Internationally-certified organic cotton ladies' pants manufactured by Sri Lanka's Brandix Group have broken into the 2008 spring and summer collection of top international retailer NEXT, opening up a lucrative new category for the country's largest apparel exporter.
The Group's lead casualwear production facility for NEXT in Girital has already supplied more than 10,000 'semi-cargo' pants to the retailer and anticipates continuing orders as the season progresses, Brandix Casualwear CEO Pravin Kalpage said.
A unique feature of the orders executed for NEXT is the fact that the organic fabric used is processed in Sri Lanka at the Brandix Textiles factory at Makandura, Pannala, which received Organic and Fair Trade certification from the Institute for Marketecology (IMO) of Switzerland recently.
NEXT is the third major international chain to place orders for organic garments from Brandix, he said. The Group has also received orders for 37,000 pieces of organic apparel from Marks & Spencer (M&S) the top notch UK retailer, and from Woolworth in South Africa. The organic fabric for these orders is imported from India.
"This is just the first phase of initiatives within the group to establish a fully-integrated organic-certified supply chain that will enable Brandix to produce 100 per cent organic apparel for leading global brands," Mr. Kalpage said, seven Brandix Casualwear operational locations in Sri Lanka are on course to receive GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certification in the final quarter of 2007-08.
The Group's garment finishing operation Brandix Finishing Limited (BFL) is also in process of obtaining organic certification, on receipt of which Brandix expects to be fully geared to provide organic textiles, organic manufacture and organic washing, he added.
Consumer preference for organic-certified clothing, a 'conscience-driven' choice, is expected to grow in the years ahead, and buyers would want vendors who can produce organic apparel when needed
Samal Dissanaike, Head of Supply Chain
Brandix Casualwear's Head of Supply Chain Samal Dissanaike said consumer preference for organic-certified clothing, a 'conscience-driven' choice, is expected to grow in the years ahead, and buyers would want vendors who can produce organic apparel when needed. "Manufacturers who do not have organic certification will lose out in this area of business, which could become a significant segment," he said.
Organic certified fabrics could cost up to 30 per cent more than standard fabric, and garments produced with such fabric retail at higher prices than their non-certified counterparts and cater to discerning niche markets, Mr. Dissanaike said.
Lincoln Fernando, Divisional Merchandise Manager and Head of the Next account at Brandix Casualwear said the company's factory at Giritale is geared to respond to repeat orders from Next for organic cotton pants with lead times of just eight weeks.
The GOTS certification is the definitive global certification for organic textiles and covers the production, processing, manufacturing, packaging, labelling, export, import and distribution of all natural fibres. The aim of the standard is to define requirements to ensure the organic status of textiles, from harvesting of the raw materials, through environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing up to labelling in order to provide a credible assurance to the end consumer.
Brandix (www.brandix.com ) pioneered the concept of total solutions in the Sri Lankan apparel industry and is Sri Lanka's largest apparel exporter with a consolidated annual turnover of over US$ 320 million (2006-07). The winner of two Presidential Export Awards in 2007, the Group has integrated Clean Technology, Waste Management, Energy Management and Environmental Conservation into its operations on the basis of a strong belief that sustainable industrial development can drive its ultimate goal of being a completely green business concern. Brandix is a preferred solutions provider to some of the world's best brands, including Gap, Marks & Spencer, Victoria's Secret, NEXT, Lands End, Ann Taylor, Abercrombie & Fitch and Tommy Hilfiger. The Group specializes in casual bottoms, intimate and active wear, textiles, knitted fabrics, sewing and embroidery thread, accessories and hangers and also offers wet processing and finishing and fabric printing.