Even as the business environment in global fashion retail evolves with individual excellence not being enough to grow, progressive companies have moved a step ahead, providing services that are collaborative and innovative. With the acquisition of PCC Asia by USA-based Chargeurs Fashion Technologies – the world’s second-largest apparel interlinings manufacturer last year – the market reach and product capability of the group Chargeurs-PCC has increased manifolds. The combined strengths of these two market leaders have made the enterprise among the top preferred global interlining companies in a wide range of categories and market segments. Though China continues to be the biggest market for the company due to its sheer size and scale of production, other markets in Asia are growing propositions for Chargeurs-PCC.
In a freewheeling interaction with Team Apparel Resources (AR), James Davis, Operations Manager, PCC Asia LLC, and in-charge of Vietnam operations, shares the secret that makes Chargeurs-PCC stand out in a crowded market. Excerpts from the interview:
AR: On the surface there are many international companies in the interlining space, yet ChargeursPCC continues to grow. What is the USP that creates the differentiator?
James Davis: Our motto – No Matter Where, No Matter When, No Matter How – says it all. Our commitment is to serve our customer and this is what drives us and our team every day. We make it a priority to understand the market needs and to work proactively to solve the needs of our customers. Our customers are ambitious and innovative, and we want to help them achieve even more. We are always pushing our products forward to meet the changing needs of the industry. Our global network of innovation centres allows us to work in partnership with our clients to test, learn and develop the best unique solutions for them.
AR: R&D at Chargeurs-PCC is very strong. What is the direction of research today that will meet future needs of the fashion and sewn industry?
James Davis: Athleisure is definitely a big trend in the market today with stretchy fabrics and hence needs similar interlinings. Chargeurs-PCC has a full range of stretchable interlinings to fit those needs. In the menswear segment, jackets are becoming softer and lighter for which we have the solutions, further in menswear we see an increasing need for washable garments (instead of dryclean care labels). With a growing market for seamless garments, we have also forayed into this segment, and finally we develop sustainable solutions that are of prime importance for today and the future.
AR: What are the offerings that Chargeurs-PCC has for companies looking at sustainable solutions in interlining?
James Davis: It is not only about a sustainable product; we focus our corporate culture on being environmentally and socially responsible. We are constantly reducing our carbon footprint and waste, and consciously operate by the highest environmental standards in all of our territories.
On the product front, more than 30 sustainable solutions are already available. Over 80 per cent of our products are classified as Oeko-Tex class 1, besides which we are part of Better Cotton Initiatives (BCI) and Cotton Leads, supporting sustainable cotton in the USA. The company is committed to responsible sourcing and transparency and that is why our products are Global Recycled Standard (GRS) certified. We believe change is coming and we continue to commit to doing better and to doing good. Therefore, we are in the process of launching at least 50 sustainable products with sustainable certifications (Global Recycled Standard, BCI, Cotton Leads) to cover most garment types in addition to pocketing and linings.
AR: In today’s competitive market, success is not only dependent on products, but also services. Tell us about the various exclusive services that Chargeurs-PCC provides/offers to the industry. In South Asia, Chargeurs-PCC has two factories, one in Bangladesh and one in Sri Lanka.
James Davis: We are a truly global company with eight factories and over 30 offices and distribution hubs dotted around the world. This spread allows us to service over 90 countries across every major continent. Our factories also serve as innovation labs, finding solutions for complex problems and ground-breaking designs.
This global position allows us to address various concerns effectively:
- Speed to market with warehousing services.
- Quality of the garments with pre-testing services at each location.
- Eliminate all quality issues using machine check-up before the start of the production.
- Knowledge sharing with technical seminars in all our locations; gaining knowledge helps garment manufacturers to save time in making the right choice of interlinings for the garment/wash and hence saving time and money during their sampling process.
AR: How is the Vietnam market for Chargeurs-PCC; and do you have solutions for very high-priced specialised products in sportswear and jackets?
James Davis: Vietnam is a very versatile manufacturing base that does the whole garment range and hence we see equal distribution of nonwovens, knits and woven interlining. There is a growing market for specialised categories and as of today, Chargeurs-PCC is supporting the production of highend sportswear brands in Vietnam. Also, we provide for down proof interlinings which are a necessary and integral part of such jackets.
AR: Moving forward, what are the growth drivers in the Vietnam market and how important is the market for Chargeurs-PCC?
James Davis: We have noticed a lateral shift in the business model in Vietnam, where more and more business is being done on FOB basis instead of the traditional CMT business model. This itself is a big change and a growth driver. Further, the tariffs on China exports to the US have made Vietnam more lucrative for garment production. The recent signing of FTA between the EU and Vietnam will also bring more business. As it stands today, Vietnam continues to be among our top 3 business markets.