Monday, January 13, 2014

Button Up: LUTHAI Textile Co. Expansion-NYC


It wasn't until we began attending tradeshows-that an understanding of licenses/licensees in the fashion, footwear, beauty---etc---markets, led to a better understanding of who does what.

As in-we had heard that two German companies were responsible for all the high quality make-up pencils (for eyes, lips, cheeks, etc)…no matter the label sold under. And when we went to a Make-Up In NY show- we discovered just that. Figuring different companies get to tailor their requests…but at the end of the day, it's made by one of two entities. 

And so it is with long sleeve button downs-like the ones pictured above. It turns out 35% of the USA market for that is made by Luthai Textile Co, LTD, -a fully integrated company that opened a Big Apple office (1450 Broadway)…last week.

That's some stat---with customers ranging from Lands End, Brooks Brothers, Macy's etc…and Arrow shirts- for whom a supeluxe stitch less short was developed. 

Via email (and a translator) -we asked a few questions about the company and the founder---curious how such an entrepreneurial company established itself in an environment which no doubt, was challenging at times.

Who is the founder of Luthai and what is his background?  Did he study textiles in school or was it a family business? Or did he work somewhere prior before starting up his company? I ask because it is amazing that Luthai is so huge and entrepreneurial in actions. 

The founder’s name is Mr.Liu Shi-zhen (born 1940). He built the company in  1987, and it was called Zibo No.7 Cotton Mill, a local collectively-owned  enterprise.  In 1990 the company was changed to a foreign investment company, and the name was changed to Luthai Textile CO., LTD. 

Liu Shi-zhen did not have any background in textiles.  Previously he had been in the coal mining industry in same area in Zibo,Shandong,a north city in China. The company is successful because of his pioneering spirit.

Where is the cotton sourced from…and do they have fabrics that are certified organic?

Luthai:Luthai has its own cotton field in Xinjiang, an autonomous region, northwest of China.  Luthai also imports  some cotton from the USA and Egypt. Yes, Luthai has certificated organic cotton, and we develop a lot of several eco-friend products.

Are there different regional styles that are favored, as Luthai provides its products globally?  Does the company see different looks requested by country, continent, etc.? Do the prints or color requests vary?

Yes, since Luthai is the world biggest yarn-dyed shirting fabric,yearly production 178 million meters,we also produce solid dyed shirt fabric 80million meters and 20millions pieces of shirts yearly,the market which covers USA,Europe,Japan and other 30 countries and areas.Every year we ship hundreds of thousands of different colors,designs,styles and different styles of products to different markets and customers.  We always try our best to build on the global fashion trends, we recently opened a design center in Milan, Italy, and we are constantly striving to enhance customer service.

How fast is the women's market growing? Is it harder (more production steps) to make a women's shirt? 

Our main focus is on men's dress shirts, but we also produce some women's shirt with pure cotton, cotton strech fabric, cotton-silk, cotton-cashmere, cotton-nylon. We developed the world first piece of lady's seamless pure cotton shirt also, which we believe will be a favorite.

Does Luthai have plans to offer custom shirts online?
Now, we have on line business inside of China under the brand name: BESSSHIRT.(佰杰斯)

Lastly, the seamless shirt-with the snaps developed for Arrow-what is the target market for that?   
Stitchless shirt-can feel the differences at the seams. ALso-snaps-not buttons, seal the deal

This new innovation features all natural fibers, specifically a pure cotton seamless shirts that is high end and a "top class" wrinkle-free dress shirts.  Also, this process removes barriers that incur from traditional sewing techniques, and offers tremendous potential and opportunities for fashion design and development because of the shirts  can be designed ( like playing blocks), without consideration for complicated sewing; it offers designers room for design imagination. In Europe the program was successful for  HUGO BOSS, and we hope more and more premium brands can enjoy this innovation.