10 April 2008
Captivating Chic(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 04,2008)
Apparel & Fashion Accessories
Unusual and stunning best describe this season's apparel and fashion accessories
Eye-catching distinctive designs are gaining popularity in the global apparel and fashion accessories market, and Asian suppliers are responding with unusual and innovative examples.
Certainly this is the case with Belcris Int'l Fashion Accessories, which uses wood, coconut shells, fibre and other natural raw materials from the Philippines to create jewellery that appeals to women in Spain, Italy and other parts of Europe.
"We regularly update our products with new designs to reflect the latest trends," says Manager Isabel Yu, pointing out that among Belcris' new jewellery lines are the Wood Geometric Collection and the Out of Africa Collection.
"In the Wood Geometric Collection, almost everything has a natural wood element, combined with shells and leather necklines," elaborates Designer Eldie Navarce.
The collection consists of more than 50 pieces, including fashion necklaces that feature rectangular wooden components, some in light tones and others darker. One model has small wooden beads for added variety.
Another necklace has wood and shell pieces of different shapes - such as round, oval and square - strung vertically to form an elongated pendant.
"We avoid using just one shape in a design because it would look monotonous," says Mr Navarce. "Round, rectangular, elongated and triangular shapes must accentuate each other."
The Out of Africa Collection, on the other hand, has a strong "ethnic flavour" with feathers and dyed wood. Some fashion necklaces in the series feature grey-blue tie-dyed feathers, painted wooden pieces and shell elements. One model is predominantly brown in colour, with wooden discs, metallic finish and leather string.
"We enriched some ethnic combinations by adding rhinestones and resin," Mr Navarce advises, noting that unit prices for the firm's necklaces range from US$1-3 FOB Cebu.
Working in a completely different niche, Hilton Fur and Leather (HK) Ltd offers newly designed jackets and accessories in real fur. The company serves global markets using mink, fox, raccoon, rabbit and coyote fur from farms in Finland, Canada, the US and China.
Fur mixes and matches fashionably with other clothing, maintains Sales Manager Vivian Wong, adding: "We supply many materials and styles with high quality at reasonable prices."
Ms Wong says it pays to work closely with the fashion business. "We create accessories to match wedding gowns or evening dresses, and we also do lots of trimmings on, for example, down jackets."
The firm can offer almost any size and colour, and has a range of dyed brown, black, pink, ivory, purple and red accessories. "We have about 50 colours in stock in different materials," says Ms Wong.
A knitted rabbit-fur scarf with detailed decorative flowers carries a unit price tag of about US$70 FOB Hong Kong, while a knitted fox-fur scarf with decorative cotton lace sells for US$29.
Hilton's adjustable fur-cuffs can button onto the sleeves of jackets or sweaters. "They're good to match with cashmere shawls," advises Ms Wong.
Crystals placed amid fur add uniqueness to a fox-fur wrap-around neck warmer measuring 4x65cm with a convenient clasp to hold it firmly in place. This item is unit-priced at US$25.
Hilton's fur accessories cover a wide price range, with fox-fur items, for example, going for US$20-300 apiece.
"On quality, we try to meet every customer's request," Ms Wong says. "For our own brands, we go to higher-quality and more fashionable items. But some customers are sensitive to prices. So we also offer items that can be attractively priced and go to mass production."
Also focusing on warmth is Nantong A&C Accessories Co Ltd, whose product portfolio includes fashionable knitted hats, gloves, mittens, scarves, shawls, and children's wear.
"Every season we add hundreds of items," says Products Executive Zhu Jia. "A big order can number up to one million pieces."
Setting unit prices at US$0.50-3.00 FOB Shanghai, the company sells mainly to the US (notably Target stores), South America (especially Chile), Europe and Japan.
"We're strong at knitting. We can achieve quality at attractive prices," Mr Zhu says.
The hip and trendy will also like the fashion jewellery, hair accessories and bags from Hammerhead Shark Ltd. "People in Asia and the Middle East appreciate that our designs are really different from most that they see," declares General Manager Thomas Bettan.
The firm uses plastic, metal, wood and shells of different origins such as India, Indonesia, the Philippines and China. Unit prices vary, usually from US$0.20-8.00 FOB Hong Kong.
"Our parent firm is French, and we have a design office in Paris and 30 years' experience," Mr Bettan says. "Our Hong Kong enterprise began three years ago. We supervise production at more than 200 factories across Asia, and we have enough experience to anticipate and follow the fashion trends."
With such aptness on the part of suppliers, apparel and fashion accessories are certainly able to sate every need and whim.
TEXT BY JOHN CAIRNS