Tell us about your business, how long has it been running and what’s the story behind it?
We for the last 26 years have been at the core of innovations in Denim Fabrics. Rantex was established in 1990. Our aim has always been to inspire our customers with quality denim fabrics.
Do you have your own design department, if so, where do you get the inspiration for your designs from?
Yes, we have a small design department and we get the inspiration from:
- Leading brands like, 7 for all mankind, Diesel, Reply, True Religion etc
- Participating and visiting major fabric shows in Tokyo and USA
- Discussing with the brands which we are working with like H&M,Inditex and others
Do you find that brands and retailers are increasingly looking for design input from their manufacturing partners?
Yes, over last 2 years we have been noticing this particularly. Brands are looking for innovations in material, sustainability techniques and new designs.
What design trends have you seen coming over the past two or three seasons, and what trends do you expect to see over the coming seasons?
There are a mix of trends and we don’t see fashion moving into any particular directions, vintage look is in demand with new “light weight” and “sustainable fabrics”. Due to long summers people have liked light multi colours, whereas sharp contrasts like “black and white” are also in demand.
Are there any core staples that you are always asked for, irrespective of seasonal trend changes?
Yes, we understand that consumers/customers have more power than ever before, thanks to social media, there is a proliferation of choices. Customer diversity continues to increase by putting a premium on micro-segmentation and deep customer insight.
Do you have a particular manufacturing niche which sets you apart? How do you set yourselves apart from other manufacturers?
We are particularly into Denims and if we compare ourselves with other manufacturers, we see ourselves as:
Having “less lead-time in shipments” due to automation and human efficiency.
More sustainable than approximately 90% of rest of our competitors.
Have there been any new technological developments that you have introduced into your manufacturing processes? Do you think there will ever come a time where manufacturing is fully automated or it is the human input that makes the quality differences?
We have been updating our various production processes with new machinery time to time, as this is one of the most important ways to make our self not only cost effective but efficient as well.
We do see a time where machines will be at least playing 95% of the of the role but as far as innovation and diversity is concerned, human role is incomparable.
Are you seeing any trends or changes in the way production is moving? For example, are you being asked more about ethical practices or are you turning to data driven production?
Yes, as far as ethics is concerned it is been there since the beginning, but we see a big change in attitudes about social and environmental concerns.
How do you adapt to the changes in the marketplace, how do you stay ahead of the curve?
We always try to get information about new changes in yarn, chemicals, finishing processes from our suppliers + we have been getting information from our customers as well about new requirements and changes.
Have customers become more demanding of suppliers? What have the core changes been in this relationship?
Yes, looks like that, as currently our industry is having more suppliers than buyers and due to this there is too much price pressure and demand for shorter lead-times.
What advice would you give sourcing professionals looking for a manufacturer? What should they look for, and what questions should they be asking?
This varies case to case, but they must look for the manufacturer who offers the best quality, pricing, samples on time, product development & innovation, best lead time and easy MOQ.
How can manufacturers and sourcing professionals improve their relationships?
By being transparent and following these paths 1) create channels for consistent communication. 2) dish out blame evenly 3) know you aren’t the only client or supplier. 4) create transparency through technology.
Are ethical and sustainable credentials more important today? Is this something where buyers are becoming more demanding on these issues?
Yes indeed! A new international study reveals that a third of consumers (33%) are now choosing to buy from brands they believe are doing social or environmental good. An estimated €966 billion opportunity exists for brands that make their sustainability credentials clear but besides that credentials like “on time shipment” and “quality of a product” have been on top.