question. Do you have some key words you would like to use for next season?

Julia:

So obviously I think two things, first one is sustainability and the COVID situation. So, in terms of a sustainable, the key I can focus on the creora® bio-based or the creora® recycled yarn will be key words for Hyosung. And then second one about the COVID situation and the many people working from home. We will focus on creora® Color+ natural blends. So it will be good auction for the lounge wear markets.

Simon:

I think one thing that’s always important, one word that is always top of a customer’s list is comfort. So, Julia’s right, we think about specific products, changing market needs, especially now there are certain needs for the pandemic and the health and well-being of people. And, you know, we will get through this and we will come out the other side and, you know, throughout that time and beyond comfort is always the number one factor that customers are looking for. Hyosung, is always thinking around not just comfort stretch, but also cooling, warming, soft touch, all these sorts of things, which helped to answer that customer need through our fiber technologies. So comfort for me would be an additional keyword to what Julia has mentioned.

Dominique:

Thank you very much, we’ll keep in mind these key words for creora® and Hyosung Textile. Thank you very much Julia and thank you very much Simon!

Simon:

Thank you very much, bye, bye.

Dominique:

Bye