Established in 1991, China National Garment Association (CNGA) is a self-disciplining, nonprofit and nationwide intermediary organization serving China's garment industry. In line with the principle of promoting development of garment industry, CNGA offers related services for government, industry and society. Secretariat comprises Administration Department, Membership Department, Industry Department, Information Department, Exhibition Department and Liaison Department. Additionally, there are eight sectoral commissions namely, Men's Wear, Women's Wear, Children's Wear, Downwear and Related Products, Casual Wear, Accessories, Garment Auxiliary Material and Underwear. Other special entities like National Apparel Standardization Technical Committee, Research Institute of Industrial Economy and Beijing Fashion-Expo Co, Ltd have also been set up to promote the industry. CNGA has over 1400 major members, which cover majority of original apparel brands from China. Furthermore, well-known apparel cities and townships in China are also appointed as Director Unit and drive the development of industry bases together with CNGA. Born 1942, in Qiqihaer-Heilongjiang Province, Mr Du Yuzhou is the President of CNGA. He belongs to the Manchu dynasty and holds credentials as Senior Architect and Professor. Graduated from Tsinghua University in 1966, Mr Yuzhou had served the Designing Institute of the Ministry of Textile as its Chief. Since 1985, Mr Yuzhou has taken up several responsible positions like Vice-Minister of the Ministry of Textile, the President of China National Textile & Apparel Council (CNTAC) and the Vice-President of the China National Federation of Textile Industry. He is also the Chairman of China National Federation of Textile Manufactures (CNFTM). Face2Face team approached Mr Du Yuzhou for his views on current Chinese apparel and garment industry, its future on the retail and fashion fronts and the role of CNGA being one of the important functional-wings of Chinese Government.
How effective and successful has been CNGA promoting not only the industry but its entities, realizing its core activities and functions?
CNGA has been working on the industrial restructuring and innovation of the growth pattern for many years, bearing the mission of improving the quality and development of China’s apparel industry. We are happy to see that after years of development, the structure of apparel industry in China is improving, while the growth pattern is also undergoing changes. A bunch of Chinese original brands begin to stand out and become the new force in the development of the apparel industry in China.
In the early 1990s we put forward the brand strategy as the general strategy for the industry. Since the beginning of Eleventh Five Year Plan, we have attached a great importance to building the self-owned brands on the basis of technological advancement and self innovation, and make increasing contribution rate of science and technology and that of brand as the major tasks of transforming growth pattern and facilitating industrial restructuring and upgrade, as well as the basic elements in improving industrial distribution, regulating market order and sharpen competitive edge.
When we are talking about the contribution rate of science and technology, we refer to equip enterprises with the latest technology and increase the investment on R&D. Chinese companies are now investing more on technology, and advanced technology is applied by the apparel industry more frequently and rapidly.
Contribution rate of brand means the important role that brand plays in lifting a company and even an industry. It is composed of four major factors, namely quality, innovation, quick response and social responsibility. ‘Quality’ is the life of a brand and reflected in the quality of processing and the skill level of labour force. ‘Innovation’ is the soul of a brand. Originality of a brand culture is reflected in the understanding of color, texture, style and lifestyle. ‘Quick response’ is the vigor of a brand. It is reflected in the upgrading traditional industry, setting up modern marketing network, implementing electronic management and online business through information. Social responsibility refers to the ethic criteria of a brand, including resource saving, environment-friendly, company credit, human harmony, and the like. No brand could go far without sound ethic criteria.
On the basis of promoting brand development and strengthening social responsibility, we expanded industrial diplomacy, creating a better environment for the communication and cooperation between Chinese and overseas apparel industry. Under today’s circumstances of economic globalization, no countries could stay away the relationship of cooperation and competition no matter how different they are in terms of opportunity they are facing, the development level and path. Over the past years, we have established sound dialogue mechanism with the apparel industry organizations of other countries, including those from Asia. We have also built sound cooperative relationship with well-known fashion brands and international sourcing and retailing industries. We have strengthened the connection with the world and boosted mutual prosperity.
Our tasks also include: protect intellectual property rights, safeguard the interest of the industry by formulating industry regulations and administering industry behaviors; research and analyze the industry development and market trends in China and abroad, participate in drafting industry development strategy, raise suggestions on policies and legislations to the government, provide information and consultation services to companies, hold various personnel education and training, join in the formulation and amendment of industry standards, organize the implementation of the standards, and so on.
CNGA was closely associated with 2007 Asian Super Model Contest held recently. What is CNGA’s contribution to furthering the interests of fashion industry, in particular?
As I have mentioned above, originality of apparel culture reflects the understanding and expression of real life by a fashion designer. Design has a significant influence on consumption. That’s why we have done more on fostering and promoting designers and designer brands.
Every year, we organize relative institutes to carry out researches on the fashion trends in terms of colour, pattern and style, and launch trend release twice a year for S/S and F/W seasons. To drive the development of the apparel brands, CNGA ranks top 100 Companies in terms of their performance, and holds CNGA Awards events in the principle of being tested by market. As for market expansion, CHIC has created the largest fashion fortune opportunity for the apparel industry in China and even in the Asia-Pacific region. With regard to industrial ideology, China Fashion Forum tests the intelligence of the practitioner in China’s apparel industry. All of these have laid a solid foundation for the development of China’s fashion industry.
Last October, Frankie Xie displayed his brand JEFEN on the stage of Paris Fashion Week. This is the first time that a Chinese designer’s brand walks on Paris Fashion Week and received a lot of applause from the western fashion world and media. In February 2007, JEFEN and another brand WUYONG displayed their works on the stage of Paris Fashion Week and won the recognition of the world again. This marks the growth of the Chinese fashion designers and the achievement that Chinese brands have made. This is the result of constant work we have done to promote development of China’s apparel brands.
Europe and the US has been putting pressure on capping Chinese exports of textiles and garments. What are the long and short term effects of such acts on the domestic small, medium and large scale Chinese manufacturers?
EU and the US have a significant influence on Chinese apparel manufacturers, especially those small ones. They may probably lose these markets under this pressure. But for those companies with own advantages, their profit may be affected negatively, but they will increase investment. Although their cost is higher, their competitiveness and company level will rise accordingly. This is the direction of the whole industry. I believe the key to success is the constant improvement in quality.
DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.