Hyosung TNC is investing 60 billion won ($52.9 million) to expand the capacity of its spandex plant in Turkey in response to rising demand for comfortable clothing caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The investment would expand the Turkey plant’s annual capacity from 25,000 tons a year to 40,000 tons. Construction is due to be completed next July, the company said Monday.
Located in the town of Cerkezkoy, 100 kilometers (62 miles) west of Istanbul, the plant is the company’s only spandex factory in Europe. Hyosung TNC has spandex factories in Korea, China, Vietnam and India.
The textile affiliate of the Hyosung chemical group has been a world leader in spandex production since 2010. It currently has a global market share of around 30 percent.
Hyosung Group Chairman Cho Hyun-joon has said the company should pre-emptively respond to signs of recovery in global apparel demand, and European markets are in the lead.
While the global fashion market has been badly affected by the coronavirus, so-called comfort wear has gained popularity as more people stayed at home. Athleisure is another term in the industry, which refers to clothes worn during athletic activities and around the house, such as yoga pants. Spandex is one of the most widely used textiles for these kinds of clothing.
The coronavirus has caused many textile suppliers to stop production to protect their workers, the company said, causing problems for customers. Apparel manufacturers in Europe were forced to cut their own production or delay new products.
“Turkey is the production center for European clients,” said Cho in a Monday press release. “It should be our starting point to strengthen our footprint in Europe’s premium [textile] market and expand the gap with our competitors to become an invincible global No. 1.”
Even before the pandemic, spandex was seeing increasing demand in the textile world, Hyosung says, with the rise of the athleisure trend, epitomized in the success of brands like Lululemon and Under Armour.
Premium fashion brands are mixing spandex with other materials for clothes other than “activewear,” a Hyosung spokesman said. Europe is where many premium fashion brands are located.
According to research firm Business Wire, global spandex demand is growing at a yearly average of 6 to 7 percent, which is double the average for the entire textile market, which is 2 to 3 percent.