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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

People go crazy, pays $2 for a free JUZD bag

The JUZD team was at its first tradeshow, Green Living Show at the Toronto Exhibition place. And people there went crazy for the JUZD bag. People were dropping by ever so often saying “Here’s the booth with that bag.” They apparently saw other people carrying it around.

I was thinking, no way, everyone is giving away free eco-friendly bags, no way people will pay $2 for this.

The bags were supposed to be free with a purchase of a shirt. But some people were so fixed on getting a bag they didn’t want to hear about the shirts. I turned away many people before I realize I can make money from this. So we started charging $2 for the bags. I was thinking, no way, everyone is giving away free eco-friendly bags, no way people will pay $2 for this. But pretty much everyone that asked bought one. And we sold a lot of shirts too.

People were grabbing these shirts from left and right...

These types of tradeshows are littered with cheap clothing and big discounted shirts. I wasn’t expecting to compete and sell shirts. It was more for awareness and exposure purposes. But to my surprise people were picking up the shirts. What I found out was that people actually cared about the quality and efforts put into the shirts. People were grabbing these shirts from left and right, lots of other exhibitors were getting it, parents and aunts were getting it for their kids, and of course the fashion forward wanted to pimp it themselves. At the end we sold over 20 shirts, which was a big surprise.

“people want to pay for art, the bag is an art piece”

But the biggest surprise has to be all the people wanting to ‘buy’ a bag and buy other memorabilia. The bags were supposed to be a promotional item. People were paying to have my bag and promote the JUZD brand. But as I was told by a photographer “people want to pay for art, the bag is an art piece” she said. Then she asked if she can buy one of the signs to have it as the main entrance piece at her studio.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Getting JUZD at The Green Living Show…

This past weekend the JUZD street team joined the thousands of Enviro-friendly activists at the 2nd annual Green Living Show, Toronto’s premiere consumer show dedicated to all things green. Booths ranging from energy conservation, transportation to health and wellness and eco-fashions (just to name a few) filled the Direct Energy Center. Think shopping in a calm natural setting minus our furry friends and sunshine. We definitely saw some imaginative solutions to the global environmental crisis we are facing today. Who knew there were so many types of organic chocolate? I’m sure not complaining about all the free samples! Aside from organic nibbling, there were great green fashion initiatives too from t-shirts, to shopping bags and even enviro-friendly slippers. It was a one-stop shop for all the green enthusiasts out there.

Of course, the JUZD booth was bumping with beats and showcased this years Spring/Summer Bamboo collection which drew the interest of all- both young and old. With our big, bold and larger than life booth, it was hard not to miss the energy and excitement our team generated.

Former U.S. President Clinton took the stage on Friday to voice his concern about the challenges of globalization. He shared his unique insights, values and observations about today’s green initiatives which drew a large captive audience and media entourage.

Not to be out done by the former president, Jamie Kennedy, a legendary chef, also took the stage on Saturday. His commitment to organic agriculture and efforts to minimize damage on the environment drew a healthy audience to see what was cooking.

Whether people were there to learn about new green initiatives or to see the infamous Bill Clinton, it was great to see so many people come out to support and defend our environment. The Green Living Show estimated a 20% increase in attendees from last year’s show and it proves that being green is just not a trend but it is here for good. Our children will thank us later!

Next door to the Green Living Show, The Elle Show took place which was convenient for attendees to enjoy the entire day at the Direct Energy Center. Fashion shows and a special guest appearance from Steven Cojacaru, a fellow Canadian and West Coast Style Editor (better known for his honest but hilarious Red Carpet Analysis on Entertainment Tonight) proved to be entertaining as he gave the audience a good laugh with his Hollywood insight.

It was also exciting to see Evan Biddell and Lucian Matis (from Project Runway Canada) display their Canadian talent with their new Summer collection. It’s easy to see why Biddell won Project Runway Canada - his collection left the audience begging for more.

Despite the TTC strike, we had a great turn out as we saw numerous people carrying bike helmets and rollerblades in support of keeping the pollution at a minimum either by choice or necessity!

Three full days of Fashion shows, shopping, health and wellness and eco-friendly initiatives proved to be a success not only for our environment but for the JUZD team. We learned about new and exciting green initiatives andwere inspired to be even more eco-friendly. We are definitely looking forward to next year’s shows!

Monday, April 21, 2008

One of the world’s largest fabric markets turns fashion designers' dreams into reality

Fashion designers, get ready to enter the fabric wonderland. I’m not sure who’s keeping track but Guangzhou’s Fabric Market could be the largest in the world. The amount of fabric and shops just overloads the senses. I think it is essential for any fashion designer to at least once in their lifetime make a trip out to China and make sure to stop by the Guangzhou fabric market.

...I am instantly in awed.

As I got out of the taxi at the boundary of the market I am instantly in awed. I am in front of a large mall. What’s impressive is that it is all fabric and only fabric. Add to that, the size of each shop is from only 10 sqm to 100 sqm, that’s a lot of shops. And at each shop fabric is layered from the floor to the tip of the ceiling, stacked in front and at the centre of the shop. Racks and piles of fabric spill out of the shop. Any possible way for the shop owner to showcase more goods, they do.

With the shop numbering system it’s more like a tradeshow then a mall.

Ironically the difference between the malls and the tradeshow is that there are more exhibitors here.

Unlike malls we are used to there is no separation from indoor and outdoor. So don’t even think about heating and air conditioning. As I am running from shop to shop on this supposedly cool summer day I am sweating hard under the humid air. Luckily I'm wearing my JUZD bamboo shirts and it's keeping me cool.

beautiful architecture

But don’t get me wrong, everything is very modern, clean, and professional. As you can see from the large signs and beautiful architecture it is a very good experience.

In one of the malls you can see seven floors of pure fabric shops. I did not even have time and the mental ability to absorb the first floor to even venture to anything about ground level.

You can find almost any kind of fabric here.

This is a designer’s dream. You can find almost any kind of fabric here. And you will see thousands of different patterns and colours you never thought existed or imagined. As my eyes race from one shop to the next, from my left shoulder to the right, explosions of ideas and inspirations goes off in my mind.
What’s more, there are two of these huge malls. And a lot more shops around the outskirts. There are hundreds of thousands of square metres of space and thousands of shops. As a designer you will for sure get inspirations and almost find any type of fabric you are looking for.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Guangzhou's Clothing Market - wow!

Guangzhou City Clothing market

The population of Guangzhou metropolitan is estimated to be 8.5 million people. That's 8.5 MILLION! That's New York City's 5 boroughs combined. Guangzhou city is known for it's clothing and fabric market and it draws a lot of the Chinese from near by cities. In addition clothing is a major part of the Chinese society as China is the highest producer of clothing and textile.

...things are done quite different from any other country.

With this type of market demand the culture and the way things are done are quite different from any other country. In Guangzhou city I was staying with my friend Jacky. His aunt owns a factory and has a friend that produces smaller production runs which is perfect for JUZD. We headed over to the clothing market to see him.

We were dropped off right in the eye of the busy market. It was early in the morning midweek, some shops weren't even open yet and there were already customers and foreigners lining up for a deal. Each shop is clean and well organized. Most shops are the size of a small 100 square feet tradeshow booth. Yet there were many shops and much were squeezed into each.

Guangzhou City Clothing market

I felt sick to my stomach.

Quickly I noticed a consistent theme. Everything they sold were knockoffs. There were many vendors and each vendor had many items but they were the same. Knockoffs, knockoffs, and knockoffs. I felt sick to my stomach. Not only am I strongly against knock offs, I even hate it when one brand produces a similar design as another. The choice of knock offs for the day are American Eagle, Ed Hardy, Abercrombie and Fitch, and good old Nike. They don't like it when you take pictures in the mall. I guess they are scare that you will knock off their knock offs.

Guangzhou City Clothing market...doesn't make sense doing an original brand.

Right on top of these knock off shops were their sales office. Each of these shops had a factory. Where? Were they sweatshops? I don't know. I did not enjoy the vibe from this area and did not want to venture to the appointment but to save face I went. Overall everything was professional and clean. From the stores to the office. And the knockoff designs were pretty good. Creative. But did not even want to go near the product to see the quality and construction. I would have given them a little respect if it was their own brand. But the market demand knockoffs. Base on the economics, for a small Chinese shop it doesn't make sense doing an original brand.

I'll pay the higher price and maintain my principle, thank you!

I got a quote for the production of some of the designs and the cost of shocking. Some of the cost were 1/5 of what I was paying. They wanted me to ship my custom made bamboo fabric to them for producing the shirts. As attractive as the offer was I won't switch my factory even just for the simple fact that I can't see JUZD line made by a knock off specialists. I'll pay the higher price and maintain my principle, thank you!

Guangzhou City Clothing market
Apartment buildings are right across the street from the clothing market. In China there is less restriction on zoning so you'll see mesh of commercial and residential buildings side by side.

Guangzhou City Clothing market

Fresh fur with the animal head attached. These guys look like they came straight out of the jungle.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Due to popular demand, here are more photos from CHIC.

I received a lot of feedback from my pictures from the CHIC show. So here's the last batch of it.

Below are pictures from the jewelry section. Bling Bling!

Not sure what they are selling but the cabin concept is pretty neat.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Chinese CHIC models

Here are pictures of models from the CHIC2008 clothing show (China International Clothing & Accessories Fair) in Beijing. Very innovative use of models. The above is half of the 20 models for this showcase. Below shows the other half. 20 sexy woman on stage at once, how can you go wrong.

This was a very interesting show. The walkway is a semi circle that wraps around the audience. Good mix of kids and adults. This brand doesn't even have an English name which is rare.

The following are pictures from a brand called "Style Hong Kong". Very creative name eh.

As there is a archetype of the Western cover model, (blond, blue eyes, big smile, curvy body) there's also an archetypical Chinese model. It is skinny, gentle, soft, dark eyes, with youthful soft make-up and a small smile. I see this on magazine covers everywhere in China. Just like in the West I can't really tell the cover models apart here either.

The models walked in zig zag patterns so everyone can see. Also smart use of badges that have the name of the item. This will help people place orders by reviewing their photographs.

Guys model too. Maybe they aren't too popular or maybe it's me selective photographing.

A kids brand called SSXY. Is it me or does this feel wrong?!?

These kids are so cute. They have been trained so well too. Very professional.

This last brand is my favourite use of models. There is a scene of six or seven models. They are all still. Then once every minute or so one of the models gets up and walks around showcasing their outfit. Then the model goes back to the original still position while in a little while another model gets up. I like this because it tells a story and the movement creates drama and interest. With only one model it guides your attention.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

More pics from the CHIC!

Here's more pics from the CHIC2008 clothing show (China International Clothing & Accessories Fair) in Beijing.

Communist Party is cool. All Asian brands are western focus “me too” copy cats. Really nice to see a brand that have an element to the Chinese culture.

Nice Egyptian theme.

Chilling on the streets of Paris

Did their logo come before or after the Lion King musical?

Ideaido use fibre optics for its walls and build a dream like state.

A story and drama can be created with just manikins and creativity.

Snoppy has a clothing line? Licensing is a big business.

I don’t think Bon Jovi designs a Chinese clothing brand

Zorani – The women’s collection

The Chinese love foreign models I still got more pictures coming including some of really cute Chinese models. Like the West there is a 'typical' model look. I see it on all the magazines. Just like the West I can't tell one cover model from the next.