Business & Policy | Expert Interview | Sustainability

Gokul Tex Prints: Revolutionizing the Textile Industry through Innovation and Sustainability

Published: August 9, 2023
Author: Fashion Value Chain

Summary:

In an exclusive interview with Mr. Subhash Dhavan, Founder of Gokul Tex Prints, Textile Value Chain explores the remarkable journey of Gokul Tex Prints in the textile industry. Starting as a wholesale business in Hazaribagh, the company expanded its operations to Surat, India’s innovative textile market. Over the years, Gokul Tex Prints introduced natural fabrics and collaborated with industry giants like Asahi Kasei and Aditya Birla group, promoting sustainability and innovation. By adopting sustainable manufacturing processes, leveraging market trends, and actively exploring global markets, Gokul Tex Prints has emerged as a leader in the textile industry.

Can you tell us about your journey?

I was born in Hazaribagh, Jharkhand, from 1954 my family was in the textile business, and in 1975 I started a new wholesale business in Hazaribagh. I choose textile because it is a good industry. In 1978, I traveled across all Textile markets in India. Each state has its own unique textile industry. After wandering around, I found Surat as an innovative market with forward thinking. So, in 1993, we opened a purchasing office here. In 2000 we started our own trading and manufacturing unit here.

When we entered the market, the Surat market was synonymous with synthetic. I was visiting Surat in 1975, so I knew the potential of Surat from all angles. In 1975, there were only four varieties of fabric, nylon and somewhat viscose. From ’75-’80 we were using only that for dying and printing. In 1985, another 5-10 varieties of fabric were introduced. The 80s saw the rise of polyester in terms of quality reaching 40-50 varieties of fabric in a decade. In 2000, I thought of utilizing Surat’s market potential by doing something new. So, we started varieties of natural fabrics. Initially, we faced some challenges in weaving due to the difference in the strengths of polyester and natural yarns. To sort out that it took us one year to bring natural fabric weaving on the loom. After that, we faced problems with dyeing and printing as it was not a norm in the market at that time. When we solved that problem, we faced some trouble at the marketing step as at that time there was no company in Surat to whom we can market.

So, we started a retail store chain called F Studio in 2002. Then we started to send our fabric to boutiques to know their opinion. After their feedback, we improved our products over time. In 2004, we became a development partner with Birla Cellulose, and in 2005-6 we became partners with Asahi Kasei. After that, our retail chain gained traction as a lot of designers were using it.

Then we started another mission called D Designer from 2006-2016, where Birla, Us, and Radio Mirchi ran a program, inviting fashion designers from all over the country. We would sort out around 4000 profiles to select 2000 and would give them 2-2 meters of fabric each, after their initial tasks we would sort it out more to keep only 10 finalists. Then we would give them 100-100 meters of fabric and do a fashion show with them.

We promoted natural fabrics throughout India with initiatives like this. When we entered this market there was not a single kg use of modal fabric, but now there is usage of around 1000 tons of fabric. Birla Cellulose grew its production 4 times. Century also doubled its production. This cause a scarcity of yarn in India which invited foreign countries such as China and Germany. Surat today produced around 10 crore meters of fabric monthly.

Can you tell us more about your collaboration with Asahi Kasei and the Aditya Birla group?

Aditya Birla group is our partner for the last 10 years, we did a lot of D Designer events with them. They saw a lot of potential for the natural fabric industry that’s why they also introduced Liva also. Asahi Kasei also supported us and did partnerships in 5 cities, including Surat, Kolkata, and Delhi.

How you prepared your manufacturing process for sustainable production?

Firstly, we removed the chemical dyeing and switched to pigment dyeing as it saves a lot of water. When we started digital printing in 2005, it took 25% more water than traditional printing. But now as we are using pigment dyeing, we are saving 100% water consumption.

We start with yarn procuring, then we weave it in fabrics, then we start the process of dyeing and printing, and sometimes embroidery also. And as per the regional sales, we process the orders. We tied up with major brands, garments units, and exporters who source from us.

How do you keep track of new innovations and market trends?

When we started, there were only four varieties in the entire Surat, right now we make 10 varieties on our own monthly. The market demands constant innovation, that’s why we have a team of 40 textile designers for developing new designs and product lines.

We analyze the market trends and plan accordingly our future products. We study the material qualities of yarns and choose the best raw material available to keep our quality at market standard.

How do you market your products?

We do all kinds of products such as weaving, printing such as block print, hand printing, etc. even though it weakens our balance sheet because we get to innovate and do new things. We do 6-8 processes in-house and we sell wholesale and retail also.

In India, any textile division is in trouble right now as earlier production was done on power-loom which was less compared to today’s production on air-jet looms, which has caused higher supply and low demand in markets. So, when we did awareness in India it increased the demand for our products in the natural fabric category.

We are now targeting the global market as natural fabrics are in demand overseas. Earlier Indian companies were not making export-quality fabrics due to the absence of technology but now all are capable to manufacture the export quality and quantity. We are also expanding in dyeing and printing with new mills and technology.

We met with the textile secretary and talked to them about globalization in the textile industry. We asked them for a designer hub, a skilled labor institute, and Support in foreign markets to study the market and culture. Keeping the markets in mind, we are doing two exhibitions in Dubai and Bangladesh to promote our products.

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