Go EAST, Young Man!

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by quill, Apr 11, 2005.

  1. quill

    quill Senior member

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    Gone are the days of a pilgrim headin' out West to conquer new frontiers. Or so it seems. Have any of you (or most of you) heard or noticed that China is quickly becoming the choice de rigueur and le dernier cri (the latest fashion) in textile production? Seems like major designers and design houses are outsourcing much of their production to Asia (which has always been somewhat true) and ever more of it to China. From fabrics to footwear, it seems like China will have in the next few years the cachet of Italy or Brazil, for certain products. I've even heard that some designers are starting to tout China as a source. Do you see China overcoming the stigma it's had for so many years as a place of cheaper quality production? Will China become an even bigger economic player in the very near future, as regards apparel? I'd like to hear from anyone who knows more about this. Thanks.
     


  2. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    Remember that all things "Made in Japan" used to be synonymous with poor quality. Already, major Saville Row houses are banking on the mystique of *some* parts of China to sell "Shanghai Bespoke".
     


  3. Mike C.

    Mike C. Senior member

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    China's factories are becoming very modern, along with producing better quality goods. China is also becoming increasingly more expensive as well. All this is from a conversation with a leading US importer of apparel.

    While quality is increasing in China, I still think they are a ways off from shedding their image as a crappy good maufacturer; certainly nowhere near on par with Italy.

    As for China's future, their economies of scale are tough to beat and will continue to improve in the future. However, cheaper maufacturers will still be soughout in SE Asia. It will be interesting to see how much their prices will continue to increase in the next 10 years, and what size market share they will have.
     


  4. johnnynorman3

    johnnynorman3 Senior member

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    In terms of private tailoring houses? I think that the Far East is reaching new heights in terms of reputation on that score (I can't tell you the number of non-Forum friends of mine who tell me -- not knowing I'm wearing a Chan suit or a Jantzen shirt -- that they are getting a custom suit on their trip to Hong Kong).

    In terms of outsourcing -- the proof is in the pudding. I have no problem with the quality of the Hong Kong shirtings put out by Polo (indeed, Black Label for women has almost exclusively Hong Kong shirtings, and they are great). If using China for cheaper labor, as opposed to cheaper labor at the expense of quality, becomes the norm, then I think the reputation will fade. As it stands now, however, too many "designers" have allowed their licenses to go to crappy production facilities. Therefore, the reputation of "Made in China" goods is largely earned.
     


  5. quill

    quill Senior member

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    Thank you, gentlemen.

    All very interesting takes on what seems to be a growing trend.

    It will indeed be interesting to see what happens over the next few years.
     


  6. Kaga

    Kaga Senior member

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    I won't look West until they pay for the damage they did to our embassy over the weekend.
     


  7. Carlo

    Carlo Senior member

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    For machine made products they will dominate. For example - they use the same machines others have, copy other designer's labels and sell fakes with absolutely no recognition of intellectual property rights.

    I think it is sad.
     


  8. quill

    quill Senior member

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    Thank you, Carlo. Beautiful website, by the way. Quite stunning.
     


  9. esquire.

    esquire. Senior member

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    Yes, China will become a bigger player in the textile industry simply because of the elimination of quotas from certain countries. Expect China to take a bigger chunk away from other developing countries which benefitted from these quotas.

    The increase in prices from China is a reflection of all the new technology being invested. However, I don't think labor costs will ever be a factor in increases in price because you have this huge pool of labor that will dampen that.

    Right now, China only copies designs from the West without respecting intelectual property rights. It will be interesting to see if they will be able to add their add twist on those designer labels. Look at what happened to china, the material, which originated in China but which was stolen by european countries. Today, you have companies like Wedgewood which produces something that the Chinese wouldn't have developed.
     


  10. T4phage

    T4phage Senior member

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    SILK.

    There are some extraordinary silks still being woven in China (albeit from tiny manufacturers), at least as good as what comes out of Como.
     


  11. quill

    quill Senior member

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    (esquire. @ April 11 2005,22:49) ..... Look at what happened to china, the material, which originated in China but which was stolen by european countries. Today, you have companies like Wedgewood which produces something that the Chinese wouldn't have developed.
    SILK. There are some extraordinary silks still being woven in China (albeit from tiny manufacturers), at least as good as what comes out of Como.
    I believe the Mantero mill in Como has already outsourced some of its actual tie production to China...which didn't sit well with other tessituras in Como, like Molinelli and a few others.
     


  12. Demeter

    Demeter Senior member

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    Do you see China overcoming the stigma it's had for so many years as a place of cheaper quality production? Will China become an even bigger economic player in the very near future, as regards apparel?
    Remember that all things "Made in Japan" used to be synonymous with poor quality. Already, major Saville Row houses are banking on the mystique of *some* parts of China to sell "Shanghai Bespoke".
    Very good point, actually. Way back when, the Japanese used molten metals from rusted out American cars to make theirs. However - and I'm no scientist here, so if my terminology is wrong, please correct me - the oxidized iron stayed in there and made for a very weak alloy. Later on as production progressed and they persevered... well, you know the rest. Supra, Skyline GTR, EVO, etc. I have absolutely no doubt that Chinese mills will soon not only overtake the global market, but completely eclipse almost all other firms. I also think the same can be said for other industries as well.
     


  13. montecristo#4

    montecristo#4 Senior member

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    I've got a good friend who is moving his LA factory, where he manufactures denim for high end labels, offshore to China. Inevitable cost of globalization.
     


  14. quill

    quill Senior member

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    Wow. That's pretty strong. Are we outsourcing ourselves to death? Seems like nobody in America actually makes anything anymore. That puts us in a very dependent situation. Look at Fifth Avenue real estate in NYC. Isn't a lot of it owned by foreign interests? And major motion picutre studios inn Hollywood...aren't a lot of them actually controlled by Asian companies now? Don't mean to start shifting the topic, but I'm getting a little nervous here...
     


  15. montecristo#4

    montecristo#4 Senior member

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