James Chen From Foizon Textile Share His Views Over Current Crisis

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James

Sandeep:
Hi James . How are you and how is everything in China ?

James:
Hi Sandeep. It is very good and we are much more relaxed now.

Sandeep:
Yeah of course because situation has been controlled to a lot  and things are coming back to normal I hear.

James:
Actually in China , most of the activities is turned back to normal. We were being locked down in February and March. At that moment people are tense and nervous but now all the restaurant restart and people start going out, start doing their shopping on the street is for people not like two months ago and the government also encouraging the small business like a small shop restaurant to start again.So basically we already tackled the situation except the cinema and stadium. Still we try to avoid too many people get into the same space. So how about your side?

Sandeep:
From our side, we’re in a lockdown for last one and one month in a month and I think for another three weeks probably will be the lockdown and this is a strict lockdown so nothing is open  shops , offices are closed. So we just can get some food items in the small shops nearby and that’s all I mean we are still hoping numbers of cases still going up and we really hope that it will start coming down and we might control the situation by the end of this month.

James:
We didn’t have the law but the thing is everybody put the mask on, it’s actually they are doing something to protect themselves.

Sandeep:
What about the retail shops like the apparel shops? What are they doing ?

James:
Comparatively not much people shopping especially I’m talking about the town much less people shopping in a shops but digital shop is growing. Business is growing which is the biggest electronic structure. The eShop is having enjoying a very good result.

Sandeep:
But is that for all the categories ? What about the apparel category ? How is it doing?

James:
Apparel category is actually growing even compared to last year !

Sandeep:
Actually so that’s a good thing at least that is something you probably will see in Europe and US also. Once things start opening so people will start buying from these online retailers and it is that will give some kind of respite to the industry.

James:
It will be a trend but I believe that one European American ever actually one day we started the business when people turn back to their normal life they are 200 they may go out to the shop to started shopping.

Sandeep:
So you know I’ve been talking to some technology providers and all they were talking about some providing trying to create some safety equipment for the shops so that the customers feel safe. Do you think something like this is happening China also or they are using these kind of measures?

James:
Already we are using this. Whenever we enter the stores , number one the temperature has been checked and then the travel record also been checked for eg, If I came from Hong Kong , when and where I came, which city I stayed in , and ensure that I am doing all the safe activities. Also, the shop is not always full of people, so you can feel safe inside.

Sandeep:
Regarding sanitization of garments as I was talking to you before also, still people are working on technologies to sanitize the garments in some way so that customers feel really safe when they come to the shop.

James:
Basically they only spray the sanitizer on top and on the above it may also affect the appearance of the color of the print. However, they are taking all precautions and trying to work out some repellent fabrics.

Sandeep
It will help in at least repelling some of these droplets and other things which will not stick to the garment if this finishing is done.

James:
Yes, it reduces the spread of the virus.

Sandeep:
Is it mainly for denim or for any other product?

James:
Yes, it is mainly for denim.

Sandeep:
What is Foizon doing to adjust to the current situation?

James:
The production is very slow. The very imposing thing is all the European and American market have been dramatically slowing down. We are lucky that we have still kept our production on.

Sandeep:
Because you have a big  local market also because that really helps.

James:
Local market, yes. But local market for us comparatively is less helping as we are only making maybe not more than 10 % of production for local market.

Sandeep:
So in terms of buyers your buyers and overseas buyers, still some buyers  are taking the products and everybody’s not canceling ?

James:
The thing we worry about is not canceled orders but hold on orders. How we don’t know when would they take the order. It’s also we are facing a lot of a stand payment even with the LC but what can we do we have to help.

Sandeep:
Actually both of the buyers and suppliers have to try to  to find the solution because otherwise it is very difficult.

James:
But in order to save the workers we don’t want to let the workers have in there no paid leave and we think about them. One thing is  we start making the masks and applying the N95 license in state. Now I see into this we can really put in the production .Maybe someone said  it’s too late for this and we are not reasonable to make some profit out of it but we try to help using the well equipped and qualified mask and deliver to all the medical people.  I think with  the reopen of the US and Europe in or even Africa or India wherever people will need masks in the family for sure.

Sandeep:
I think so because still is a huge shortage I can see but in coming future all the government will make it compulsory. It’s going to become a big need in the coming times.

James:
Yes , but the most important thing is that we need to make the more qualified ones.

Sandeep:
Of course that is very important and I have been seen masks made from denim made by different brands online  and that top very expensive.

James:
Personally , I think they are not very comfortable.

Sandeep:
It is something which is not certified and people are just making it for design purpose maybe.

James:
I took the insulation from the factory and put it in side the denim and trust me it is not at all comfortable.

Sandeep:
But maybe in the near future maybe if we are able to develop a  denim which can actually be used in face masks because if this mask is going to be there with us for at least one year one and half years when everybody’s wearing it so people would like to look different. Everybody’s not like to wear those white masks.

James:
Yes but it will be a fashion for winter , I don’t think it will be good for summer.

Sandeep:
So what are the major changes you’ve seen in terms of this crisis as you already in China in some ways are much ahead of us in this crisis . So you already see the consumers of course one thing is that they reduce the spending but so also have they changed the spending behavior? I mean looking for different kind of products even from what they are buying ? are they looking for different products for what they will look it before in China?

James:
Yes for the time being the people in China they are looking for more solutions and more basic things. I still come back it’s not that factually as before and turn the shop in might.

Sandeep:
Because people don’t want to look too fashionable now when there is so much of crisis going on they will it look simple.

James:
Yes, may be this is one of the reason.

Sandeep:
Probably will see that people we don’t like to look too flashy. In fact I was reading a report from 1918 Spanish flu and they seen thinking about their also that people after the crisis didn’t want to look too you know too fashionable because if looks odd in such times of crisis. If we take history , if you go back into history because these things have happened before and we should learn from them and  in terms of character of denim ? What do you think can be the changes in character of denim in next few months or next 1 year?

James:
First of all I see the antivirus is very popular.Not only Foizon but others are also making it. If we talking about the style you said a lot of thing will turn back to normal on textile then the fabric itself and before there’s a lot of spongy weave, heavy weight quality come back like that 80s. I think it will still keep going on and also this self army it’s very good for us clarify the antivirus finished on top so it may be the trend.

Also we need to get together and show that the customer again  in our business. I don’t think we can promote down farming by only through internet or any other channel. Touching the product itself is most important thing.

Sandeep:
Now ,people are ate home and they are looking for lounge wear , home wear and for softer fabric . So do you also feel that in denim also , we need to go for softer fabrics and the fabric which are more usable at home wear?

James:
This is a joke to me dear. Some of my friends in Europe called me and said Oh ! I never washed my jeans before and during this COVID , my mom took all my jeans for laundry and washed it up . So in future my jeans could become more softer and comfortable.So , it may be the direction. Better quality products going to the home wear.

Sandeep:
In terms of markets, I think probably for you also the major markets must be US, Europe and maybe Japan. So I mean these are the probably the biggest markets which are really buying the garments, so which of these you see you know restarting fastest ,restarting coming back earliest and you know getting on their feet ?

James:
According the situation now I think European market will turn out to be the first and also even the trend having once the designers we start working it will come first and then Japan.

Sandeep:
Okay and then may be US

James:
Yes, US might be less but it will be the slowest one to recover.

Sandeep:
Absolutely because it’s a much higher spread out there and generally speaking for the Chinese textile industry they have started coming back on its feet and they’re slowly starting, depending on the region where there are and they start actually to start the productions.

James:
Basically I think depends on the whole the situation for Chinese markets. The people are ready according to the figures. It is kept in various at best I think we can really come back to normal in full speed – all depends on the orders.

Sandeep:
One more important thing for the denim industry , sustainability , which is everybody have been still strongly promoting and everybody has been talking about. Do you think that will also undergo some kind of change ?

James:
Number one I say some of the news which is not strongly enough make disappear that is definitely happen and the second thing is for supply chain. I think there would be a dramatic change of the production location. Some of the country may lose their order during this crisis or maybe lost part of their there orders during the crisis and there  would be a lot of change.

Sandeep
But the retailers and brands still focus on sustainability, still they will focus on sustainability like days to do before or they will not ?

James:
No , I don’t think so.

Sandeep:
Why do you think so ?

James:
Number one a lot of countries they cannot recover as what we expected. They definitely will start moving around social all over wherever it is ready to come back to that area first that country first. So the cause of our training will be trade.

Sandeep:
First priority of retailers what we do you know is to  start the chain in any way they can and all this buzz words like sustainability  probably they might keep it on a back burner and not think about that so much till the time there are things to normal.

James
Of course.Once everything  would come back to normal but the coming 12 months I think that would be a lot change .

Sandeep
And of course because people have lost money, also the consumers they might shuttle in for some cheaper products some huge discounts coming up so that they can buy ?

James:
Yes or no, the thing is the cheapest one whoever cannot make use of it. Maybe they are going to be vanished during this COVID. It just so much anymore when we going to back to a better country or this better price or better quality maybe also in present then there is still need because of less options than before.

Sandeep
Any other positive things you think coming out of this situation?

James:
I don’t think you should ask this question to me because I am really a positive guy. I will only tell you yes I am very positive. We should be positive always. The COVID is going to change our life and habits but finally we can tackle it. Therefore , everybody should be positive.

Sandeep:
Do you want say anything to  our denim community and friend s here?

James:
Everybody , we need to work hard. Be positive as our business will come back and our health will come back.

Sandeep
That is great. Thank you James and it was wonderful speaking to you. Wish you all the best and I really hope we meet very soon.

James
Thank you Sandeep and see you soon.

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