How does Weaving Vibes stand out from the competition?
In one sentence – Weaving Vibes (WV) is your one-stop manufacturer for all your sustainable fabric needs.
WV is a made-to-order premium woven manufacturing brand which has its own weaving unit with an in-house capacity of 300,000 metres of sustainable fabric per month. WV is dedicated and focused towards working with brands to bring forth new developments and innovations in fabric. We have already manufactured 45+ varieties of hemp fabric in 90-320 gsm in various blends.
Our strategy is very simple – give the client what he wants. Having our own weaving plant with state-of-the-art machines coupled with a highly skilled designing team and a dedicated workforce, helps us in quick overall production, offering competitive rates and flexibility to manufacture as client requires.
What made you choose fibres like hemp and bamboo? Are you exploring other niche fibres too?
Why Hemp? Because at the rate we are going, soon hemp won’t be a choice but the only option. See, you have to understand the environmental impact of the garments we use. Hemp, compared to other crops, needs one third the amount of water to grow, it enriches the soil it grows on, sans pesticides and harmful chemicals, the strongest natural fibre, has inherent anti-microbial and UV resistant properties, it’s mold and milddew resistant, the fabric gets softer and stronger with every wash, hemp adapts to weather easily and keeps you warm in winters and cool in summers, these are some of the reasons to choose hemp.
Water is a precious and scarce resource, the textile industry is one of the most water-intensive industries in the world. So, hemp based textiles are a necessity today.
So when I joined my family business in 2015, we were manufacturing premium woven fabrics like 100% cotton, PC , PV, etc. In 2018, I read and heard a lot about textile waste, and the amount of pollution it causes, the amount of water needed to manufacture and bring to life a garment. So I thought to myself that there has to be a better, sustainable and eco-friendly fabric.
In 2019, while on my research for a more sustainable fabric, I discovered hemp fabric. The nature, attributes and properties of the fabric boggled my mind and gave me the idea to create our own Indian woven hemp fabrics.
It took some time and a lot of R&D and money to understand how best to manufacture the fabric, with active guidance from my father. Once we got all the proceces and certifications in place, it was the right time to launch Weaving Vibes. Once you enter the world of sustainability, the possibilities are endless. Yes, we are exploring other fibres such as banana, soya, orange, aloe vera, lotus, rose, etc.
What does sustainability mean to you?
Sustainability to me means maximise utilization with minimal wastage with least impact to the environment – for everything and anything. Whatever we buy/consume should be utilised to its potential with minimal harm/damage at the time of disposal.
Bhiwandi as a powerloom cluster has certain notions attached to it – low quality, absence of professionalism, sustainable practices are in short supply – how do you break this barrier?
Confidence and fair play. The only way to break this barrier is to build confidence in your suppliers and buyers. Now the markets are international, and everyone is aware about quality standards and professionalism, and its effects. So in today’s world if you want to be a part of the market, you have adhere to sustainable and global practices.
Tell us about the important principles that Weaving Vibes has been built on and thrives on?
One of our main principles is – Never Compromise on Quality. Our goodwill in the market stands on the quality of fabric we manufacture. Even when it’s sourcing fibre/yarn, for us it’s quality over price.
Quality of the fabric can also and should be judged overtime – the garment you wear after your n’th time will tell you the story of the fabric. Hemp fabric is so unique as it gets softer and stronger with every wash. So when you wear your hemp fabric dress/shirt after say your 21st wash compared to when you got it, it will give you confidence in the garment.
Weaving Vibes is a brand that was launched just before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, which was not a great time to launch a new line of fabrics, but we still survived and rather thrived because of the principle and practices we follow at Karishma Exports, the parent company. Karishma Exports has been in the business of manufacturing woven fabrics since 1988 and has seen, weathered and conquered many ups and downs, and gained tremendous knowledge about the trade and foundation of business on which Weaving Vibes has been built on.
Tell us about some unique business, HR and production practices that you follow?
Since Weaving Vibes was born just before the pandemic, it was tough as our workers had all returned back to their villages in March 2020. Production had almost come to a standstill, looms were stopped, and no one could travel. That’s when our mentor (Mr Shridhar Jagirdar) along with the team came up with an idea to manufacture 100% hemp masks, and house all employees and labour in-house. We provided transportation to the workers from their villages back to our premises, where we arranged for housing and food for them. And by May 2020, with government permissions, we started production again. We still have a majority of employees staying around the factory and have got 90% of our employees Covid-19 vaccinated.
We also have a strict policy of No Waste. There is no metre of fabric or a kg of yarn that gets wasted as it is all upcycled and converted into final products (e.g. cushions, bedspreads, apparels, decorations etc) by SHM Designs Pvt Ltd that we have a collaboration with for all fabric/yarn waste.
What’s new at Weaving Vibes – in terms of products, services, capacity expansions?
We are getting into many collaborations with upcoming designers, labels, and small boutiques who are experimenting with sustainable fabrics, and require small lot quantities only. We have enhanced our reach to such designers as they are unable to get small quantity fabrics straight from manufacturer at a great rate. We at Weaving Vibes are encouraging young startups to use hemp fabrics not only in apparels, but also in home furnishings, shoes, luggage, and many other items. The possibilities are endless.
Currently our capacity is to manufacture 300,000 meters of Hemp fabric in 58 inches width per month in-house, and expansion plans are scheduled for 2024.
In services, we offer various finishes on our fabrics such as fabric dyeing (azo free dyes and according to your Pantone shade), water resistant treatment, anti-bacterial treatment, wrinkle-free treatment, anti-viral treatment and so on. We also consult startups on which fabric is best suited for their products. We offer garmenting and dyeing such as tie-dye and digital printing on fabric.
You have a strong focus on design and innovation. Tell us about some unique, innovative products that you have introduced.
We launched Weaving Vibes with the main focus on manufacturing innovative fabrics. We started with 100% hemp fabrics ranging from 90 gsm sheer fabrics till 320 gsm canvas fabrics and then diversified into blends such as hemp/cotton, hemp/ bamboo, hemp/Rpet (recycled polyester), hemp/Tencel, hemp/ banana, and there are 40 more such blends.
The unique thing about Weaving Vibes is that the client is totally free to choose his own blend, gsm and weave. You can choose a hemp/bamboo/ banana /cotton blended fabric in 180 gsm twill weave to make beautiful pants. You can choose your gsm from 90 to 320. You can choose your weaves from plain weave, twill weave, Oxford weave, sateen weave, herringbone weave to any dobby weave you want to customise too. The UPS of the brand is customisation of fabric. Everyone wants something unique and different and that’s what we deliver.
How did the lockdowns impact your business, and your strategy for emerging stronger?
The lockdown had a major impact on our business as we had just started prior. Shifting to digital marketing and online exhibitions kept us afloat. We launched our website in November 2020 where you can purchase your fabric from, which gave us a boost in sales. The lockdown actually gave birth to many sustainable garment brands since it gave people a lot of time to think and develop, which kept us going too. So it was bad but not all that bad. The Euporean market started placing orders by November 2020, and now in June, even the local demand in India for hemp is rising.
According to you, how will the markets pan out in 2021 and 2022?
Currently, the market for sustainable products, specially hemp is on the rise globally. By 2022, I think things will be back to normal, demand will pick up further. We see big brands using sustainable fabrics for their products, I expect that brands will have at least 30-40% of their collections in sustainable fabrics.
And I have to reemphasize the importance of hemp textiles for the environment. I expect that more hemp will be grown across the world in the coming years.
We’ve been hearing for more than two decades that weaving is the weak link in the textile industry. Your take on this.
I wouldn’t say weaving is a weak link, I would say weaving is a financially intensive link, which is why it would seem like a weak link. You see, we weavers, buy yarn/fibre at 100% advance payment, we sell fabric traditionally at 45-60 days credit. And the profit margins are in single digits, so we are always stressed financially.
In the local markets it’s worse, payments get delayed by over 120 days and there’s nothing you can do about it. And capital wise, weaving needs a lot of capital if you are setting up a certified factory establishment with global working standards and ethics.
But the reason Weaving Vibes is there is solely to provide fabrics that have the lowest carbon footprint. WV believes currently is not a time to run for profits but to bring realisation through weaves and fabrics about how there is a way we can proudly wear garments with a conscience.