Mpdclick’s partner brand Denimhead spoke to Anthony Carnot, director denim design and marketing for Arvind Design Lab in New York City. Arvind Limited is one of the largest denim producers in the world. The company started in 1931 and has been producing for the denim market for over 40 years. Until this day, the denim mills continue to be based in Ahmedabad, India.
The company’s on-going success was recently confirmed by signing a deal with Italian fashion denim maker Sixty Group to deliver super premium denim to the Indian market. Arvind owns lower tier denim brands Flying Machine, RUF & Tuf and New port and is also the authorized reseller for Lee and Wrangler. Sixty group is one of the most famous denim brands from Europe and it is behind names like Energie, Miss Sixty, Killah, Refregiwear, Murphy & Nye, Richlu and Baracuta.
Denimhead: What makes Arvind different from the competition?
Anthony Carnot: What is unique about Arvind is that we offer Japanese denim standards at low, affordable prices. Arvind started as a basic company, offering basic product. We are now premium and are also proud to have our own organic cotton facility. When a customer looks at our product, they are looking at high-quality product at reasonable prices.
DH: What is currently on trend?
AC: We are definitely seeing interest in cleaner looks, darker shades with no major washes. However, even though premium denim is moving towards a cleaner look, the mass market is still demanding washed and distressed denim.
DH: How big is the organic aspect of your business?
AC: It is huge for us right now. Walmart has been buying all of our organic products and it is doing really well for them.
DH: Where do you draw inspiration from?
AC: Japan has always been a major inspiration for me. The Japanese love denim, the way it is supposed to be, in its most authentic form. Since I develop all colors and washes, I always look to vintage for ideas. I buy a lot of samples to look at.
DH: What’s new in Japan?
AC: The Japanese denim hasn’t changed in years. They are still interested in the worn-out look, the pair that you have had forever and never wash.
DH: Who are your biggest clients?
AC: In the US we work with Silver Jeans, Gap, Gap Kids, Kohl’s, Talbots and a number of other premium brands. Ralph Lauren is a very big client also. Globally we have worked with brands like Lee, Wrangler, Nautica, Jansport, Kipling, Tommy, Arrow, US Polo, Izod, Pierre Cardin, Palm Beach, Cherokee.
DH: Denim embellishments have been a major styling direction within the past few seasons, does Arvind execute embellishments of any kind?
AC: We can do it but we are purists and strive to deliver clean, original denim so we stay away from it. If anything, we focus on detailing such as exaggerated stitching and pocket designs.
DH: Do you produce lightweight denim and chambrays?
AC: We do chambrays and twills but it is all done in a different office in a different area, under the shirting department. As far as lightweight, we do light denim and have been known for doing an array of naturally-colored fills. Instead of the predictable white fills, we can do any natural color yarn, so the more you wash it, the older it looks . We can also do black.
DH: What do you think the denim market holds for the future?
AC: After we reached a peak, retailers started to suffer but denim will only get stronger. There are so many styles to be explored, like shorts for example. I definitely see potential and growth for the denim market.
DH: What are the strong trends and looks for spring/summer 2010?
AC: Not white. Everyone always talks about white but white only sells in very small quantities. We are offering a dirty, natural selvage denim that gives the white look more authenticity.
DH: What is next for Arvind?
AC: We are really excited to present together with our European team at Premiere Vision in Paris next season. The European team works independently like we do, so this is the first time that we going to present both the US and European lines together. Also, the US product has never before been offered in Europe.