4 Sept 2008
Creative Clasps(HKTDC Fashion - Fabrics & Accessories, Vol 01,2009)
Providing tremendous creative opportunities in a limited space, buttons are truly essential accessories
No longer simple closures, buttons have become a vehicle for creative expression in their own right and firm favourites with designers and consumers alike.
Asia's fashion powerhouse, Hong Kong, is particularly well placed to meet the needs of the fussiest buyer, with an enormous selection of buttons of all shapes and sizes.
Hong Kong button manufacturers such as Brilliant Metal Button Fty & Co Ltd pride themselves on their endless efforts to bring new and appealing ideas to buyers.
According to Brilliant Metal Merchandiser Carmen Chan, the 18-year-old manufacturer relies on a group of experienced senior designers to create the skilful craftwork synonymous with the firm's products.
"At first we concentrated on OEM business and customer logos," Ms Chan recalls. "However, as the company grew bigger we expanded into ODM."
She says Brilliant Metal wants its button products to provide buyers and consumers with fresh looks, such as new combinations of materials or a stylish appearance.
"Our R&D department includes a team of senior technicians who can craft tiny design elements such as mini dolls or rolling beads inside a button," she enthuses.
Their skills are augmented by an R&D department and a factory that features the latest mould and tooling instruments, together with advanced equipment such as laser-marking, CNC and wire-cut machines.
This combination of man and machine produces all kinds of garment accessories, including the jeans buttons that account for 70% of production volume, as well as snap buttons, eyelets and fasteners.
Ms Chan says buyers from markets as diverse as the US, Europe, Pakistan and Mexico always find the exhaustive panorama of sample buttons in the display room fascinating and appealing. "Custom orders are welcome," she adds.
D & G Industrial Co Ltd is another Hong Kong company that meets the ongoing challenge of design creativity through a collaboration of local marketing staff and experienced technicians.
According to Assistant Sales and Marketing Director Connie Chen, a "brainstorm between Hong Kong market researchers and the mainland production team" is the key to non-stop innovative thinking.
"Two years ago, local marketing and mainland production staff joined together to form a powerful design force that has now become the pillar of the company's development," Ms Chen explains.
Market researchers collect and analyse sales information that inspires mainland technicians to create new products. "The team acts as a guide, leading buyers to the most up-to-date market trends and tastes," she claims.
Ms Chen predicts elegant and feminine designs will continue to dominate women's button fashions while men will embrace a slightly more fashionable style. "Gold, silver and shiny materials are all big hits."
D & G offers a wide range of garment accessories products, including jeans buttons, snap buttons, die-cast buttons, fashion buttons, jeans rivets, eyelets, metal plates, handbag suspender clips, dress hooks, metal buckles and fasteners.
Metal items such as jeans buttons, rivets, snap fasteners and pronged snap fasteners receive a particularly good response, especially from overseas buyers who are willing to try innovative material combinations. "Epoxy and laser processing are also popular," Ms Chen adds.
Popular items such as the 22mm alloy dome jeans buttons, 20mm irregular jeans buttons and 20mm alloy four-hole sewing buttons testify to the company's technical expertise.
The company's R&D centre specialises in improving existing products, developing new items and enhancing product quality while lowering production costs to give D & G a competitive advantage.
"Our established brand name, strong R&D capability, extensive sales network and all-inclusive after-sales services spanning a total of 50 countries, make D & G a leading garment accessories solutions provider," Ms Chen believes.
D & G regards itself as a solutions provider, Ms Chen claims. "Before an order is made, our independent testing centre can provide a testing service to ensure that fabric and products match perfectly."
Another D & G cornerstone is after-sales services. "Technical units can be sent to factories to adjust machines in response to any report of fabric damage or other mismatch problems," Ms Chen reveals, adding, "of course it's only for big orders."
CYT Industrial Co also welcomes potential buyers, offering a free service that lets them bring their own fabric for testing to ensure peace of mind.
Manager Cynthia Cheung says handmade buttons ensure CYT stands out from its competitors, adding that the company's technicians specialise in product sample presentation. "Handmade samples require more time and money," she admits. "However, it is our service promise that the customer always comes first."
Producing exclusively for overseas markets, CYT encourages the mixing and matching of new materials. "We see this approach as the first step in the development of innovative and successful products," Ms Cheung adds.
CYT has more than 10 years' experience in the garments accessories field. "We mainly produce handmade and passimentry buttons, bead trimming items, tassels and other kind of fashion accessories," Ms Cheung explains. "Customers' designs and enquiries are welcome."
Hong Kong's creative button manufacturers' commitment to innovation and quality will abviously ensure that much more attention is paid to the small buttons that are sometimes overlooked in the big fashion world.