The truth is out. Working in the textile industry is a never ending challenge. Customers require perfect quality, speedy delivery, and instant problem solving. The challenge gets even more complex when there is white lingerie involved. Think about the fragility of the lace, the moulding of the bra cups, and the many external factors that meddle with the brightness of the fabric. How do textile manufacturers do it? We asked two of our clients to reveal their secret.
On top of your game
Before we head on to solutions, secret weapons and success stories, let us talk about the problems first. What are the main issues that arise when producing white lingerie? In order to find out, we simply asked our clients. One of them was Herr Ritter, technical director of German textile manufacturer JACKL. They produce fabrics for, among other things, medical bandages and lingerie for the high-end market segment.
As Herr Ritter points out, today’s textile manufacturers deal with high standards of both the direct customer and the end-user. “We work for Triumph, market leader in lingerie and shapewear,” he explains. “When they place an order, they usually add a ten-page document with requirements.” And they simply have to, as they in turn face the expectations of their own customers. In the high-end segment, there is no such thing as medium quality. Herr Ritter: “You have to be on top of your game, if you want to stay in business.”
Being on top of your game, what does that look like in the textile industry? “It is all about constant improvement,” says the plant manager of a textile dye house in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. “In the case of white lingerie, for example, one of the most important quality parameters is the brightness of the fabric. There are one hundred shades of white, if not more. As you cannot control all the factors that influence the hue of your products, you need a carefully selected product that keeps your fabrics white no matter what.” Easier said than done. Every fabric type needs different treatment, meaning the exact composition of your solutions differs per product. “We also have to comply with European legislation in terms of ecological standards,” adds Herr Ritter. “In Asia, quality is all that matters. In Europe, however, products should be both top-shelf and sustainable.” Hence, there is no way you can standardize your treating methods. Clearly, in the textile industry, there is no leaning back.
When asked about their success formula, our clients came up with the same answer. “Know-how. That’s what makes the difference between success and failure,” says the plant manager of the dye house in North Rhine-Westphalia. This is not surprising, as the end result may be all about fashion and aesthetics; the process itself revolves around science. “We exclusively work on a trial-and-error basis,” adds Herr Ritter from JACKL. “We closely collaborate with partners so we come up with the very best solution. We carefully test all of our products using multiple parameters. This means we are never really done. We are in a constant process of development and improvement, so we know the customer will not find better -or brighter- products elsewhere.” The plant manager of the dye house in North Rhine-Westphalia shares his opinion. “Developing the right solution takes time and expertise. We have been working on ours for years now, and we keep on reviewing our production process, the fabrics we work with, and the products we use.”
Know-how it is. But how do you get there in a sector where competition is always right behind you and copy cats monitor every step you take? You partner up. So this is where we come in. “We’ve been working with Tanatex for quite some years now and we’ve built a strong relationship of confidence,” Herr Ritter says. “The fact that they have their own lab is a huge advantage, as we get to test every single piece of fabric that comes into the plant.” The plant manager of the dye house in North Rhine-Westphalia adds: “Over the years, we have developed a true alliance with Tanatex, which works for both parties. We have one contact person that we know and trust, and we include him in our decision making process and he is the one we call in case of technical problems. Because of our close collaboration, Tanatex is able to improve their services and products, so we keep on improving together.” Herr Ritter agrees. “We appreciate the physical meetings we have with Tanatex. Problems with, for instance, machinery can only be tackled through live communication. We wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Working on white lingerie in a highly competitive market segment is far from easy. With the right expertise, however, you have the power to create top quality products. When you ask our clients, know-how and partnerships are two absolute must-haves if you want to keep on improving. Especially in the case of extreme whiteness, this process never stops. When you have the right partner, access to the right expertise and testing facilities, you stand in chance in the war against yellowing, and you might even get beyond triple 4 quality.
Just say the word!
That was a lot of information to process, we reckon. But if you want to tackle all of the factors that influance the whiteness of your fabrics, you need to have a tailored recipe. Do you want to discover yours? Just say the word!