致勝之道

[Vision for Sustainability] Manufacturing Apparels the “Epic” Way – Interview with the Epic Group’s Group CEO, Gilles Fries

Manufacturing Apparels the “Epic” Way

The fashion gurus among us relish in catching up with the latest trends. With virtually unlimited brands to choose from in this online shopping era, even the most discerning customers may indulge in a shopping spree occasionally. Going against the current is the Epic Group, a global apparel manufacturer, steadfast in its approach of producing only high-quality, and durable clothing items. The organization promulgates the idea that only by integrating sustainability best practices, could greater values be delivered to stakeholders.

Whether you are a hoodie-clad novice or a sophisticated fashionista, on thing in common is that we seldom dwell on the origins of our apparel, and even less so do we consider the implications of our shopping habits. Fast fashion trends have caused seismic shifts in the industry, straying consumers away from the pursuit of durable and premium-grade clothing products.

The Epic Group recently settles into its newly renovated office in Hong Kong.

 

As a specialized manufacturer, the Epic Group’s product mix consists of 60% bottom and 40% top.

Hong Kong-based, Global-facing

The Epic Group is deeply rooted in Hong Kong and has witnessed the city attaining worldwide acclaim as Asia’s garment capital. The company’s success is attested by its extensive reach and high production volume, shipping to over 47 countries, and manufacturing about 90 million garments per annum for all demographics. While the group primarily exports to the United States, it is also actively exploring opportunities in Europe and the rapidly growing the Asia market. Helmed by Chairman Ranjan Mahtani, the organization recently welcomed Gilles Fries as the Group’s CEO, who is a veteran in the manufacturing field with over three decades’ worth of experience in retail, buying, and worldwide sourcing. The company adopts a winning formula by taking the best from every continent, combining the design talents in New York, London, and Hong Kong, with state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in Bangladesh, Vietnam, Ethiopia, and Jordan.

The company’s spacious showroom showcases hundreds of apparel samples made partnering with the world’s top premium brands.

Meticulously Manufactured, Quality Assured

“We serve the mass market, and there is pride in it. This pride stems from the high-quality products that we are making.” Gilles says. The group garners respect by giving its undivided attention to every piece of clothing it manufactures. Lately, the company sees a surge in demand for stretchable and lighter fabrics, as people seek a more active lifestyle, and as more young professionals are getting accustomed to working from home due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Since its inception, the group has meticulously refined its manufacturing processes, in addition to offering comprehensive staff training to ensure consistency. Through years of experience, the group has acquired a profound understanding of the customers’ needs. “We are very familiar with our customers’ DNA, and that of their own consumers as well.” Gilles states. “Nowadays, purchasers and retail customers alike expect any clothing item, even those which may cost a few dollars to be of great quality, and also for them to be extremely durable. Consumers continue to expect more, but we are always ready to deliver.”

The Epic Group emphasizes on planning for the future and maintaining a happy workforce.

Sustainability as a Necessity

To the Epic Group, sustainability and regulatory compliance are enablers, rather than obstacles or problems to be confronted. “The Epic Group has a two-pronged strategy towards sustainability, at the production level, and at the product level,” Gilles explains. “The group is conscious about its environmental footprint, as seen in the prevalent use of renewable energy sources in our manufacturing facilities, which includes installing solar panels, as well as just recently, forming a strategic partnership with Arvind Envisol to optimize our wastewater treatment procedures. At the product level, some of the most noticeable initiatives to retail customers may include the use of ‘Better Cotton Initiative’ (BCI) certified fabrics, as well as recyclable polyesters.” Last year, the Epic Group has also entered into a partnership with Elevate, incorporating data analytics technology to analyze sustainability and compliance data, thus more effectively reaching sustainability goals on a global scale.

Gilles reflects on his years of experience in the industry and states that being transparent, straight-forward, and not chiding away from challenges are the keys to success.

“The values of integrity, loyalty, are the cornerstone of the company’s success,” Gilles reflects. “Having a clear vision for the future is also very important to us. This is a vision that all our associates share with the chairman, Mr. Mahtani. Such a vision provides a clear direction for us to work towards sustainability and compliance.” Employing nearly 25,000 workers worldwide, the group considers their employees to be their greatest strength and assets and has a dedicated compliance team to ensure that not only are regulatory expectations are met but that the employees and other stakeholders can flourish alongside the company.

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