Interview with Carlo Centonze, HeiQ Group: Th...
Interview with Carlo Centonze, HeiQ Group

The DNA for innovation in textiles

Carlo Centonze, Co-founder & CEO (Source: HeiQ)
Carlo Centonze, Co-founder & CEO (Source: HeiQ)

HeiQ and The Lycra Company, have entered into a broad-based collaboration across multiple technology and brand platforms to bring more innovative, quality-enhancing and sustainable textile technologies to consumers worldwide.

 What is the goal of the cooperation with The Lycra Company and how did it come about?
Our 2 companies share the same DNA: innovation in textiles that people use every day making them more comfortable, more functional. Building on discussions that started back in 2019, when both companies discovered our mutual respect and appreciation for one another’s complementary skillset and expertise, we felt that collaborating to bring more innovation to consumers was a good idea. We decided to share our strengths in textile science, commercial networks and global marketing to drive our innovation platforms into broad textile markets. Specifically, our 2 companies plan to develop consumer-branded sustainable innovations in the comfort, stretch, thermoregulation, freshness market spaces. HeiQ adds functionality to Lycra fibers and fabrics as we are specialists in functional textile finishes with tangible consumer benefits with validated consumer claims.

Will there be an added value for the industry as well as for the consumers?
The Lycra Company‘s expertise lies in fiber technologies, fabric performance certifications, and applied research, and over and above being considered the benchmark for consumer ingredient brand marketing, HeiQ has expertise in functionality like freshness and other finish-based performance attributes that are complementary and the result of this collaboration will mean great added value for the industry. Euromonitor 2020 consumer research revealed 2 trends: increased global demand for products with a hygiene benefit (e.g., antimicrobial) and the desire for more functionality. These definitely help drive consumer demand for innovations such as those created by HeiQ and The Lycra Company.

Can you already tell us about a first joint project?
The initial innovation platform will roll out in Fall 2021, and the focus will be on combining the stretch properties of Lycra fiber with HeiQ’s freshness benefits, which will be certified to perform with a new Lycra freshFX technology brand standard. Preparation for this innovation is already underway, with an initial focus on Chinese local value chains for the Chinese consumers, and the introduction is earmarked for late September 2021, and a presentation at the Intertextile show in Shanghai in October 2021.

Performance and sustainability – can both points be reconciled in the solutions your companies offer?
Innovation is key to addressing the challenge of making the textile and apparel industry more sustainable and we are convinced that solutions will arise from collaborations like ours as it’s too big of a challenge to tackle alone. Sustainability has been at the core of everything we do at HeiQ from the outset, and The Lycra Company has been committed to sustainability for a long time, with the launch of their Planet Agenda framework back in 2008, so I think we’ll be an important partner in support of many brands and retailers’ sustainability journeys.

What could a sustainable textile industry look like in future?
Brands and all key players of the textile industry are increasingly seeking innovative ways to reduce their environmental footprint; innovation will help them move forward in this direction. As an advanced technology company in specialty chemicals and industrial biotechnology we are convinced that bio-based molecules and probiotics will be part of the solution to save and preserve our planet for future generations. At HeiQ eco-sustainability, the development of eco-friendly products and the reduction of our negative impacts on the planet, is firmly anchored in the company purpose. It is part of the triple bottom line that we strive to maximize. Running a profitable business and improving the lives of billions by innovating their everyday life products are the other elements.

What will be the biggest challenges for the textile industry after the corona pandemic?
The pandemic has undoubtedly thrown a spanner in the works and given rise to many challenges both during and after. Our technologies are not static and are actually very versatile, and our priority and mission will always remain the same - innovating and differentiating towards improving people’s lives. With our recent acquisitions we are strengthening our technologies platform and building know-how and expertise to further our pursuit of said mission. A core objective for us is to bring sustainable, bio-based, durable technologies to the market. We take full ownership of our role as innovator and will do what it takes to contribute to make the textile value-chain more sustainable.

Lycra, freshFX = registered trademarks

The interview was conducted by Mechthild Maas, editor of TextileTechnology, with Carlo Centonze, Co-Founder and CEO of HeiQ Materials AG, Zurich/Switzerland.


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