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Friday, April 6, 2012

Day 8 Part 1 - Thursday, April 5th

Our third day began with a brisk walk to The Hong Kong Polytechnic University where we were greeted by Dr. Chris Lo and Ms. Paulene Hsia. The presentation began with a video showing “A Day in the Life” of a typical PolyU international student. The video showed many similarities between universities in Hong Kong and the United States. The presentation jumped along to an amazing 4D look book, which featured high fashion designs from current and past students. This look book is a tool that is used by the students each year to present their midterm and final collections. This 4D technology is also used by students to present projects for the World Retail Congress competition. In this competition, design schools from across the globe receive a case briefing six months prior to the actual competition where they present their final project.

Dr. Lo advised a group of four students from PolyU throughout the competition and led them to victory in 2011. In this year, the case briefing requested each team to choose a brand from their home country that could be placed in a department store. The PolyU chose to update a traditional Chinese brand with modern concepts from today’s fashion trends. One futuristic example in their marketing strategy was the use of a magic mirror which displayed potential customers in the brand’s clothing as they walked by the store front. Throughout the development of this presentation, the students made use of many different technologies such as state of the art graphic design, exemplifying the uniqueness of a polytechnic university.

Dr. Lo then shared his knowledge regarding the growing China market, especially the e-commerce business. Just like the United States, China has developed their own versions of Groupon and E-bay, as well as social networking sites. They even have a search engine more popular than Google known as Baidu, whose network of users is greater than the population of the United States!

Next, we were given a tour of the Institute of Textiles and Clothing or ITC as it is most commonly known. With access to high tech sewing, surging and weaving machines, the students are able to create extravagant pieces. Since the students have 24 hour access to studios with dress forms and large cutting tables, the collections produced demonstrate a high fashion aesthetic.

After the presentation and tour we ate lunch at a Dim Sum restaurant on campus where we shared traditional Chinese cuisine that rotated around the table on a Lazy Susan. This manner of eating meals is a prime of example of the Chinese collective culture, which differs greatly from our American individualistic tendencies. This is a common thread we noticed throughout all three cities that we have visited.

Afterward, we visited a factory where Timberland, Abercrombie & Fitch, and American Eagle denim is produced. We were given a tour highlighting the different steps of the process from taking the yarn and establishing a wash to the shipping of the denim to factories in China where jeans are assembled. The factory featured twelve different types of denim, which are created on 144 machines throughout the facility by 300 employees. One of the greatest insights into the denim creation is the use of different threading methods to create the fabric. It was an eye-opening experience to see where and how the denim that we wear every day is produced.

Today was a day that was full of cultural and educational experiences that helped us sew together the seams of presentations and tours we have seen on this trip.

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