6 March 2009
Fabulous Fasteners(HKTDC Fashion - Fabrics & Accessories , Vol 02,2009)
It may be small, but the perfect button can make a big difference to a garment. Fashion makers seeking to button their products in style must check out the comprehensive collection at Honda Button Co Ltd.
The company's diverse portfolio of imaginative products ranges from chalk and shank buttons to toggles, available in a wide choice of shapes, sizes and colours.
"Today, buttons are not just round or square but come in many different shapes and patterns. We offer, for example, triangular and floral buttons, as well as varieties in the shape of numbers and letters," Sales Manager Rayman Wong advises.
Some of Honda's products use natural materials such as wood, shell, horn and coconut.
"Our horn buttons are made of real buffalo horns and have a look that is soft and yet wild. They are mainly used in high-end garments," he notes. "Our coconut buttons are made of real coconuts grown on Hainan island."
Other products use polyester, which is sometimes fashioned to look like natural materials such as pearl, shell and coconut.
"Coconut buttons, for example, are generally unable to pass tests for colour fastness. That's why we have imitation coconut buttons," Mr Wong explains.
Honda also offers urea buttons, which are known for being non-inflammable and their ability to withstand high temperatures. "You won't find mass use of urea buttons because their price can be up to three or four times that of polyester buttons. Unlike polyester, which combusts at very high temperatures, urea has the advantage of disintegrating at high temperatures. They are thus desired for their safety properties and are used in very high-end garments," Mr Wong explains.
Most of the manufacturer's buttons are machine-made, although handmade embroidered varieties are also available.
"We engage in both OEM and ODM. For the latter, we keep coming up with new designs - that's where we add value. The important thing is to keep new ideas flowing," Mr Wong maintains, adding that the firm rolls out about 500-600 new designs every quarter.
At Honda, product design is a collaborative effort of technicians. "They have been in this business for a long time, and are constantly in touch with trends in the market," claims Mr Wong, who also keeps abreast of fashion fads.
He advises that bold styles are currently in vogue. "Gold and silver-coloured buttons are popular at the moment in keeping with the bold and vibrant looks on catwalks," he observes.
To stay ahead of competition, the company emphasises quality, quick delivery and sensitivity to the needs of cost-conscious customers.
"If buyers require less costly buttons, we will advise them to go for simpler designs rather than intricate ones. For OEM orders, we're able to deliver samples within two weeks," Mr Wong says.
"Our competitive edge lies in the quality of our products, and this is reflected in our designs and the fact that we meet strict environmental standards in the US and European markets," he insists.
The polyester used, for example, meets EN-71 standards and the European Chemicals Agency's (ECHA) requirements for substances of very high concern (SVHC).
"The Chinese mainland also imposes strict requirements relating to fire safety and pollution, and we pay a lot of attention to these environmental concerns as well," Mr Wong assures.
"We are in the process of developing a new website catalogue, which will be more environmentally friendly by saving paper," he proudly announces.
TEXT BY CHIARA WONG