Sustainable development and environmental preservation are two current hot topics, but how these be practically implemented?
The local apparel industry is facing plenty of challenges. Regarding sustainable development, manufacturers were concerned about applying it in design and production and its impact on production cost and efficiency. They also had to respond to the new standards of fashion where consumers were asking for an increasingly individualised experience. Furthermore, the uncertainties of the ongoing US-China trade war might force manufacturers to enter survival mode.
DBS BusinessClass Apparel Disrupt was successfully held on November 6 with over 300 participants. The event focused on the industry’s pain points, it gathered local experts and leaders to share their insights on how technology turn around and reduce risks. Both internationally renowned brand and Hong Kong local industries succeeded in turning recyclable wastes into useful materials.
This year’s Apparel Disrupt event started with a very impressive fashion show.
DBS is committed to promoting local industries with technological advancement
Mr. Alex Cheung, Managing Director, Head of Institutional Banking Group, DBS Bank (Hong Kong) Limited, mentioned that DBS BusinessClass was established almost three years ago with over 150,000 members across Asia at present. BusinessClass would continue to organise online and offline events that promote revolutionary innovation ideas as all industries had been significantly altered by technological advancement. The core mission of BusinessClass was to conduct Disrupt events of different themes to engage participants to learn about the challenges and opportunities for the industry.
Mr. Alex Cheung, Managing Director, Head of Institutional Banking Group of DBS Bank(Hong Kong) delivered a welcome speech for the event.
There were two eye-opening fashion shows featuring sustainable fashion by local designers echoing the theme of Disrupt.
From market pain points to the future of textile industry
Three reputable thought leaders were invited as the keynote speakers, including Mr. Edwin Keh, CEO of the Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel Limited (HKRITA), Ms. Hanna Hallin, Sustainability Manager, H&M Greater China and Mr. Stanley Szeto, Chairman of Hong Kong Textile Council to share their insights on the key industry trends.
Reviving the “Made in Hong Kong” brand in fashion
Mr. Edwin Keh, CEO of The Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel Limited (HKRITA) mentioned that HKRITA and H&M ventured on a four-year partnership to develop technologies using chemical and biological processes to break down the components of garments made with blended materials to recover the raw materials. They achieved a breakthrough last year and successfully developed a hydrothermal treatment by using high temperature and pressure to break down materials. The technique not only did cause no detriment to the original material but also required no large amount of chemicals that would otherwise cause pollution. Additionally, biological techniques could be applied to achieve the similar results.
Keh further introduced that they started industrialisation this year based on the results of another textile recycling technology, a mechanical treatment to upcycle post-consumer blends products. A factory was established in Tai Po to sterilise old clothing and then break them down and upcycle them into textile fibres. The daily production of the factory is expected to have 3 tons of recycled fibres when 3 production lines are installed. He described the technique as Hong Kong’s first as well as the world’s first research breakthrough. This could help expedite the city’s re-industrialisation to reinvigorate the once prosperous “Made in Hong Kong” scene.
Sustainable fashion being the new standard of textile industry
Ms. Hanna Hallin, Sustainability Manager, H&M Greater China, explained how H&M, as a leading fashion enterprise, demonstrated concern for as well as attention to sustainable development. She pointed out that H&M’s goal of 100% recycling and reusing was to fulfil its social responsibility so as to leverage the company’s impact to induce the industry together with consumers to focus on environmental preservation and sustainable development.
Hallin also noted that the company desired to meet by 2040 on its target to address the global climate crisis actively. The measures included, by 2030, reducing the energy consumption of all its stores by 25%, using only renewable energy in internal operations, and gradually improving its supply.
Turning difficulties into opportunities from the Trade War
Mr. Stanley Szeto, Chairman of Hong Kong Textile Council and CEO of Lever Style Inc, shared his thoughts on the current headline of the US-China trade war. He summarised the reasons that caused the confrontation between the two countries and explained the unpredictability of the duration of the trade war based on current conditions.
As the manufacturing factories of many companies were in mainland China, he suggested owners to reduce their exposure to the risks associated with the trade war. The first consideration was to relocate the production line from mainland China. For companies with a significant proportion of equipment or equity in mainland China, he suggested that they could export goods to non-US markets or explore the local Chinese market to reduce risks.
Ms. Kim Wong, professor of Practice, ITC from PolyU; Mr. Max Ng, Production Control Director from Novetex Textiles Limited; Ms. Kay Liu, Education Director from Redress and Mr. Alexander Chan, Co-Director from The Mills Fabrica were invited to join a panel discussion on the challenges and opportunities that the garment industry is facing nowadays.
The event also featured many eye-opening experiences of innovative fashion design and technology.
Some exhibitors prepared plenty of new environmental-friendly clothing materials for everyone to have an in-depth understanding and experience.
If you don’t want to miss out on the next DBS BusinessClass Disrupt event, immediately subscribe to DBS BusinessClass, and become a member. You will join a network of industry experts, SMEs, and start-ups, and receive current market updates.