16 Sept 2005
Metal Buttons(HKTDC Fashion - Fabrics & Accessories, Vol 01,2006)
All Sewn Up
Metal buttons with interesting dimensions, textures and colour effects, for example, are the fort?of C & K Metal Mfy Ltd, a 20-year-old company that exports buttons and garment accessories to the US, Egypt, Poland, Germany, the UK and Pakistan.
"Our latest models include brass buttons in doughnut shapes, alloy variations with engraved chain patterns and rectangular styles in brilliant stripes," enthuses sales manager Kathy Lai.
"Rhinestone shank buttons and sewn-on buttons are popular in the high fashion market," she adds, "and we import Swarovski-style rhinestones from the Czech Republic and Austria."
Buttons are an important part of any garment, she maintains. "So much so that the right choice of button can stimulate sales of the coat or shirt or dress being considered. This is why we are investing more and more resources in design and product development," explains Lai.
Utilising brass sourced from Hong Kong and Korea, alloy from Australia, iron from Thailand and Japan and aluminium from the mainland, C & K produces up to one million pieces of buttons monthly at its 1,200-square-metre, IS0 9001-certified factory in Guangdong on the Chinese mainland. A minimum order is 5,000 buttons, for delivery 12 days after order confirmation.
Also employing rhinestone details and different colour effects is Champion Metal & Plastic Products Ltd. "We play with different finishing techniques such as sand- or enzyme-wash to achieve a raw-finish look on brass buttons," explains manager Terence Tsang, outlining the prevailing directions in button designs.
"Another notable range of ours draws inspiration from gadgets and items used in everyday life. We have a nostalgic compass design and a metal screw, for example, and these have now become bold and chic buttons for casual clothes and jeans," he adds.
Champion Metal & Plastic, established in 1996, exports buttons, buckles and eyelets to the US, France, Germany and the UK. Customers include international brands such as Lee, Wrangler, Quiksilver, Playboy, BCBG, and MECCA due to consistently good quality and service, claims Tsang.
"For example, we employ computerised engraving techniques to achieve the intricate details demanded by our clients," he claims, "and also provide technical advice to any customers encountering production problems."
Champion Metal & Plastic utilises brass and alloy imported from Europe at its 25,000-square-foot factory in Shenzhen. Monthly production reaches 700,000 buttons, and the minimum order requirement is flexible. Delivery usually takes 14 days after confirmation of order.
Established in 1965, Wai Sun Button Mfy Ltd is highly experienced in the production of a profusion of metal and plastic garment haberdashery. In buttons alone, the firm offers more than 100 new designs each year.
"Large-sized buttons are in vogue, usually the 40L-60L type used on jeans," says manager Eric Tam. "Recently, we also started to offer various skull-motif designs that are popular with young buyers."
Noting that the skull motif is very fashionable in the market, particularly with international fashion brands, he feels that the cross will be the next "rave" item in buttons.
Wai Sun sources brass and alloy from Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and the mainland. Processing into metal buttons takes place at two plants in Guangdong Province that cover an area of 100,000 square feet and employ 1,000 workers.
"Buttons for jeans, snap buttons and shank buttons are our best-selling items," says Tam. "We choose only superior raw materials to ensure consistent quality, and we pay particular attention to the electroplating stage."
Wai Sun is ISO 9001- and Oeko-Tex Standard 100-certified, and exports its products worldwide. Production capacity is 15 million metal buttons a month, and a minimum order is 5,000 pieces for delivery of 10 days after order confirmation.
Also carving out a competitive edge through innovative design is button maker D & G Industrial Co Ltd, which produces jeans buttons, rivets and snap buttons used on denim garments, high-fashion apparel, down coats, children's wear, raincoats and even bags and belts.
"Our R&D team takes the initiative to develop new manufacturing techniques as well as designs," informs marketing manager Sharon Lam. "We offer more than 200 new styles each season, either especially for brand-name customers or under our own D & G name."
According to Lam, recent best-selling designs include snap buttons with shiny spray-on colours, and double-plated colour rivets. Buttons with big, fancy caps are also in demand.
"We also have fashionable metal buttons featuring an enamel, resin or epoxy finish, and all are tested nickel- and azo-free," notes Lam.
Importing steel, brass, stainless steel, alloy and nylon from Australia, Japan, Korea and Taiwan, Lam emphasises D & G's strength in combining different materials and employing quality finishing to create original designs.
D & G operates a 20,000-square-metre factory in Dongguan on the mainland that is equipped with computerised die-casting equipment and advanced machinery to improve the electroplating quality. The plant is ISO 9001-certified, in addition to Oeko-Tex Standard 100.
Achieving a monthly production capacity of 400 million pieces, D & G requires a minimum order of 15,000 sets of buttons or 50,000 sets of rivets for delivery 12 days after order confirmation.
With such a kaleidoscope of creative designs, excellent quality and attention to details, it is little wonder that worldwide buyers find Hong Kong metal buttons a snap.
WRITTEN BY WINNIE HUI
Champion Metal & Plastic Products Ltd
Everbright Buttons Mfg Co Ltd
Sing May Trading HK Co