The Covid-19 pandemic is set to give a shot in the arm for the textile players of the country. Fabric makers are seen lining up special fabric category under ‘anti-viral technology’ to ride on the consumer sentiment against viral infections.

One of the oldest and prominent players in textile sector Donear Group has announced launching antimicrobial fabric for consumers, in a range of its polyester, viscose varieties of fabrics in the menswear womenswear categories.

Donear Group is expected to hit the markets with these anti-viral fabrics by June 25 using NeoTech technology, which claims to provide a shield against bacteria and viruses.

Tie-up with Swiss firm

Speaking to BusinessLine , Rajendra Agarwal, Managing Director, Donear Industries Limited, informed that the company has tied up with Swiss player HeiQ Viroblock -NPJ03- for the technology, which uses a special chemical treatment on the fabric at the time of the manufacturing.

“We are already engaged in this segment of anti-viral fabrics and supplying medical scrubs for nurses in the US. Till now, these fabrics were used for special requirements by police, defence and medical departments under risky conditions. But now even common man is under risk due to Covid-19 pandemic. Therefore, we expect a good momentum in demand for this fabric and soon it will find a place in any wardrobe very soon,” said Agarwal, adding that people visiting public places, hospitals, transport etc would prefer wearing such clothing to avoid a further spread of the virus to other surfaces from their clothing.

Agarwal expects the segment to achieve a turnover of ₹150-200 crore in the next nine months of the fiscal. “Barring the first three months of the fiscal under lockdown, if we consider our group turnover to be around ₹1,000 crore, we expect to generate ₹150-200 crore business from anti-viral fabric technology,” he said.

Recently, textile major Arvind Limited had added anti-viral cotton fabric and garment products to its portfolio. Earlier Ahmedabad-based Nandan Denim had also announced a new range of anti-viral and anti-bacterial treated fabrics in the backdrop of the Covid-19 outbreak claiming to provide a protection against the coronavirus.

Donear has tested the ground by taking feedback from its top 50 retailers having mid to large volumes. “They are very optimistic about this product. Customers have started asking for a safe and protective fabric for their garments,” said Agarwal. “The chemical used for coating on the fabric is very costly and makes the fabric expensive by about 15-20 per cent, which is reasonable when it comes to the safety,” he added.

Outlook for the industry

On the outlook for the textile and fabric industry, Agarwal stated there is a likelihood of a 25 per cent dip in the overall textile demand. But new avenues like this will fulfil that gap, he said, adding that next three months are crucial, after which a normalcy in consumption may start returning.

Diwali festivities appear promising as there is a lot of pent-up demand and delayed marriages. “But that is possible provided we see Covid-19 slowing down post July.”