1 Sept 1997
FABRICS & ACCESSORIES 9/97 - Product Features(HKTDC Fashion - Fabrics & Accessories, Vol 01,1997)
MORE than just a practical accessory, buttons are a design or fashion feature in their own right. Hong Kong manufacturers offer a wide variety of buttons, from the basic utilitarian jeans buttons to little jewels of crystal and gold.
Two companies producing basic metal jeans buttons are D&G Ind Co Ltd and Brilliant Metal Button Fty & Co Ltd. D&G, one of the biggest button producers in Hong Kong, has been in the business for more than 10 years. It produces an extensive range of buttons, buckles, press fasteners, locks and zips at its 50,000-square-foot factory, which has 200 workers and 200 automatic machines. Monthly production stands at 500 million pieces.
"We implement strict quality control and use only top quality raw materials - brass, stainless steel, copper and iron, all coming from Japan and Australia," says managing director Darcy Lai. "Customer satisfaction is very important to us, and we try to meet customers' needs, whether it is a small or big order." Minimum order is 20,000 pieces, with a delivery time of 14-30 days.
Brilliant, founded in 1991, is a relative newcomer to the field. "Our snap buttons are our biggest selling item," states manager Barton Ng. "We have recently acquired a sorting machine that ensures the quality of our products by removing all the scrap."
Prices for the snap buttons range from US$20 to US$45 per gross FOB Hong Kong, while metal jeans buttons sell from US$13 to US$35 per gross. The minimum order depends on the style, and delivery takes 7-21 days, depending on quality requirements.
"Our designs feature the latest in European styling," explains Chin Chi Hong, director for S&E Accessory Land. Founded in 1988, the company produces a wide range of glittering gold and rhodium buttons featuring Swarovski crystal from Austria.
"Our designers produce a new range every 2-3 weeks, and I believe it is this design diversity that is one of our strongest selling points. The US is our major market, but we are looking to expand and are actively seeking agencies in other countries," says Chin.
Annual turnover is in the region of HK$10m, but S&E is planning to expand. "We are in the process of introducing [our] own brand name of EWA, and establishing a new line of acrylic buttons and buckles." There is no minimum order, according to Chin, and delivery is within 2-3 weeks.
Lydia Tam, export manager for Wai Sun Button Mfy Ltd, believes it is the company's ability to control the whole manufacturing process - from raw materials to the finished products - that accounts for its success. With a daily production capacity of 6.5 million buttons, the company is one of the larger button producers in Hong Kong.
"We have our own electroplating department, which speeds up production and lowers the cost to customers," says Tam, who thinks low cost has been an important consideration for most buyers in the last few years.
Wai Sun's 100,000-square-foot factory in Zhongshan, mainland China, employs 800-1,000 workers, depending on the seasonal requirements. "December and just before Chinese Lunar New Year are our busiest times," says Tam.
The company, founded in 1967, produces a wide range of both metal and plastic buttons and buckles. Gross prices for the jeans buttons range from HK$15 to HK$31 FOB Hong Kong; three-piece poly-metal buttons sell for HK$50; while the die-cast alloy buttons are priced from HK$11 to HK$21. Military buckles sell from HK$7 to $13 per dozen.
Minimum order is 50 gross for buttons and 200 dozen for buckles. Delivery is within 14 days of order confirmation.
"We have 20 years' experience in manufacturing and exporting different types of fashion buttons and accessories," says Elaine Yeung, executive secretary for Cheung Hing Hoo Button Mfy Co Ltd. Recently expanded factory facilities offer a full range of processes for producing plastic and metal buttons, including die-casting and plastic injection. Thirty technicians work in a computerised moulding department.
"Our speciality are top quality combination plastic-and-metal buttons. However, we also offer a complete range of brass products, including shanks, rings, tacks, snap buttons, rivets and eyelets," says Yeung. She believes that the company's strength lies in its on-time delivery, essential when working in the fashion industry.
Minimum order for simple buttons is 100 gross, for delivery within two weeks.
"Colourful plastic buttons have been our best-selling item this summer," states Angela Fan, export manager for Winner Button Co Ltd. Its 150-worker factory on the mainland produces 20,000 gross of buttons every day. The range includes both plastic and metal buttons.
When making the customer's design, "we pay particular attention to ensuring that the design is correct and that the customer is happy. We have a strong overseas client base but we are always looking for more customers", says Fan.
The minimum order depends on the complexity of the design. Delivery takes two weeks after confirmation of order.
"Imitation horn buttons are our top-selling item in the US," explains Raphael Au-Yeung, director of Eastex Int'l Ltd. Originally in the garment business, the company exports a range of buttons, trimming, buckles and zips.
"If you come to us, there is no need to worry as we guarantee top-quality products and on-time delivery," claims Au-Yeung. Eastex processes six million buttons a month and does not require a minimum order if stock is available. Delivery usually takes 10-14 days.
Written by Suzanne Rayment
MORE THAN JUST TAGS
Labels & Badges
IN today's increasingly brand-conscious world, demand for eye-catching labels is growing. They are no longer just tags for identifying goods, but have become an essential element of a product, available in an array of shapes, sizes and materials. Nowhere is this more true than in Hong Kong, where the lure of the label is a mighty force. Manufacturers are creating all sorts of labels and badges to suit fashion products across the board.
La-Liz Ind Ltd is a good example, as its labels range from the leather rectangles found on jeans, to a holographic smiley face and PVC flower, which are perfect for clubbing gear. "Our products are used for clothing, fashion and garment accessories, footwear and bags, and we can make them from all kinds of soft materials," says director Edward Ng. He explains that staff at La-Liz always monitor the market for new trends so they can alter products to suit the latest fashions.
The markets for La-Liz's labels, according to Ng, encompass Southeast Asia, Europe and North America. "In North America, clients tend to like PVC-type labels, whereas in Europe and Southeast Asia, they want real leather labels and PU labels," says Ng.
Clients can either use La-Liz's in-house designers or submit their own artwork. Either way, it takes about 10 days to assemble a pre-production sample. FOB Hong Kong unit prices range from US$0.20 to US$0.30, and the minimum order is 5,000 labels. Following confirmation of order, delivery takes place in about two weeks.
Set up in 1989, Top Source Mfg Ltd produces badges and other garment accessories at its factory in Shenzhen, mainland China. Large badges with embroidered motifs and designs in chenille are its speciality. Prices range from US$0.55 to US$1.17 FOB Hong Kong.
"Most of the time clients come to us with their designs. We don't have many designs of our own as each badge we make is exclusive to the client," says secretary Alice Kwan. A pre-production sample takes 10-21 days to finish, depending on the materials and process chosen. If, however, it is necessary to create a mould, samples will take longer.
Top Source imports fabrics from South Korea, Japan and Europe, and exports the finished products mainly to the US, Europe, Southeast Asia and Australia.
One company with extensive experience in the field of label manufacturing is Lucky Weaving Lace Co Ltd. Founded more than 30 years ago, it produces an array of small labels featuring bright colours and busy patterns. These are woven from Taiwan-made polyester yarn, and most are destined to be sewn onto children's clothing.
According to manager Gloria Cheung, production takes place at the company's factory in Shenzhen, on the mainland, which employs 300 workers. "We sell most of our labels locally in Hong Kong," says Cheung. As prices depend on the label size and number of colours, and size of the order, it is best to contact the company for a quote.
Badges from Prospect Ind Co include small cartoon-style embroidered animals, larger teddy bears in chenille and trendy letters created from die-cut moulds. "Different styles are popular in different markets," says manager Jenny Cheung. "Japanese clients demand chenille and appliquŽ badges, while in Europe there is a market for more creative badges such as our die-cut letters. And in America, large embroidery badges are very popular."
Regardless of the style, many of the 150,000 badges produced by Prospect every month make their way onto garments made by some of the world's most prestigious fashion companies.
"We have some of our own badge designs, but most of the time we work with a customer's design," Cheung says. After artwork is received from a client, it takes about seven days to make a pre-production sample.
Quotes depend on the amount of stitching, but FOB Hong Kong prices for Prospect's badges start at US$0.50. The minimum order is 1,000 units and delivery takes place in 2-3 weeks.
Carteine Ind Ltd manufactures labels and badges that are perfect for trendy street-style garments and accessories. They are available in a large array of styles, including a clear PVC circle filled with liquid and glitter, holographic shapes, and leather labels with canvas surfaces.
"We have approximately six sorts of material, which are PU leather, PVC, cotton fabric base, kraft paper, rubber and genuine leather," says Rachel Sze, assistant to the director. "We keep up with new trends in labels from clients' ideas and by looking at magazines."
From its factory in Nanjing, on the mainland, Carteine is capable of producing five million labels every month. These are exported to clients in markets worldwide, including Europe, Israel, Australia and India. "Customers choose styles from our catalogues and some develop their own labels," says Sze. "We don't have in-house designers, so clients need to provide [the] artwork. Once this has been approved, it takes 14 days for a sample to be delivered."
FOB Hong Kong prices for Carteine's labels range from HK$1.40 to HK$4. There is no minimum order.
Whether designed to broadcast a brand name or conjure an individual look for products, labels and badges created by Hong Kong manufacturers are sure to turn heads.
Written by Julia Grimes
A DELICATE TOUCH
Ribbons & Lace
RIBBONS and lace add interest to garments and other fashion products, and Hong Kong is one of the world's leading marketing centres for these products. The majority of the manufacturing takes place in southern China, which means that companies can maintain competitive prices.
Maxluck Ind Ltd produces a range of chemical lace, torchon lace, tulle, motifs and embroidery lace at its two-floor, 10,000-square-foot factory in Dongguan, mainland China. The company was established in 1990, the same time the factory was constructed.
Raw materials include rayon and cotton from Taiwan and Japan. Three quality controllers from Hong Kong and mainland China ensure that the lace leaves the factory in prime condition. Customers - textile and garment manufacturers in Germany, South Africa, Indonesia and Hong Kong - specify their designs.Delivery takes 3-4 weeks, depending on the location of the customer. Designs in stock can be delivered in 7-10 days. Maxluck sets a minimum order of 3,000 yards, with prices ranging between HK$1 and HK$12 per yard FOB Hong Kong.
A&K Co Ltd concentrates on producing "beaded motifs, beaded buttons, beaded lace and trimming for use in making evening dresses and bridal gowns", says director Kenneth Li. The company produces all motifs according to designs from customers, which are mainly garment manufacturers in Europe and the US.
A&K was formed by Li and his wife Alice, who has years of experience in the lace industry. It built its joint-venture factory on the mainland in 1990, and employs about 1,000 workers. It hires other artisans on a cottage-industry basis. Li has established close links with other factories on the mainland so that orders can be filled quickly during peak seasons.
There is no minimum order, and delivery takes 2-4 weeks. The company is happy to supply quotes for customers' designs, although it requires customers to send a sample with their orders.
Hin Sing Co focuses on production of all-over lace, says managing director Lu Tak Shing. It sells to garment manufacturers in Europe, the US, Hong Kong and other production centres in Asia. A range of designs is available in any colour. Some patterns come from customers, while others are the work of an in-house designer.
Hin Sing has two factories. The larger, at 30,000 square feet, is located in Guangdong on the mainland and employs 2,000 workers, and the smaller one is in Taiwan with 12 workers. Both factories are fully automated. "The Chinese factory has 16 machines while the one in Taiwan has 12," says Lu.
The rayon, spun rayon and cotton used in manufacture come from Taiwan and the mainland. Hin Sing makes most of its lace to order - stock in hand is used as samples -which means that delivery takes 3-4 weeks after order confirmation. Minimum order varies according to the size of the lace. Prices range from HK$80 to HK$196 per square yard, FOB Hong Kong.
Dataworld Development Ltd manufactures a wide range of strip lace at its two factories on the mainland. In case it has to fill a lot of orders, it "subcontracts to producers in Shanghai", says spokesperson Diana King.
Customers supply samples for many of the designs, but Dataworld's designer on the mainland produces other designs, using a CAD/CAM program that is linked to machines on the factory floor. Monthly production runs at 150,000 yards per item.
The lace is exported to "markets all over the world", says King. Delivery takes 35-45 days for new designs and non-stock items; designs in stock can be delivered in as little as two weeks.
Minimum order depends on the lace thickness and weight. The average is 10,000 yards for heavy materials, and as much as 100,000 yards for lighter, less complicated designs. Prices range from HK$0.62 to HK$1.70 per yard, but quotes come down for bigger quantities.
Wa Tai Garment & Jewellery Accessories Co Ltd makes a wide variety of ribbons, motifs and bows for use in manufacturing clothes, jewellery and underwear, says director Ng Ling Yim. The company also makes artificial fur and plastic beads at its 3,000-square-foot factory in Guangzhou on the mainland.
Raw materials such as nylon, rayon and polyester come from Taiwan, Japan and the US. Fifty workers produce 100,000 pieces of bows, ribbons and rosettes each month.
Wa Tai holds significant stocks and can deliver 10-20 days after order confirmation. Minimum orders must reach US$2,000. Prices range from HK$0.58 to HK$3.50 per piece.
Written by Roger Cave
WHEN it comes to creating a casual and yet chic look, fashion designers have always turned to cotton. Hong Kong's cotton fabric manufacturers have kept pace with the international fashion scene by developing a plethora of cotton-based fabrics, ranging from the trendiest denims to basic dyed ribshot fabrics.
Innovation is essential, not only in terms of design but also in print and texture. In today's highly competitive marketplace, Hong Kong cotton fabric producers are creating product differentiation through superior quality and astute pricing.
Texful Textile Ltd is one company that emphasises new products and design development. It specialises in fancy denim, including indigo Lurex denim with silver stripes, indigo dobby check denim, and even indigo rainbow denim, which has multicoloured threads running through the blue base.
"Our most popular fabrics are stretch denim and stretch twill, which provide extra comfort and a better fit in jeans for ladies," says sales manager Thomas Law. Texful sources cotton yarn from Pakistan and Hong Kong.
The company's factory in Hong Kong is vertically integrated, with textile weaving, indigo dyeing and finishing facilities. It produces about one million yards of fabric every month. Texful supplies to famous brands such as Warner Brothers, Esprit, Guess and Calvin Klein in Hong Kong, the US, UK and Japan.
FOB price per yard is US$3.60 for Lurex denim, US$2.80 for stretch denim and stretch twill, and $2.50 for dobby check denim. The minimum order for fancy denim is 3,000 yards, with delivery taking about eight weeks. There is no minimum order for basic denim, and delivery takes two weeks.
Paramount Textiles Ltd trades and specialises in woven 100% cotton fabrics, including corduroy and velveteen. It also handles linen, ramie and rayon fabrics. Dyed, printed and even grey fabrics are available.
"The speciality of our fabric lies in its weaving, which lends an excellent look to it," says Shirley Tam Shuk Yin, assistant to the managing director. The company caters to garment manufacturers in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and the US.
Cotton cotele fabric sells for US$2.50 per yard FOB Hong Kong; cotton ribstop fabric is priced at US$2.40; and cotton dobby goes for US$3.10. Prices for corduroy and velveteen depend on the density and colour of the fabrics, with dark colours like navy blue or red costing more than neutral shades.
The minimum order ranges from 3,000 yards for dyed fabrics to 8,000 yards per design for printed fabrics. Delivery takes 4-6 weeks for dyed corduroy and velveteen, and more than seven weeks for printed versions.
Goodwill Textile Co offers a variety of woven and knitted fabrics in cotton, rayon and linen. The emphasis is on strong product quality. "In the fabrics business where the price differential is low, customers are looking for better quality for reasonable prices," explains merchandiser Christina Chan.
"Our fabric quality is reflected in the overall effect of the fabric, along with a better finish and fast colours," Chan adds. Strict quality controls are in place at its three factories in mainland China, which produce about 300,000 yards of woven fabric and 50,000 yards of knitted fabric every month.
The 100% cotton printed sheeting can be used for garments for ladies and children, while fabrics like single-dyed cotton jersey are suitable for making undergarments and nightwear. Goodwill plans to continue focusing on cotton corduroy, which is seeing a strong demand. Its corduroy comes in new designs, achieved through weaving and printing, and sells for US$2 to US$3.15 per yard FOB Hong Kong.
While the minimum order for basic dyed corduroy is 1,000 yards per colour, the minimum for printed fabrics is set at 3,000 yards per design. Delivery takes 4-6 weeks, depending on the complexity of the design. Grey fabric comes from mainland China and Pakistan. Major export markets include South Africa, India, Sri Lanka, Australia and Dubai.
Youngtex Weaving & Dyeing Fty Ltd produces ring-spun denim using the traditional spinning method, making its fabrics stand out among the modern open-ended spun denim in the market. "Our ring-spun denim fabric gives an antique look and character to the jeans," says director Tom Li Kwok Ming.
The company exports to the US, Japan, South Korea and Europe. Its products bear the Cotton USA mark, signifying that the raw cotton used for the yarn is imported from the US.
Prices of woven 100% cotton twill ring-spun denim range from US$3.20 to US$3.70 per yard FOB Hong Kong. Minimum order ranges from 5,000 to 7,000 yards. Delivery takes four weeks after order confirmation.
Gold Ocean (HK) Cotton & Linen Co Ltd manufactures woven and knitted fabrics and garments at its factories in mainland China and Cambodia. It offers 100% and blends of cotton knit fabrics in various styles such as pique and drop needle, says Ann Ko, secretary to the managing director.
Prices depend on the fabric style and weight. The printed pure-cotton fabrics, for instance, sell for US$8.50 per kilogram. Minimum order for fabrics is 500 kilograms per colour, and delivery takes 12 weeks. Gold Ocean exports to the US, UK and Panama.
Written by A. Gupta
DOWN THE SILK ROAD
THE cultivation of silk has its origins in China: silkworms were said to have been first reared in 2698-2598 BC by the wife of the Emperor Huang Ti. Although technology has influenced the production of silk, it is still a unique feat of nature, resulting in a thread that is the strongest and lightest of all the natural fibres. Mainland China is by far the largest producer of raw silk, and Hong Kong manufacturers are well placed to continue the legendary silk trade, and provide buyers with all kinds of silk fabrics.
Fuchuen Silk Co Ltd is a subsidiary of the mainland Chinese company Zhejiang Silk Import/Export Corpn. Founded in 1989, Fuchuen deals exclusively in import, export and wholesale of silk materials, garments and goods. "Our brand name of Bao Chuta is well known worldwide, as is our reputation for producing high-quality products," says manager Fung Sau Lan. "We are particularly interested in promoting our ability to weave new fabrics, and working with customers to produce special designs."
Fung believes that Fuchuen, with the backing of Zhejiang, can offer customers access to the latest in technology and scientific research. Prices of silk jacquard are in the region of HK$24 per yard FOB Hong Kong, and brocade is HK$39 per yard. Minimum order is 1,000 yards, and delivery takes up to 60 days if the material has to be specially woven, says Fung.
Another company which offers clients exciting new silk options is Lee Bun Hong Silk Co Ltd. "We have just produced a very fashionable silk nylon which is 75% silk and 25% nylon," explains export manager Ming Soo. "Besides our new products, we also produce a full range of traditional silk fabrics, including satin, duppioni, georgette, crêpe de chine, habutai, jacquard, twill, silk linen, Lycra, crinkle, ottoman and silk velvet."
Lee Bun Hong's main factory, based on the mainland, weaves three million yards of different kinds of silk fabric a year, and has an annual turnover of about US$23m. "Our clients include foreign dyeing and printing houses, as well as many prestigious manufacturers of ties, scarves and napkins," Soo says.
Soo believes that the company is competitive, given its solid background, good quality workmanship and competitive pricing. Minimum order depends on the product requirements. Delivery takes 35-45 days, but the company has stocks of many of its popular items.
"Silk jacquard is still our most popular item," says Cinderella Tung, assistant managing director for Texing Silk Ltd. Founded in 1987, the company produces 200,000 metres of silk jacquard and satin silk every month. Its factory in Zhejiang, on the mainland, employs 500 workers and produces several new designs every month. "At the moment bright colours and flower prints are the hot items," Tung says.
"Our major market is the Asian region, with sales in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. We are targeting India as an area for future expansion."
Pure silk satin dyed fabric is priced at US$4.20 per yard FOB Hong Kong, while printed silk sells for US$5.50 per yard. Prices per yard for 100% silk jacquard range from US$3.20 for boiled-off fabrics to US$5.35 for printed versions. The minimum order is 5,000 metres and delivery takes 15 days after confirmation.
Fabrics and yarn represent the main business for Grandy Silk Products Co Ltd. The company also produces a range of garments, including lingerie, women's blouses and skirts and men's shirts. "This season, a silk/linen mix has been very popular with our US and German buyers, while London has been buying tapestry," explains designer Wendy Ngai.
Grandy's two factories on the mainland - one in Suzhou and the other in Shanghai - each employ about 250 workers. Ngai believes that the company's strongest assets are reasonable prices and good administrative follow-up. The minimum order is 1,000 metres for simple fabrics and 5,000 metres for special materials such as tapestries. Delivery is within 30-45 days of confirmation.
New to the field is Ultra Outlet Ltd, which was founded in 1996. Sourcing its silk from the mainland, the company carries out all weaving, finishing, sealing, dyeing and colour-matching in Hong Kong. "In general, we sell directly to fabric importers, but we also sell to prominent fashion houses, including DKNY, Escada and Calvin Klein," states director KK Chan.
"The most popular fashion items this season are burned-out weaves and two-tone silk. Silk mixes have also become more popular with buyers who are looking to reduce costs as the price of silk has recently risen by 30%."
Prices for the burned-out fabrics range from HK$54.10 to HK$78 per yard FOB Hong Kong. A woven mixed silk jacquard, a 39:61 blend of silk and viscose, is priced at HK$51 per yard. Minimum order is 500 metres per colour, and delivery takes 30-60 days.
Written by Suzanne Rayment
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