Jan 10, 2017 | By Lourdes Linares
Get more Denim insights as a WGSN subscriber
Another great Mill we discovered at the recent Kingpins New York trade show deserved its own separate blog post. Founded in 2012, 496 Fabric Lab is a brand new project launched by founder Wayne Chiang. His goal is to create a new market and interest for the Taiwanese textile industry.
We met Wayne at this July’s Kingpins trade show and 496 FABRIC LAB‘s huge range of jacquard fabrics really caught our eye. As previously reported, jacquard denims are trending pretty hard right now and so to see that extent of techniques, artworks and colors was pretty mind-blowing. The company was only founded in 2012, and at that time, the whole jacquard industry in Taiwan was facing a critical challenge from China, this was the company’s first trade show and so it was exciting to find out about the company, right at its infancy.
We asked Wayne a few questions about how he got into the Jacquard business and what his plans were for the brand new company.
“Due to the high value but limited production capacity, we chose Jacquard fabrics as our first strategy product to develop with among all the textile industry in Taiwan. We have over 30 years experience of manufacturing jacquard fabrics but being innovative is part of our DNA, so we combined the Denim concept with Jacquard techniques.”
And what was your experience before starting this company?
“Our president, Mr. Chi -Wu, Chiang (A.K.A my father), has been involved in the textile industry for almost 45 years, especially in yarn spinning field. Our production Director, Mr. Ken Su, has been involved in the textile industry for almost 30 years, specifically in jacquard fabrics. My father met Ken a couple of years ago when he took over one of the biggest jacquard factory in Taiwan. Mr. Ken believes that going global is the only way to survive instead of struggling just in Taiwan. That’s why he joined us.”
“As for me, I was a merchandiser for EMPORIO ARMANI , ARMANI JEANS, DIESEL, and 55DSL in China from 2008-2011after graduating from ISTITUTO MARANGONI in Milan with my master degree of luxury brand management. And before that, I was a buyer in one of the biggest multi-brand boutique in Taipei, in charge of the most modern chic brands such as BARBARA BUI, BLUMARINE, BLUGIRL, SERGIO ROSSI, BRUNELLO CUCINELLI, and so on.”
“In the end of 2011, I suddenly realized I should do something for my homeland,to honor my country, and my family too. So I choose to devote myself to the textile industry in Taiwan. The reason I call the concept “FABRIC LAB” is because I wanted to do something different than others, and the word LAB helps me explain this. And the number “496” is the street number of my home address. I named it to honor my family and I hope some day my family will be proud of it.”
Was it just pure chance that Denim Jacquard looks are trending right now?
“In the beginning, we analyzed the macro environment of the textile industry in Taiwan, we decided to choose the jacquard fabrics as our strategy product to develop with, due to the high product value but the limited production capacity. Besides, we all know that denim culture always plays a important role in the fashion world so we try to combine the denim concept with the jacquard technique.”
“As for the Denim Jacquard development, we have tried really hard to set a high technique threshold in order not to be copied in such a short time. In the meantime, I hope top luxury fashion houses could hop on the trend creating a trickle down effect from the high-end market to the mass market.”
Amazing fabrics and techniques, we wish Wayne and his family good luck in this new venture!
Know what’s next. Become a WGSN member today to benefit from our daily trend intelligence, retail analytics, consumer insights and bespoke consultancy services.