The year 1930 was when the world suffered the great depression. Companies across the globe began closing down. In UK and in India, the textile industry in particular was in trouble. At about this time, Mahatma Gandhi championed the Swadeshi Movement and at his call, people from all across India began boycotting fine and superfine fabrics, which had so far been imported from England. In the midst of this depression one family saw opportunity. The Lalbhais reasoned that the demand for fine and superfine fabrics still existed. And any Indian company that met this demand would surely prosper. The three brothers, Kasturbhai, Narottambhai and Chimanbhai, decided to set up a mill to produce superfine fabric. Next they looked around for state-of-the-art machinery that could produce such high quality fabric. Their search ended in England. The best technology of that time was acquired at a most attractive price. And a company called Arvind Limited was born.
Arvind Limited started with a share capital of Rs 2,525,000 ($55,000) in the year 1931. With the aim of manufacturing the high-end superfine fabrics Arvind invested in very sophisticated technology. With 52,560 ring spindles, 2552 doubling spindles and 1122 looms it was one of the few companies in those days to start along with spinning and weaving facilities in addition to full-fledged facilities for dyeing, bleaching, finishing and mercerizing. The sales in the year 1934, three years after establishment were Rs 45.76 lakh and profits were Rs 2.82 lakh. Steadily producing high quality fabrics, year after year, Arvind took its place amongst the foremost textile units in the country.
In the mid 1980’s the textile industry faced another major crisis. With the power loom churning out vast quantities of inexpensive fabric, many large composite mills lost their markets, and were on the verge of closure. Yet that period saw Arvind at its highest level of profitability. There could be no better time, concluded the Management, for a rethink on strategy. The Arvind management coined a new word for it new strategy – Reno vision. It simply meant a new way of looking at issues, of seeing more than the obvious and that became the corporate philosophy.
The national focus paved way for international focus and Arvind’s markets shifted from domestic to global, a market that expected and accepted only quality goods. An in-depth analysis of the world textile market proved an eye opener. People the world over were shifting from synthetic to natural fabrics. Cottons were the largest growing segments. But where conventional wisdom pointed to popular priced segments, Reno vision pointed to high quality premium niches. Thus in 1987-88 Arvind entered the export market for two sections -Denim for leisure & fashion wear and high quality fabric for cotton shirting and trousers. By 1991 Arvind reached 1600 million meters of Denim per year and it was the third largest producer of Denim in the world.
In 1997 Arvind set up a state-of-the-art shirting, gabardine and knits facility, the largest of its kind in India, at Santej. With Arvind’s concern for environment a most modern effluent treatment facility with zero effluent discharge capability was also established.
Year 2005 was a watershed year for textiles. With the muliti-fiber agreement getting phased out and the disbanding of quotas, international textile trade was poised for a quantum leap. In the domestic market too, the rationalizing of the cenvat chain and the growth of the organized retail industry was likely to make textiles and apparel see an explosive growth.
Arvind has carved out an aggressive strategy to verticalize its current operations by setting up world-scale garment facilities and offering a one-stop shop service, by offering garment packages to its international and domestic customers. With Lee, Wrangler, Arrow and Tommy Hilfiger and its own domestic brands of Flying Machine, Newport, Excalibur and Ruf & Tuf, Arvind set its vision of becoming the largest apparel brands company in India.