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Monday, March 21, 2011

March 21: Manufacturing Monday

Today was our first sunny day in Hong Kong! We started off the day with a presentation and tour of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. This university is known for its "three-legged stool" approach to design: a fusion of fashion technology, fashion design, and fashion business. A 4-D movie presentation highlighted some of the University's innovative work, using a technology which surpasses most of that seen at universities in the United States. Anne, the marketing officer, took us on a tour of the program's facilities, where we were able to see the studios and workshops for the University's second largest degree program. The Textile and Apparel Design student were quite impressed, and Jerry had a hard time pulling them away from the amazing showcases.

At the 4-D presentation

A show room at the HKPU


After a tasty lunch at the University, we were treated to a presentation by Meg Side, Product Manager, and Pero Lee, Design Manager of Simply Vera for Kohl's who operate out of the New York Design Office. They gave us an inside look into the product development process for Simply Vera's fall line. There was definitely an emphasis on being detail oriented, following up and communicating, concepts important to many careers. It was great to see an actual Tech Pack and gain an inside view into what it is like to design for such a recognized brand. Then we learned about amazing career and internship opportunities at Kohl's from Liz and Melissa as we made our way to the factories.

Walking to the CFL
Hearing about the design process made us eager to learn more about clothing production along the supply chain. The denim factory, Central Fabrics Limited, was especially interesting as it gave us insight into the early stages of clothing production- textile manufacturing. When we arrived at the factory we were greeted with earplugs and face masks. No photos were allowed inside the factory but we witnessed the weaving, dyeing and finishing processes that go into making this everyday wardrobe staple. Jeans are not actually made at the factory, but the 1,600 yards of denim made per day go to factories that produce jean products for Gap, American Eagle, Silver and the like. During the Q & A session we were provided with an interesting juice box assortment that included melon flavored soy milk and chrysanthemum tea.

Beautiful view of the harbor, on our way to the L + H Sweater factory.

On the way to the sweater factory we witnessed a beautiful view of the harbor. This factory was unlike the previous ones we have seen on this trip, as it was much smaller and produced knit-wear, such as sweaters, hats and scarves. The factory called Love Plus Hope manufactures their own brand of apparel as well as apparel and accessories for luxury retailers. Love Plus Hope is a manufacturing business focused on financial and social sustainability. This company provides job opportunities for people with manufacturing skills in an area where these jobs are few between. It was fascinating to see a factory that can maintain such a high level of standards while still reaching the bottom line.

At the L + H Sweater Factory

Li & Fung USA hosted a dinner for us at the Watermark Restaurant which provided amazing views and awesome food. It was a great way to end the day. Students were treated to several courses, and many had the opportunity to talk with Deborah Vinson, Senior Vice President, and gain more perspective on the workings of Li and Fung.

Some of the ladies at the Watermark
Ali Wangard, Anna Turner, & Julia Vasylenko


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