A visit to Nien Hsing Textile Jeans- the 5 th biggest in the world
I was curious to visit a garment empire, that their moto is:" Dare to be different. Dare to make your own decision".
Honestly I didn’t know what to expect , when i took the train from central Taipei to Miaoli County (90 minutes) to arrive in Nien Hsing Textile jeans, that is considered as the largest jeans corporation in Asia, and one of the five biggest producers in the world.
Nien Hsing Textile-photos Gili Mazza:in the middle with Ms. Andy Becca and Mrs. Sandy chung-chen
What are we talking about?
Nien Hsing Textile manufacture for labels as: Levies, Tommy Hilfiger, Wrangler, Gap, American Eagle, Abercrombie & Fitch. Just to get the scale, they are producing about 10,000 jeans per day.
Who welcome me
I got a warm welcome from the main leading team of the company, as a special guest of Mrs. Sandy Chung-Chen, the wife of Mr. Richard Chen a local Tycoon, that is running one of the most successful business in the textile world.
The modest Mrs. Sandy, joined this exciting tour between all the stages of production: from raw cotton piles, through spinning by robots and other methods with strict quality control.
stages from cotton piles to spinning -photos Gili Mazza
How it all began
Probably the small town of Miaoli in Taiwan, wasn’t becoming famous unless Mr. Hen Ron Chen wasn’t starting at the age of 16, his garment manufacturing career. after few years of hard working, at 1988 he founded the first fabric mill in HouLong, Taiwan that did outrageous expansion when in 1992, was listed on Taiwan Stock Exchange.
At it's prime, the corporation owned 15 production-sites over three continents; employing more than 40,000 workers around the world: Lesotho-south Africa, Nicaragua, Mexico, Cambodia and Vietnam.
"The key of growing from good to great is to believe in yourself”, was part of the vision of Mr. Hen Chu, that after nearly 40 years in leading Nien Hsing, he handed it over to the second generation-his sun Mr. Richard Chen, who is the chairman.
Hurray to women's labor
I just want to put it here-11,000 of the overall corporation are women, which are 80% of the workers. during this private tour I saw hundreds of women with ear plugs, doing paper work or dealing with huge machines-robots that I was prohibited to photograph. they looked to me devoted to their technique of spinning, sewing, warping, inspection quality or handling most of the accounting work.
delicate touch in Nien Hsing production line-photos Gili Mazza
"Sewing is a skill, that require attention to details. women are known for their ability to handle more delicate works. we employ mostly women and treat them as an important force in the family support economy ", said Mrs. Sandy Chung-Chen, and made me feel like here we are talking about empathy and human values, that aren’t so familiar in mass production, home to economic giants that are targeting on fortune making.
Charity and legacy
I was inspired to hear Mrs. Chung explaining how NHT is providing workers with suitable living conditions and a decent orientation program, which is done in partnership with the Miaoli local government.
She told me that giving back to the society, is a value that Mr. Chen started after his retirement. “Chen Ching Po Fund”, is one of the most active charity group that help the students in difficult conditions in Miao Li Province, and have already sponsored millions of NTD in the last decade.
It's not a secret that the youthful approach to sports-casual dressing is blurring the lines between denim and activewear. In later years the story mashes up elements of true athletic wear and urban sports, cross-pollinating various styles, details, patterns and insignia to create hybrid designs.
Active jeans epitomize the casual nature of outdoor apparel, resembling and styled like an everyday jeans. the active jeans of Nien Hsing offers better stretch than ever before, so you can wear them to do light jogging, climbing, skateboarding, biking or even bending down easily for instance to lift your baby and still feel comfortable.
cropped jeans and hybrid designs:photos Gili Mazza
In the offices of the corporation in Neihu District, Taipei i saw how the detailed models are including protective reinforced knee details and trap unto stitch day's denim.
To serve the current needs of the market, NH producing cropped jeans, that fits to show off , wide cuts just above the ankle and wide-leg trouser that continues to be a key item creating eye-catching looks that appeal to youth-focused brands.
Other new trends
Slim to skinny fits: retro high-rise fits and stretch is continuing to take an important role. denim was always the choice for people who needed sturdy, protective workwear. dyneme is the strongest and most durable fiber in the world. "we utilize the latest finishing combined with latest lycra beauty fibers, to create skinny but extremely comfortable jeans", explained me Mr. Henry Hsu the sales director of the fabric division.
Bi-Stretch: means the fabric does not only move sideways (left -right direction), but also vertically (up-down direction), So the fabric is more flexible in every direction, which makes it maximum comfortable to wear.
New materials: polyester that came from recycle bottles are recently very popular. other functional materials such as Coolmax, Thermolite, or even fibers made from paper are also new.
A mandatory work, in the latest years is to reduce the need of harmful chemicals or excess water, and this trend is applied in laser technology and ozone washing - which redesign the process to replicate the look of denim bleaching with sustainable finishing techniques.
What does it means in practice?
Use of less water, as dye bath are now done with reduced rinsing, ozone recycled yarns . dyeing with no salt and reduced alkali in either fabric or garment stage, is energy saving due to the fact that dye process is shorter, at lower temperature with overall reduction in energy consumption. the impression is that being resourceful has never been so important.
My personal touch
I was privileged to see the new collection: "infinity", jeans with the innovation of reactive color with the eco advantages I mentioned above. I loved the washed matte pink, lemon-yellow, pistachios- green, refined- red that has amazing vintage look.
Later I got a surprising package of the new shorts arrivals. I must admit that I never bought one, as I was trapped in the cliché that it's not for my age. I mean my "formal" age, not the mental one.
As I love patchwork and embroidery, I had an idea to add some samples I bought in Dihua district in Taipei, the retail stores area. I went to a tailor who who stitched the patches near useful pockets.
Why I amuse modeling NHT jeans
I asked for a professional portfolio of the joyful vintage jeans and the shorts and the answer was that it hasn’t been yet photographed. So to be able to post this review, I asked my colleague who likes to photo mainly insects and birds, to catch the duty.
I know that shooting other then miniature creatures, isn’t included in his preferred menu, but he was challenged to make the trial with me, although we had no pretentions to look professional without the basic conditions of light equipment, proper makeup or styling.
Mr. X who asked me to stay anonymous and I do hope, that the results will satisfy the audience, and we love to try and do better in the background of Formosa Taiwan.
we totally agree with the statement of Mr. Richard Chen the Chairman that said: "It’s an exciting and changeable time, with new technologies entering the market daily, pushing innovation to new ends".
bottom:the patches i added-photos Gili Mazza
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