Question: What do retailers need most these days to boost their bottom line?
Answer: Fashion-right product in performance fabrics; lower minimums and faster fill-ins so they can carry less inventory and chase best sellers.
Question: Which men’s sportswear company can give retailers all this?
Answer: AW Chang, of course. (Now celebrating three decades of creating beautiful clothes!)
AW Chang, founded 30 years ago by Abraham and William Chang, started out as a fabric mill, screen-printing silk for top neckwear manufacturers. With an intrinsic understanding of fibers, fabrics and design, the company has been at the forefront of developing new fabric technology that’s transforming the world of fashion today. The result: clothing that feels and performs as good as it looks.
Bill Chang, co-founder and CEO, describes the company’s journey. “We began in 1989 as a mill that sold printed and woven fabrics to neckwear manufacturers. 15 years later, as people started dressing down and neckwear became less important, the company had to reinvent itself as a dress furnishings, formalwear accessories and sportswear company. Today, the company designs, manufactures, and markets six successful national brands in addition to various private label programs.”
Bill Chang reiterates some of the challenges that retailers face today: “They want less inventory upfront and speedier fill-ins.” He emphasizes, especially in the digital age, the need for fashion product (including all of the bells and whistles) with lower minimums and faster turnaround time.
Fortunately, A.W. Chang came up with some brilliant solutions, starting with stocking their top 10 core fabrics that represent 80-90 percent of their production.
“For sportswear manufacturing, the weaving time is usually around 60 days, printing takes 45 days, and sewing the garment takes 30 days. By having the most popular greige fabrics already on the shelf, we save 60 days of fabric weaving time, reducing the total production time from 135 days to 75 days.”
Additionally, A.W. Chang has invested in digital print technology, which allows them to print on these fabrics in a wide assortment of designs according to the DNA of each of their six brands ranging from classic to contemporary. “We can offer lower minimums since digital printing is far less time-consuming. It also reduces costs since it eliminates engraving screens needed for machine printing.”
What’s more, the company has added stretch and performance features to almost everything they make. The reason why: greater emphasis on comfort. “We have spent a lot of time studying performance yarns and fabrics that are commonly used in the activewear industry. By creating our own versions, we are able to apply it to our dress furnishings and sportswear collections. When you think back 20 years ago, no menswear company would touch polyester or use the word “stretch”: it was almost a dirty word. Now, thanks to the popularity of activewear, so much of the fashion industry has embraced these features and even the yarn itself is far superior to what it was.” As a result, tech fabrics permeate the A.W. Chang collections. “We’re pushing the envelope,” says Bill Chang. “Even our traditional menswear styles have performance attributes.”
The importance of digital technology is engraved into the DNA of A.W. Chang. The company now offers complete full-package services, from product design to store merchandising, for their retail partners including their websites. “We’re investing a lot to help our retailers with their e-commerce. They can work with our product development team on designs and we can also curate their websites by providing photos, assisting in product copy and constantly monitoring the site content. We’ve transformed the entire company from A to Z and we’re incredibly excited about what the next few years will bring.”
Here, a rundown of A.W. Chang’s successful brands (excluding private label):
Founded in 2017, Brooklyn Brigade’s mission is to raise awareness on social and environmental issues through fashion. From endangered species to the coral reef, each season features a unique combination of story-telling prints that inspire change for a better community. With its effervescent neighborhoods, colorful history, and affinity for change, Brooklyn serves as the inspiration for a label that unites tradition and innovation.
Founded in 2014, Con.Struct was created to add fun to everyday shirts from office attire to casual wear. Developed from the passion of industry experts craving newness, Con.Struct infuses classic American style with a hint of pizazz, mixing and matching prints in subtle yet fun ways. From smart casual to weekend warrior, Con.Struct is the perfect transitional piece from day to night.
MICHELSONS OF LONDON
Established in 1937, the Michelsons name is renowned for setting standards in neckwear and formalwear. Michelsons of London continues this legacy by using bold designs in dress shirts, formalwear, and accessories. Geared towards the man who wants to be noticed, Michelsons of London creates character and distinction with each garment.
SOCIETY OF THREADS
Society of Threads explores the versatility of menswear. Inspired by the stitch of a garment, Society of Threads connects every personality and occasion from the modern dress shirt that complements an active workday to a pair of uniquely printed shorts for a day in the park. The variety in color and prints welcomes any man in search of all-day comfort and style.
Tallia Orange, first established in 1893, is a menswear line owned and operated by Peerless Clothing International. Consisting of high fashion tailored clothing with a less serious attitude, it’s known for its detail-oriented designs in an exciting array of fabrics, designs, and colors, encouraging guys to express their own personal style. In spring ‘19, AW Chang launched a complete sportswear and dress furnishings collection to augment and complete the Tallia aesthetic.
W.R.K is a New York City-based menswear brand founded in 2011. With the belief that clothing is one of the most valuable tools of life, the garments reflect the design philosophy of bridging functionality with aesthetics, where neither aspect is compromised. Exploring elements of traditional work wear and tailored detailing in an almost scientific way- resulting in constructed garments that combine the purest elements of form and function with innovative design details.