31 July 2007
Comfort Counts(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 08,2007)
Lingerie & Swimwear
|Legend Swimwear Fty Ltd's eye-catching swimsuit range features a fully-lined one-piece costume in white with tattoo print and a beaded black bikini top with embroidered bottoms|
Comfort is the key factor in lingerie design, with softer fabrics, enticing trims, colour, embroidery and prints leading the fashion trends, while vibrant, contrasting patterns are adding style to swimwear
Displaying attention to current fashion trends is All Faith (FE) Co Ltd, which specialises in stylish lingerie for ladies including brassieres, briefs, corsets, bodysuits and nightdresses. The firm also offers men's pants.
The company manufactures around 280,000 brassieres and some 500,000 briefs per month at its 330-worker, 20,000-square-foot factory in Shenzhen on the Chinese mainland.
"Each season, we offer 70-80 styles," explains merchandising manager Christie Ho, adding that fashionable brassiere-and-pants sets are the most popular. "Our average price for brassieres is US$4 and up, and US$1.50-plus for matching briefs."
The minimum order is 6,000 pieces per style for two colours, with initial orders taking around 75 days and repeat orders 45 days, depending on the style.
Europe accounts for 70% of exports, but other important markets include the US and Canada, Australia, Sweden, Finland and Asia. "We are also interested in Russia, and started to export there last year," Ho reveals.
She notes increasing competition in the industry, but says All Faith aims to keep its customers and add new ones by providing excellent quality and design for the medium-market. "In addition, we will explore new markets in Eastern European countries such as Poland, and expand our business in Asia."
Also targeting the fashion-lingerie market is Charmco Underwear, which produces underwear for women, men and children. The company designs from its main office in France and manufactures on the mainland, and in Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines.
"Our Hong Kong office concentrates on markets outside Europe as well as production," explains general manager Morgan Chevassus. "Some 80%-85% of our products are manufactured on the mainland, and we produce our own Intimea brand as well as OEM."
Chevassus says Charmco's key strengths are its underwear pockets and women's lingerie. "We feature two collections a year - summer and winter - which initially comprise 300-400 styles, of which we select 40-50 for our catalogue," he notes.
Sets of fancy elegant underwear for the low-medium market range are priced from US$3-5 FOB China for a brassiere and boxer-style pants set, including hanger and packaging. Minimum orders of 3,000 sets of lingerie or 5,000 pockets are delivered in 30-40 days after order confirmation, dependent on quantity.
Europe accounts for 65% of Charmco's business, with other important markets include Australia and Malaysia. "We are also moving more into Asia and see Russia as a big potential market," Chevassus says.
Veteran, 51-year-old Kinway Garments Ltd caters to OEM and ODM orders for lingerie, swimwear and denimwear, as well as its Chariot brand, producing at associated factories in the mainland's Guangdong Province.
"We have a large showroom showcasing 40-50 styles of lingerie and some 30 swimwear designs," explains director Rosa Lai. "Our swimwear patterns change every season and we offer about 100 patterns, mostly in nylon fabric," she says, adding that the bikini remains more popular than the one-piece costume.
"The basic T-shirt brassiere is in strong demand in comfortable Tactel or Lycra, or a mixture of both," explains Lai. "While basic lingerie shapes remain the same, each season we feature new colours and changes in strap patterns or trimmings, adding lace edging on the cup for added style."
The company also produces fancy lingerie, maternity brassieres and matching knickers, and multifunction and sports brassieres.
Lai notes that lingerie products are sold mostly in sets of padded brassieres, unpadded brassieres and matching thong, bikini and boy legpants, and corset and chemise.
Kinway's lingerie prices range from US$3.00-4.50 per brassiere, US$2-3 for pants and US$5.30-6.30 for swimwear, FOB Hong Kong, for "flexible" minimum orders delivered in 90 days, depending on quantity.
"Our market is mainly Europe, including Scandinavia, Germany and the UK," says Lai. "We also want to develop our swimwear business in South Africa, Australia and South America, for year-round production."
Legend Swimwear Fty Ltd keeps its focus firmly on one- and two-piece swimwear, as well as cover-ups and pareos, producing 600,000 pieces per month at its 60,000-square-metre, 2,000-worker factory in Shunde, Guangdong Province.
"Our production is equally divided between ODM and OEM orders, and we manufacture our own Misskini brand collection," explains merchandising manager Kennis Cheung.
This 12-year-old, ISO 9001-certified company acknowledges environmental concerns. "We have ISO 14001 and Oeko-Tex certification, which is important for the European market," she explains.
"We offer a very wide range of styles and our bikinis are equally divided between wire and triangle cups. Our one-piece swimsuits feature soft cups and tummy control as they are most popular with larger ladies."
The average price of a one- or two-piece swimsuit is around US$5 per piece, depending on style and quantity, for a minimum order of 1,000 pieces per style. Approval of fabric and sample fitting takes approximately eight weeks.
"Europe accounts for 90% of our exports, but Australia and the US are also important, and we have recently entered Eastern Europe," Cheung notes.
Markets around the world trust Hong Kong's expertise in production and design for these most intimate sectors of the clothing industry.