Major textile manufacturers in Japan have been entering the field of clothing design and manufacturing, aiming to increase profitability through business expansion by supplying products to general merchandisers and boutiques, where they are sold under private labels. In mid-June, Osaka-based Teijin Frontier held a spring/summer fashion preview for retailers, where a wide range of products, including women’s casual wear and men’s suits, were on display. In addition to showing off fabrics with deodorant, cooling, stretch and other features, the company highlighted the cutting-edge technologies used to make their products, such as a special fibre that gives garments a unique texture.
Toray Industries embarked on full-fledged manufacturing of finished apparel around 2006 and became a textile industry pioneer for its entry into a downstream business. The expansion trend among major textile makers has been partly inspired by Uniqlo’s business model. Uniqlo has grown into a self-styled manufacturing retailer, handling all aspects of production from planning to manufacturing and selling. Meanwhile the company has avoided price competition by launching products with innovative features such as heat-tech, a line of heat-generating underwear.
With Unitika considering producing kids’ clothes and Daiwabo Holdings eyeing the casual wear market, textile makers are expected to continue making waves in the apparel business.