21 April 2004
Denim Bags(HKTDC Fashion - Leather Goods & Bags, Vol 02,2004)
Mayfair Far East Corp Ltd produces a wide variety of denim bags with eye-catching prints for export to the US, the UK, Japan and Italy
According to one US fashion magazine, denim is "one of the world's oldest fabrics that remains eternally young". If that is a clich, recall that scientists also predict that denim-covered solar panels will "clothe" buildings of the future. As a fashion fabric, denim retains a certain youthful and sexy image that remains particularly true for bags, which are sturdy, and ornamental while remaining ever practical.
This view is reinforced by Mayfair Far East Corp Ltd, which produces denim bags in novel photo-printed versions often carrying images of celebrities. These bags are hits with the younger set, according to director and marketing manager Desmond Tong.
"Denim is very versatile, and we produce many styles in printed fabrics and with trendy motif appliqus," he says. "The younger generation likes to carry tote bags that match their jeans, but there is really no age tag and we find that printed denim carries a special appeal."
Mayfair, founded in 1974, which also carries a wide range of leather and PVC bags, grew rapidly. "In 1986, we opened our own plant in Huadu City in Guangdong Province on the Chinese mainland," says Tong.
Noting that the production facility has a total area of 10,000 square metres, a 900-strong skilled workforce and a total monthly output of 250,000 bags, Tong adds, "We produce for various famous and trendy brand names in the US, the UK, Italy, and Japan. However, as we have confidentiality agreements I cannot disclose their names."
He says that in-house designers create bags produced for the company's Mondini and Bella Mondini labels, but not yet in denim.
A minimum order from Mayfair is 1,000 bags for delivery 60-75 days after confirmation of order, while FOB Hong Kong unit prices range from US$3.30-4.30.
Another leading producer, with more than 19 years' experience in the manufacture of bags, recently launched a line in denim. "Our denim hobo and tote bags are strong and attractive,"says Universal Handbag Fty Ltd marketing manager Gloria Ip. "We anticipate they will sell very well in our major markets in the UK, Japan and Italy as the style is both classic and trendy."
Noting that denim has had a big revival in recent years, and is once again a high fashion fabric, she says, "We also make belts and caps to match the bags and coordinate as outfits."
Universal sources high quality denim from the mainland, Taiwan and Korea. An 85,000-square-foot factory in Dongguan on the mainland that employs 400 workers produces 80,000 handbags a month. A minimum order is 300 bags per colour per style and delivery is promised in 4-6 weeks. Prices for the new line of denim bags are available on request.
Denim is often combined with suede and leather in bags made by Sparkle Wick Ltd. "We produce these bags for internationally famous brands like Kenneth Cole," says marketing director Raymond Chow.
"We use the finest quality denim, which is strong and waterproof, and we use suede and leather for decoration. Our half-moon shoulder bags also make a definite fashion statement and we also produce a small clutch bag that is suitable for many occasions," he says.
"Sales have climbed steadily in recent years, and we hope to see a bigger increase in 2004," he adds. "We gained ISO 9002 certification in 2000, while our quality control team has adopted the ISO 9000 standard."
The company, founded in 1990, produces a combined total of 395,000 items a month at its 7,000 square metre factory in Dongguan that employs 750 workers. A minimum order is 500-1,000 bags, depending on the style, and delivery takes 45-55 days after order confirmation. FOB Hong Kong unit prices range from US$3-6.
Meanwhile, according to Isabella Ng, director of Eva Bella Development Co Ltd, "Denim bags have always enjoyed steady sales. For the past two seasons, PVC seemed to be more popular but demand for denim remained good."
Ng says her company makes bags for several famous designer brands and also sells to large department stores in Europe, the US, Australia, Japan and South America.
"Our in-house R&D and design development teams produce new designs for our own seasonal collections which we market under the name of Evabella. In addition to strong, sturdy denim bags, we also produce PVC bags patched with denim," she adds.
The current rate of production of denim bags reaches 100,000 pieces a month, while a minimum order is 300 bags per style for delivery 30 days after confirmation. FOB Hong Kong unit prices for denim bags range from US$2-5.
Denim fabric comes from the mainland, Taiwan and Korea, for processing by 300 skilled workers at a 10,000-square-foot factory on the mainland. Founded in 1991, Eva Bella also makes fashion handbags and items of jewellery.
Showing that while demand for denim bags remains decidedly keen, Hong Kong will continue to deliver the best bags in the right format.
WRITTEN BY WINSOME LANE
Luen Yick Production Co Ltd
Flat 9, 14/F
Wah Wai Ind Centre
38-40 Au Pui Wan St
Fo Tan, New Territories
Nam Hung Handbags Industrial Ltd
Nam Fung Centre
264-298 Castle Peak Rd
Tsuen Wan, New Territories
Rms A & B, 6/F
131 Wo Yi Hop Rd
Kwai Chung, New Territories
Universal Handbag Fty Ltd
Flats D & E, 5/F
Good Dragon Bldg
184-190 Ki Lung St
Sham Shui Po, Kowloon
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