Swatch Warehouse: Liztex
Located in the heart of Guatemala, Liztex couldn’t be farther from the west coast of France, but by using Laroche machines, the Central American textile mill is putting an end to garment waste. Today, Laroche machines carry out the automatic removal of foreign parts on clothing, buttons, zips and metallic hardware, preparing the clothes to be used again. Such revolutionary recycling capabilities have gone to the far corners of the earth.
“Liztex is a vertically integrated woven factory,” explains Christian Ausburg, head of client relations at Liztex, when asked about Liztex’s holistic operations.“Our product catalogue is very big. That way we are able to accommodate most of our client needs.”
Liztex has been coined the ‘supermarket of textiles’, particularly by those who do business with the fabric giant regularly. And like Laroche, Liztex has a rich history.
In 1956, Alberto Habie Mishaan and Jose Habie first established what is now Liztex. The father-son duo bought and sold fabrics for several years before buying looms of their own, making material from Salvadoran yarns.
By 1973, the pair started exporting textiles to the US. Some forty years on, Liztex now employs 2,500 locals. And houses some of the best machinery.
It’s hard to ignore the production scope. The mill has four systems for spinning yarn (open end, spindles and compact) with air jet models being installed, and manufactures cotton, polyester, linen, lenzing viscose, modal and tencel.
From the Amatitlan factory, Liztex produces over 2.5 million yards of woven and knit fabric per month, which equates to 3.5 million kilograms - made up of woven textiles mostly. Its major end products are yarn dye shirting, bottom weight twills, indigos denim, corduroy, and cotton poplin, and sells one third of its production to the local market.
Such high production levels see Liztex as a mill of incredible influence. And with such quantity, comes responsibility and accountability for how it chooses to manufacture its fabrics.
Liztex uses the Laroche Starcut 500 recycler - a huge khaki-coloured machine. The standard model boasts a rotary cutter with a cutting head, which holds four flying knives. A feeding conveyor rolls out of the machine for easy access. This is where Liztex inserts old clothes to be broken down.
“We get scraps and we put it into the Starcut,” explains Ausburg. “Then, the machine tears the scraps apart and turns them into fiber.” The Starcut produces four veils of fiber per hour, he adds. “This fiber is then used in our product in order to use the most sustainably-grown cotton where possible.”
A large part of Liztex recycled production is indigo fabrics, which eventually form denim jackets, shirting and jeans for men and women.
Liztex exports nearly two thirds of its fabrics to North America and Europe. Some of the fashion brands currently working with Liztex are PVH, Express, Kohls, JC Penney and Lucky brand.