by Diva Georgene
My latest design job took me to Korea and Northern China for most of the month of May. Shenyang China is a stone’s throw from Seoul (less than 2 hrs flight), a thriving little town of about 4 million. As if that wasn’t far enough, I had to take a 2 1/2 hr drive to the town of Yingkou to get the factory where I would be setting the designs up for a Holiday 2006 knitted women’s suit collection.
In this far-off place I found an extremely modern well equiped factory with state of the art German knitting machines from Stoll.
The embroidery department was awe-inspiring with multi-head machines.
I did get to take a couple of field trips to the wholesale fabric and trims market in a nearby town. The market opens in the middle of the night so that people from far-flung places can come and make their purchases and get back to their shops in time to open for business at the regular hour. By 2 or 3 in the afternoon it becomes deserted.
Above is MariAn, my translator. I traveled with a team, including 2 Chinese-speaking Korean technicians, and MariAn. She not only had to translate, she had to learn about knitting technology in order to be able to explain my comments to the technicians (who had only a smattering of English) and to the factory.
Its a covered 2-story market with row after row of alley-like streets of small shops. Some are no bigger than a walk-in closet in an Upper West Side NYC pre-war apartment. (5’x8′?) Most shops have a specialty – hang tags and size tickets in one, fusibles in another. Yet another nearby with elastic and buttons, another with rivets and snaps, but no sew thru buttons.
It was amazing, becuase I’m sure that those of us who search in despair for that perfect button or trim, and sigh at the lack of choice – what would you say to an acre of tiny shops with everything under the sun??
In spite of the vastness of the selection, I couldn’t find the precise buttons and buckles I needed, so I got sent back to Seoul to go to the market there. I will tell you all about that on another post.
PS Please do not invite me for Chinese food for at least 6 months or a year, OK?