Lux­ury cloth­ing brand Loro Piana is as­sist­ing Chi­nese goat breed­ers to pro­duce bet­ter wool. re­ports.

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - LIFE -

China is known for the quan­tity of cash­mere it pro­duces, but not nec­es­sar­ily for its qual­ity. But that is chang­ing as lo­cal brands and breed­ers shift their fo­cus. Ital­ian lux­ury brand Loro Piana, a key name in the ap­parel in­dus­try, has also joined the ef­fort.

In Novem­ber, two cou­ples from among the herders in the In­ner Mon­go­lia au­ton­o­mous re­gion and other ar­eas in China — Shi Yushe and his wife Wang Cunx­i­ang, and Zhan Fayu and his wife Li Juy­ing — re­ceived the Loro Piana Cash­mere of the Year Award in Bei­jing, based on the fine­ness, length and other at­tributes of their cash­mere.

Sep­a­rately, the brand is pro­mot­ing the Loro Piana Method of pro­duc­ing cash­mere, which is a sys­tem of se­lec­tive breed­ing that can im­prove qual­ity, in In­ner Mon­go­lia’s Alashan.

The method, which was de­vised and in­tro­duced in 2009 as part of a joint project among the com­pany, the Jilin Agri­cul­tural Uni­ver­sity in China, the Uni­ver­sity of Camerino in Italy and the Ital­ian Na­tion-


al Agency for New Tech­nolo­gies, En­ergy and Sus­tain­able Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment, is now be­ing taken to other ar­eas in the In­ner Mon­go­lia and Xin­jiang Uygur au­ton­o­mous re­gions.

Ex­plain­ing the ra­tio­nale be­hind launch­ing the project in China, Pier Luigi Loro Piana, deputy chair­man of Loro Piana, says: “We be­lieve that cash­mere is one of the best ma­te­ri­als for a mod­ern life­style. And China is the coun­try that pro­duces the best cash­mere in the world. We wanted to start with the best.”

China, which is also one of the largest cash­mere pro­duc­ers in the world, be­sides be­ing one of the largest over­seas mar­kets for the brand af­ter the United States, was see­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal degra­da­tion as a boom in the sec­tor since the 1980s had led to pres­sure on the coun­try’s en­vi­ron­ment thanks to the grow­ing num­ber of goats.

Fur­ther, Loro Piana says the key fac­tor for the brand to main­tain its po­si­tion as a top name in the cash­mere sec­tor is to en­sure qual­ity at all lev­els.

From left: Loro Piana’s CEO Fabio d’ An­ge­lan­to­nio, breed­ers Zhan Fayu and his wife Li Juy­ing, herder Wang Cunx­i­ang and Loro Piana’s deputy chair­man Pier Luigi Loro Piana at the award cer­e­mony in Bei­jing.

“The key fac­tor for our suc­cess is qual­ity. So we do not com­pro­mise on it. And we al­ways do re­search to of­fer a bet­ter prod­uct to our cus­tomers.”

Loro Piana says the brand’s cus­tomers are ad­dicted to good qual­ity. “It’s like some­one who likes good wine. The wine may be very ex­pen­sive, but the con­sumer is hooked to the qual­ity, and that is what we want.”

In re­cent years, the com­pany, which is known for its light-weight fab­rics for suit­ing, has been push­ing boundaries by us­ing cash­mere for lux­ury ca­sual wear like ski­ing jack­ets, sail­ing vests and wa­ter-proof cash­mere coats.

Mean­while, de­spite the gen­eral slow­down in China’s lux­ury sec­tor, the com­pany had a good year in 2016 and is ex­pect­ing an even bet­ter year in 2017, says Loro Piana.

“We con­tinue to grow steadily … I am not wor­ried about what is go­ing on now. China will con­tinue to grow. Chi­nese con­sumers are be­com­ing more qual­ity-con­scious.

“In the end, China will prob­a­bly be the coun­try with the high­est growth,” he says.

Loro Piana also wants more peo­ple to par­tic­i­pate in the up­grad­ing of the cash­mere in­dus­try in China as it is im­por­tant for the coun­try from the point view of im­age.

It can also help cre­ate bet­ter op­por­tu­ni­ties for young lo­cals, he says.

“Young peo­ple don’t want to re­main on the land like shep­herds, but they can be breed­ers and they can man­age the ter­ri­tory like the Australians.

“There are young guys who want to live in the coun­try rather than go to a crowded town.

“We have to think of the next gen­er­a­tion. And this project (the Loro Piana Method) can of­fer hope to the next gen­er­a­tion.

“Also, when qual­ity im­proves, the value (of the prod­uct) rises, and you have more rev­enue,” he says.

Con­tact the writer at sun­yuan­qing@ chi­

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