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INTO ANOTHER DIMENSION - 3D Garment Accessories(HKTDC Fashion - Fabrics & Accessories, Vol 01,1998)


September 1998




INTO ANOTHER DIMENSION
3D Garment Accessories

FAVOURITE FASTENERS
Buttons

SNAP ACTION
Buckles

LOOSELY STRUCTURED
Linen Fabrics

INTO ANOTHER DIMENSION
3D Garment Accessories

ADORNING jeans and other garments, 3D labels and badges give these products the final decorative touch. These 3D products come in flashy colours and imaginative designs to suit clients' ideas, an idea reiterated by Dickson Chau, managing director of Dickson Collection Brand Co, who says, "80% of our designs are from customers while 20% are our own designs." This design ratio is typical of most manufacturers in the industry.

Alan Fung, sales and export manager of Pacter Label Co, adds that, "We [also] often brainstorm for different new combinations of different materials to provide new effects which are more appealing to the buyers." Pacter combines clients' ideas with its designers' expertise.

Many of the manufacturers' clients are well-known brand names. Trio Labels Co Ltd supplies labels, rubber and embroidered badges, and embroidered and printed matter to such famous names as Calvin Klein, Levi's, Tommy Hilfiger and Oshkosh. Similarly, Pacter provides labels for a variety of sports and garment brands, including Adidas, Fila and Kickers.

Bond Chiu, Trio's marketing manager, says: "Our products are mainly used on garments, bags, and accessories ... the most common materials are polyester thread on 3D embroidered badges, and rubber or silicone on 3D rubber badges."

Trio produces a line of badges. For example, adorned with the logo Royal Golf Spirit in green, model TRIO-1 is shaped like a rosette with blue stitching and matching green outline. FOB Hong Kong price is US$2 each for an order of 2,000 pieces.

For a more regal look, model TRIO-3 is oval-shaped with a black background and gold stitching of a fleur-de-lis and crown. This badge sells for US$1.50 for an order of 2,000 pieces. Rubber badge model TRIO-14 comes with a yellow, white and black background with the logo "Wolverine Steel Toe Boots and Shoes since 1883" in the centre. It costs US$0.30 each for an order of 5,000 pieces.

Trio can deliver a minimum order of 3,000 pieces within 3-4 weeks from its mainland China factory, which employs up to 250 workers.

Pacter produces a white oval patch (model F) in white with a black perimeter outline with the word Tough stamped across it. Model E features the logo Top Team in fluorescent yellow and red on one half, and the inverted design and colours on the other half. Model B patch has the words Surf Beach Smart in orange with a white outline and orange inner circle. Prices are negotiable, depending on the order size.

Pacter does not require a minimum order and most items have a lead time of two weeks. Its 30,000-square-foot factory on the mainland employs 350 staff.

Dickson specialises in producing labels for a variety of products. "Our products are mainly used on garments, bags, caps, shoes and watches," says Chau. Among its products are hang tags, which are 3D badges with a metal loop attached so they can hang off handbags and shoes.

Two of Dickson's hang tag designs are small round 3D nautical compasses with the Nautical logo in blue and red (model EVA 01 and EVA 02, respectively). Both are priced at HK$2.30 each FOB Hong Kong. Model PVC 02 is a square black case with a blue Pelle Pelle logo, which sells for HK$2.50.

Dickson operates a 10,000-square-foot factory on the mainland. It has no minimum order and delivery depends on the order quantity.

J & A Industrial Co has its own in-house designers. "Our most popular designs are those with logos and cartoon characters," says merchandiser Ivan Ng. He adds that the company manages to stay on top by "offering a low price, prompt action and fast delivery".

Two rubber labels feature the logo Razzy. One rectangular model (JA-8273) has a white, blue and red 3D detail and navy background and sells for HK$2.50 each FOB Hong Kong. An oval-shaped model (JA-8274) has the logo Original Jeanswear divided in half, with one part in red and the other part in blue, and an opaque perimeter outline. This label is priced at HK$2.70 each.

Patch JA-8275 looks like a golf ball with the logo Wack and an abstract-shaped letter w in red and yellow. It sells for HK$1.80 each.

J & A accepts minimum orders of 500 pieces and can deliver 10-14 days from order confirmation from its factory in Shenzhen, on the mainland.

Times Trademark Industrial Ltd produces a range of snazzy children's patches, zipper pullers and key rings. Export manager Yung Yeung Fai says: "We make labels for some famous brand names such as Nike, Reebok, Gap, Polo and Adidas. We apply new ideas to our products to improve the quality and appearance, like creating a special colour."

Two popular products are Minnie Mouse magnetic holders in a red and white dress and red bow (US$0.60 each FOB Hong Kong) and Mickey Mouse in blue and white shorts and T-shirt kicking a football (US$0.60 per piece). A Winnie the Pooh magnetic holder features the bear scooping honey from his Hunny pot, also priced at US$0.60 per piece.

Each item is made according to the customer's design, so each one is unique and therefore there are no individual model numbers. The standard mould charge is US$600 per design.

Times Trademark operates a factory in Guangzhou, on the mainland, which employs 1,200 workers. It accepts minimum orders of 6,000 pieces and delivers within 15 days of order confirmation.

Written by Meiling Voon


FAVOURITE FASTENERS
Buttons

HONG Kong's button makers manufacture millions of buttons every month, using a full range of materials, from brass and polyester to bamboo and horn.

Growing environmental awareness has led to a firm place in the market for natural products. Tung Chuen Industrial Co has been specialising for the last seven years in buttons and toggles made of natural materials, including wood, bamboo, agoya shell, cow horn and bone.

The buttons are hand-finished individually. Polish and seals enhance their quality, says export manager Lucy Lu. "We can accept customers' own designs, which we can produce using laser, engraving, burning and other techniques," says Lu. Laser equipment is used for printing designs and logos.

Lu says these natural products appeal to the higher end of the garment industry. Wood and real horn toggles and buttons are popular for leather clothing. Shell buttons are used for shirts and other high-quality garments, wooden toggles for handbags and sofas. Tung Chuen's major markets include the UK, Japan, Germany, mainland China and Hong Kong.

Tung Chuen operates a factory in Fujian, on the mainland, which produces 1.5 million pieces monthly. Typical FOB Hong Kong prices are HK$18 per 100 pieces for its 24L burned-pattern wooden buttons; HK$6.60 per 100 pieces for 24L agoya shell buttons; and HK$158 per 100 pieces for 50-millimetre horn toggles. The firm sets no minimum order and requires 1-3 weeks for delivery.

Chung Wah Industries Ltd specialises in polyester buttons, targeting the mid-range to low end of the market. "We can make any style, based on the customer's sample," says manager Paul Lee. The company also accepts orders for hand-finished buttons, including polyester cord and cotton-sprayed items. It sources unsaturated polyester resin from Taiwan.

The 30,000-square-foot factory in Dongguan, on the mainland, employs 100 workers and produces 160,000 gross of buttons a month. It supplies local garment manufacturers making clothes for the US and European markets. The US is another important sales outlet.

Lee says that with competition fierce, Chung Wah has to ensure a high quality of products and service. FOB Hong Kong prices average HK$6 a gross. No minimum order is set, though 2-3 weeks should be allowed for delivery.

Winner Button Co Ltd, founded in 1984, has upgraded its machines in the past year, to increase output and cut delivery time. It can make a full range of buttons, including polyester, plastic, horn and metal, says sales executive Angela Fan. Laser machines are used to print logos and designs.

The company, which employs 200 workers at its Shenzhen factory, supplies buttons mainly to garment manufacturers in Hong Kong and the mainland. It offers its own designs but accepts customers' designs, including unusual styles for fashion garments, says Fan.

FOB Hong Kong prices for the 36-line special polyester designs are quoted in the region of US$10 a gross. Minimum order varies with size, from 124 gross for 14-line buttons to 20 gross for 36-line buttons. Delivery takes two weeks.

Kai Yat Mfg Co Ltd makes polyester buttons in a wide range of finishes, including imitation horn, pearl and shell, using laser equipment for designs and logos, says export manager Ivy Li. Major markets include Hong Kong and the mainland, as well as Thailand, Taiwan and Singapore. The US and India are other markets.

Established 10 years ago, Kai Yat produces more than 60 million buttons a year at its Shenzhen factory. It employs 100 workers. Prices are in the region of HK$24 a gross for a 32-line laser-engraved button. Minimum order is 100 gross, for delivery in two weeks.

C & K Metal Mfy Ltd was formed last year by Wing Fung Metal Mfy. C & K makes tack, snap and thread buttons, among other metal accessories, at its 60-worker factory in Huizhou, on the mainland. "Our experienced craftsmen can meet customers' designs," says marketing manager Kathy Lai.

Among its new products is a hole snap, in copper and gunmetal finish, for jeans and rugged clothes. Alloy buttons may be moulded into any shape, such as rectangular or with a sun design. Brass buttons are available in a netting finish. Materials include zinc alloy, brass and steel. "We make it clear what material will be used," says Lai. "We won't quote a low price and use low-quality material."

C & K produces four million buttons and snaps and nine million rivets a month. It accepts minimum orders of 10,000 pieces for buttons and 50,000 rivets. Delivery takes 2-4 weeks.

"Egypt is a particularly strong market for us, and eastern Europe, as well as Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh, and local garment factories," says Lai.

Lai Cheong Zipper Mfg Ltd makes jean buttons and metal snap buttons, in zinc alloy, brass or iron, from materials sourced in Guangzhou, on the mainland. Finishes include nickel and antique brass. "Most of our customers have been ordering buttons from us for several years," says spokesperson Brenda Leung.

Lai Cheong has been making buttons and other accessories since 1978. "We now want more overseas companies to order from us," Leung says. The US and Indonesia are already major markets.

The company makes high-quality buttons at a low cost, says Leung. Its factory in Guangzhou, on the mainland, employs 600 workers and makes products to customers' designs. Monthly production totals 300,000 gross of buttons and rivets. Minimum order is 100 gross, for delivery in 20 days.

Written by Katherine Forestier


SNAP ACTION
Buckles

HONG Kong's buckle manufacturers are rising to the challenge of intense competition from developing countries in Asia by offering a full range of products at reasonable prices. But Patrick Wong, director of Grand Metal Works Ltd, says price alone cannot ensure growing sales. "We believe that new designs will stimulate the buying interests of customers. Low prices alone will only stimulate sales for a short time," he says.

Grand Metal concentrates on developing designer items with customers' logos. "The zinc alloy buckles are used on high-quality fashion wear and are aimed at the high end of the market. Each buckle is hand-brushed to ensure high quality," Wong says. These buckles are priced at US$0.31-1.17 each FOB Hong Kong. The company also makes plastic snap buckles, priced from US$0.05 each.

"The metal buckle is made of zinc alloy, which is very durable and has a heavy metal feel. The plastic buckle is made of polyoxymethylene, which is very hard but not brittle so it is also very durable and has strong snap action," says Wong.

Grand Metal employs up to 200 people at its factory in Shenzhen, mainland China, where it produces two million buckles a month, as well as 25 million other metal accessories. The US is its strongest market, while it is gradually developing sales to Europe. The company requires two weeks for delivery and accepts minimum orders of 5,000 buckles.

Wai Sun Button Mfy Ltd is a family company founded in Hong Kong in 1967. It employs up to 1,000 workers at its 100,000-square-foot factory in Guangdong, on the mainland, and produces up to 6.5 million accessories a day. Among these are buckles, suspender clips and sliders in brass, alloy and iron, used for shoes, bags and garments. "We do our own development for plating, design and mould sculpturing," says manager Eric Tam, who adds that Wai Sun has its own electroplating facilities.

Materials come from the US, South Korea and the mainland. Wai Sun focuses on export, particularly to the US, Europe, the Middle East and South America. It accepts minimum orders of 100 dozen pieces for buckles and requires 10-21 days for delivery, depending on quantities and mould requirements.

"People order from us because of our prices," says Tam. Heart-shaped suspender buckles are priced at HK$3.50 a dozen FOB Hong Kong, though lower prices can be negotiated for large quantities. More simple suspender clips are quoted at HK$1.70 per dozen.

Luk's Brothers Metal Button Fty & Co Ltd makes a range of buckles, sliders, clips, hooks, hasps and suspender clips in alloy, brass and iron. These are used for belts, garments, shoes and bags. "With the economy down, people are looking for durable things that will last a long time," says director Bennie Luk. "Our quality is very steady and prices competitive. We are also able to offer quick response."

Materials are sourced globally, including brass from Europe, South Korea and Japan, iron and polystyrene from Japan, and alloy from Australia. A wide range of finishes are also available, such as antique brass and nickel. "Most of our products are based on customers' designs," says Luk. The company also develops its own products.

Major markets are the US, Europe and Southeast Asia. Luk's Brothers has been making metal accessories since 1968 and employs 480 workers at its 4,800-square-metre factory in Shenzhen, on the mainland. No minimum order is required and delivery takes 2-4 weeks, depending on the size of the order.

Evertex Industries (Holdings) Ltd supplies buckles and sliders mainly to traders in the Southeast Asian, US and local markets. "We concentrate on service and quality," says export manager Frankie Ma. The company will meet customers' special needs and manufacture hard-to-make items, for which having its own moulding company helps.

"We keep our products just above the mid-range," Ma says. "We put a lot of effort in the finishing, using brushed nickel, polish, epoxy and spray colours." Pearly gold, silver and nickel colours are popular. Metals for its zinc alloy buckles come from Australia.

Prices start from HK$0.30 each FOB Hong Kong, depending on the weight and finish. Evertex welcomes orders of any size and requires 3-4 weeks for delivery, including mould-preparation time.

D&G Industrial Co Ltd offers hundreds of designs for buckles, suspender clips, hooks and shoe buckles, among other accessories. These are made of zinc alloy, aluminium, brass and stainless steel. "We make every effort to set competitive prices for quality products. Custom-made items will be made according to the needs of the customer," says assistant manager Wendy Chiu.

The company's 50,000-square-foot factory in Dongguan, on the mainland, employs 200 workers. Total monthly output of metal accessories reaches 500 million pieces. "D&G uses the most advanced equipment to carry out such jobs as product design, moulding, pattern-engraving, stamping, assembly and galvanisation," says Chiu.

D&G's major markets are western Europe, the US and Latin America. It accepts minimum orders of 15,000 pieces and requests 2-3 weeks for delivery.

Brilliant Metal Button Fty & Co Ltd is one of the few buckle manufacturers that has not moved production to the mainland. It employs 25 workers at its 4,300-square-foot factory in Hong Kong, where it has been in the metal accessories business since 1991.

"Our prices are higher than [mainland] China and some other countries, but our quality is much better," says merchandiser Joan Tse. Belt buckles are priced from US$1.18 to US$2 per dozen FOB Hong Kong, while suspender buckles sell from US$1.10 a dozen.

Minimum order for buckles and suspender clips is 500 dozen pieces, for delivery in 7-21 days.

Written by Katherine Forestier


LOOSELY STRUCTURED
Linen Fabrics

LINEN has enjoyed a resurgence in the past decade, helped, no doubt, by the fashion trend towards less structured garments in both men's and women's apparel. Over the period there has been a corresponding willingness to blend it with other materials and develop special coatings.

Both trends look set to continue, so much so that linen has become a basic item nowadays, says Patrick Tse, director of sales for Paramount Textiles Ltd. It is very much a seasonal item, with sales heavy in the May-July period, but Tse believes it will remain popular. At peak periods the company sells about 300,000 yards of the fabric per month, Tse estimates, and Paramount supplies in both basic and woven forms.

FOB Hong Kong prices typically range between US$2.13 per yard for 80% rayon/20% linen dobby natural flex with 51/52-inch width, to US$3.47 for 53% linen/47% cotton cavalry twill natural flex with 47/48-inch width.

The minimum order is 3,000 yards per colour. Delivery for items in stock is 3-4 weeks, but otherwise the company quotes 50 days after receipt of L/C.

Fa Tin Textile (HK) Co Ltd offers linen and ramie in both yarn- and piece-dyed forms. Major markets are the US, UK, Germany and Japan. However, spokesperson Meng Xiang Ji explains that Fa Tin is developing "newly opened markets like South Africa and [mainland] China, as the demand is enormous and there are still not too many successful competitors".

Typical FOB Hong Kong prices are US$3.30 per yard for crease-resistant 55% linen/45% cotton woven fabric with 43/44-inch width (PD317), and US$6.80 per yard for 100% linen woven fabric with 57-inch width (SD14001).

Clients must order a minimum of 3,000 yards, with delivery 30-60 days after order confirmation.

Monthly production from Fa Tin's 18,000-square-metre factory in northern China runs to 150,000 yards. Yarns are imported from France and Belgium.

Land's Co Ltd manufactures linen and cotton woven fabrics, both dyed and printed. Production capacity is some 1.5 million yards each month from materials sourced from the mainland.

A 55% linen/45% cotton dyed fabric with 42/43-inch width and 10s/10s construction is priced at US$1.35 per yard FOB Hong Kong. A yard of pure linen dyed fabric with 40/41-inch width and 21s/21s construction sells for US$5.20.

The minimum order is 3,000 yards per colour and/or design. For dyed items delivery is from 30 days after confirmation of order, and for printed items, about 45-55 days.

KK Chan, director of Ultra Outlet Ltd, believes the demand for linen is strengthening. "Actually prices have been dropping to almost half what they were 2-3 years ago," he explains. Demand for 1999 is "very, very strong", he says, including from DKNY, one major customer. Chan is encouraged by the strong demand for sample yardage and he finds that there is more interest in mixed fabrics and especially Ñ in the forthcoming season Ñ for linen with special coatings.

Typical FOB Hong Kong prices range from HK$33.65 per yard for 100% linen twill woven fabric, yarn-dyed, with 58/59-inch width, to HK$47.20 for 100% linen woven fabric, print, with enzyme wash and 44/45-inch width.

Chan says the company sells largely to the US, as well as Europe. Minimum order is 1,000 metres per colour and 4,000 metres per order. Delivery, following confirmation of order, takes 30-60 days. Materials are sourced mainly from the mainland.

Although the market in Japan is down a little, other markets Ñ notably Europe, Australia and the US - remain quite good, according to YS Au, director of Splendid Int'l Co Ltd. The company sells yarn-dyed woven fabrics to major brand-name companies, such as Burton, Celio, Next, Jean Plus and Country Road.

Au confirms that typical FOB Hong Kong prices range from US$2.90 a yard for 55% linen/45% cotton yarn-dyed sheeting (Ref A4), or for 55% linen/45% cotton yarn-dyed end-on-end check (Ref A3), both with 57/58-inch width; to US$3.20 for 60% linen/40% cotton interwoven yarn-dyed check fabrics, with 57/58-inch width (Ref A1 and A2).

Monthly production runs to 70,000-80,000 yards. All raw materials - linen, ramie, cotton, rayon and polyester - are sourced from the mainland. Clients must order a minimum of 2,000 yards per colour combination or pattern, with delivery 45-50 days from confirmation of order.

Two new markets have emerged recently for Wynvaye Industrial Co Ltd. Spokesperson Connie Wu says that both Egypt and India are proving promising. There is a good market generally, she says, for developing new products, especially linen/cotton or linen/rayon. Wynvaye is not much affected by the Asian economic crisis as it supplies to major brand names such as Levi's and Fila Sports.

Wynvaye manufactures up to about 700,000 yards in yarn-dyed finished fabrics a month, and "unlimited" yardage for piece-dyed fabrics.

Typical prices, FOB Hong Kong, range from US$1.70 per yard for 55% linen/45% cotton washable colour-dyed (light), with 42/43-inch width, to US$7.50 per yard for 100% linen yarn-dyed stripe, with 57/58-inch width.

The minimum sample yardage for yarn-dyed is 500 yards per colour, charged at fabric price plus 15%. Bulk yardage is otherwise 2,000 yards per colour, per order. The minimum order for piece-dyed is 3,000 yards per colour, per order.

Delivery for yarn-dyed is from 35 days after the handloom approval for sample yardage, and 55-50 days after handloom approval for bulk yardage. For piece-dyed, delivery is 45 days after lab-dip confirmation.

Written by Alan M Abrahams

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