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Design diversity of cardigans, knitted vests key to competitiveness

Knitted vests, and classic, cropped and coat-length cardigans highlight hoods, belts, and fur and crocheted trims.

Manufacturers of cardigans and knitted vests in China are expanding selections to attract more overseas orders.

Men’s argyle vest

Zhangjiagang Yierli is offering the model A192 men’s argyle vest, which comes in 320gsm cotton.

Many products come in a combination of flat, cord and cable knits. Suppliers incorporate popcorn stitches occasionally. A number of pieces feature open interlacing.

Hoods, belts and large buttons are commonly adopted for visual interest. Faux fur may be used on the neck and cuffs, and at the back. Feminine trimmings such as crocheted floral applique and embroidery are popular as well. Beads, rhinestones and sequins make designs more eye-catching.

The classic style dominates in the men's category. For variation, companies are turning out cardigans that have a head covering, turtleneck or shawl collar, or zipper closure.

Portions of the garment, including the sleeve openings and the hem, can be in a contrasting color. Factories often decorate products with stripes, and argyle and intarsia motifs, which can be processed conveniently by the software employed in computerized knitting machines.

Prices of China-made cardigans and knitted vests are mainly influenced by materials and labor, which account for at least 95 percent of manufacturing expenses. Women’s variants generally cost 20 to 30 percent less than those for men because the former consume fewer yarns.

Low-end models are between $4 and $8 per piece, and come in acrylic or viscose blended with nylon, cotton and spandex. Pure acrylic and cotton designs are also available. The gauge does not exceed 12GG and the weight is up to 220gsm.

Most releases utilize plain knits, although cable stitches can be placed on the bodice for texture. A round- or V-neck is adopted and may feature faux fur trimming.

Short- and long-sleeved cardigans in solid colors dominate the selection and have an open front, or plastic or horn buttons for closure. The last two are sometimes used to adorn the cuffs and pockets.

Ranging from $9 to $15, midrange styles are made of 100 percent acrylic or cotton, cotton-spandex, polyester-rayon, or wool-acrylic or -viscose. They boast finer stitches reaching 14GG and are no heavier than 430gsm.

The garments are typically jersey, ribbed or cable-knit.

A few are crocheted by hand. Products can have a round, square, V-shaped or shawl collar, and short, three-quarter or long sleeves. Companies turn out cascading, buttoned and zipped variants.

While models in solid shades are offered, many feature stripes or argyles. A hood, belt or crocheted applique helps boost appeal. Selected portions of the outerwear such as the neck, cuffs or hem may come in woven fabrics or a different hue for contrast.

Cardigans quoted above $15 belong to the high end. Wool, cashmere, rabbit fur, cotton and nylon are the usual fiber choices in the segment. With a gauge of 16GG and weighing 430gsm at most, releases often have a hood, full sleeves and button-trimmed pockets.

The front can be open or may incorporate buttons or a zipper as fastener. The decorative details include embroidery and ruffles. A number of garments feature fox hair on the shoulders and at the back.

As regards knitted vests, the least expensive kinds go for $3 to $6 each. They are made of pure cotton or viscose-nylon. Plain and patterned versions are available at up to 12GG and 220gsm. Beads may be employed to enhance aesthetics further.

Cotton, acrylic and rayon are popular material options for midrange designs, which are priced at $7 to $12. Some factories mix yarns for cost efficiency or better performance. The typical combinations are wool-acrylic, -cotton or -nylon, viscose and spandex, and nylon with cashmere, rayon, viscose or acrylic. Variants have the same gauge as those in the low end but the weight reaches 360gsm. Hoods and pockets are often added.

The most upscale releases are above $12, and come in cotton, wool, cashmere or rabbit fur. Knitted vests made of the last two start at $20 apiece. Linen-nylon, wool-acrylic or -cashmere, ramie-cotton and silk-cashmere blends are adopted as well. Lycra is incorporated at the collar and armholes to improve fit. Stripes, argyle, cable knits, embroidered motifs and pockets increase visual appeal.

As the industry remains OEM-based, the materials and construction to be employed generally depend on the price range set by clients. Cotton is still the preferred input, and with rates starting to go down, the fiber will likely be used in the majority of designs. Roughly 60 percent of factories are now utilizing computerized knitting machines.

Cardigans and knitted vests price guide

Women’s cardigan

Product gallery

Applehouse Clothing Co. Ltd

Model: 53209ACC
MOQ: 500 sets
Delivery: 40 days
Description: Women’s cardigan; 98:2 rayon-spandex; 144gsm; one size fits most; comes with 80:20 rayon-spandex shorts, 76gsm, sizes M, L; coral pink or black

Women’s cardigan

Applehouse Clothing Co. Ltd

Model: W80140
MOQ: 1,000 pieces per color
Delivery: 40 days
Price: $13.32
Description: Women’s cardigan; 70:30 acrylic-wool; 500gsm; 3GG; fur collar; button closure; custom sizes, colors

Men’s cardigan

Shanghai Roway International Co. Ltd

Model: MS-1007
MOQ: 1,000 pieces
Delivery: 60 days
Price: $7.30
Description: Men’s cardigan; 100% acrylic; zipper closure; 550g

Men’s cardigan

Shanghai Roway International Co. Ltd

Model: MS-1104
MOQ: 1,000 pieces
Delivery: 60 days
Price: $8.50
Description: Men’s cardigan; 100% cotton; button closure; argyle pattern; 300g

Hooded cardigan

Shenyang Bosi Knitting Co. Ltd

Model: 10032
MOQ: 300 pieces
Delivery: 45 days
Price: $6.90
Description: Hooded cardigan; 100% combed cotton; 200gsm; 2/32s; button closure

Men’s cardigan

Shenyang Bosi Knitting Co. Ltd

Model: 29
MOQ: 600 pieces
Delivery: 45 days
Price: $9.25
Description: Men’s cardigan; 80:20 rayon-nylon; 380gsm; button closure

Men’s hooded cardigan

Zhangjiagang Yierli Garments Co. Ltd

Model: A193
MOQ: 500 pieces per color
Delivery: 60 days after order confirmation
Description: Men’s hooded cardigan; 100% cotton; 400gsm; zipper closure

Note: This article "Design diversity of cardigans, knitted vests key to competitiveness" was originally published by Global Sources, a leading business-to-business media company and a primary facilitator of trade with China manufacturers and India suppliers, providing essential sourcing information to volume buyers through our e-magazines, trade shows and industry research.

All price quotes in this report are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. FOB prices were provided by the companies interviewed only as reference prices at the time of interview and may have changed.

Disclaimer: All product images are provided by the companies interviewed and are for reference purposes only. Those product images featuring products with trademarks, brand names or logos are not intended for sale. We, our affiliates, and our affiliates' respective directors, officers, employees, representatives, agents or contractors, do not accept and will not have any responsibility or liability for product images (or any part thereof) which infringe on any intellectual property or other rights of a third party.

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