By Fredrik Grönkvist
In this product guide, we explain what you must know before importing Outdoor wear from China. In similarity to our other apparel and textiles guides, this article will give you insights into Outdoor wear manufacturing clusters, product specifications and minimum order quantities. In addition, we also explain what you must know about relevant technical standards, labelling requirements and more.
Outdoor Wear Manufacturing Clusters in China
In recent years, Chinese outdoor wear manufacturers have faced increasingly tough competition from producers in other Asian countries. Primarily, Cambodia and Bangladesh. That said, as this industry is largely reliant on technical fabrics, which are also made in China, the country maintains a strong competitive advantage.
Most, exporting oriented, Outdoor wear manufacturers are located in the following cities and provinces:
- Quanzhou, Fujian
- Fuzhou, Fujian
- Xiamen, Fujian
- Jinjiang, Fujian
- Shenzhen, Guangdong
- Guangzhou, Guangdong
- Suzhou, Jiangsu
- Wuxi, Jiangsu
- Hangzhou, Zhejiang
- Ganzhou, Jiangxi
As you can see above, Outdoor wear buyers are wise to visit the southern, coastal, provinces of Fujian and Guangdong, as this is where most relevant manufacturers are based.
Outdoor Apparel Tech Packs and Material Specifications
China’s Outdoor wear manufacturers are OEM suppliers. Hence, you shall not expect a catalog with ready made designs for your selection. While most Chinese Outdoor wear suppliers do have such catalogs, they are to be considered for reference only. Most, so called, ODM (Original Design Manufacturing) products are designs ordered by previous customers. Hence, the suppliers rarely, if ever, have a full Tech pack.
Now that you know that you cannot rely on the manufacturer to provide you with a Tech pack, you need to know what to include in one, when importing Outdoor wear from China:
- Design Drawings
- Size Table
- Bill of Materials (Component List)
- Material / Fiber Composition (i.e., 98% Cotton, 2% Spandex)
- Weight (i.e., 240 gsm)
- Yarn Count (i.e., 40 x 40)
- Yarn Type (i.e., Combed)
- Colors (Pantone or RAL)
- Treatment (i.e., Flame Retardance)
- Coating (i.e., PU Coating)
- Applicable Standards and Regulations
- Label Files
For more information about preparing Tech Packs for your outdoor apparel designs, read this article: Apparel & Textiles Product Development Explained – Interview with Saral Kochar of Techpacker.com.
Minimum Order Quantity
The Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ), in the apparel industry, is sometimes rather complicated. What many overseas importers miss, is that there’s actually more than one MOQ to keep track of. So, in order to just get to the point, I explain them all below:
- Product MOQ: This is the minimum number of units the supplier must produce to make a reasonable (albeit very low) profit. This MOQ is, as explained, set by the manufacturer.
- Size MOQ: In addition to the MOQ per product (or design), all manufacturers have some sort of minimum quantity requirement set per size. While lower than the Product MOQ, the “Per Size MOQ” can be at least half as big. Hence, an MOQ order of, say, 500 pcs, may only leave room for two sizes.
- Fabric MOQ: This is set by the material subcontractor. It varies often between different materials, and even subcontractors. Sometimes, the Product MOQ is a reflection of the Fabric MOQ.
- Color MOQ: Same as the fabric MOQ, but per color instead of each fabric.
For further clarification of how the MOQ is structured, an example follows below:
- Fabric MOQ: 500 – 1000 pcs
- Product MOQ: 500 – 1000 pcs
- Color MOQ: 300 – 500 pcs
- Size MOQ: 150 – 300 pcs
Regulations, Safety Standards and Labelling Requirements
Outdoor apparel is not regulated as a group of products. The very same standards and regulations that apply to all types of clothing, is also applicable to Outdoor apparel. As such, buyers in the United States and the European Union must keep track of the following standards and regulations:
- California Proposition 65
- Care Label Labelling
- Fiber Composition Labelling
- Country of Origin Labelling
Notice that I am drawing a distinction between mandatory substance regulations, and “voluntary” technical standards. For the latter, there are actually various standards that do apply, more or less specific, to Outdoor wear. Below follows a few examples, from the list of ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) standards:
- ASTM D1047 – 11: Standard Specification for Polyvinyl Chloride Jacket for Wire and Cable
- ASTM F2732 – 11: Standard Practice for Determining the Temperature Ratings for Cold Weather Protective Clothing
- STP900: Performance of Protective Clothing
ASTM standards are normally (there are exceptions), as mentioned, not mandatory safety standards. However, they do define the performance and quality of the product. As such, you should identify if any ASTM, or other, product standards apply to your product, and then communicate these as specific requirements with your supplier. While some manufacturers may apply certain product standards as part of company policy, most will not, unless explicitly instructed to do so by their customers.
Outdoor wear buyers based in the European Union, looking to identify applicable standards and directives, can purchase ready made lists on ProductIP.com. However, as far as we are aware, no equivalent exists for American standards.
Note: Additional regulations apply to Outdoor apparel, and other clothing, for children. Follow the links below to learn more about importing Children’s clothing from China:
- Children’s & Baby Clothing Manufacturers in China: A Complete Guide
- CPSIA – Importing Children’s Products from China to the US
- EN 71 & Toy Safety When Importing from China
Outdoor Wear Trade Shows in Mainland China and Hong Kong
Asia Outdoor Trade Show
- Location: Nanjing, Jiangsu
- When: June / July
- Website: Click here
- Outdoor clothes
- Outdoor shoes
- Mountaineering and climbing supplies
- Related products and services, accessories, equipments and materials etc. in the Travel & Tourism industry
Global Sources Fashion Trade Show
- Location: Hong Kong S.A.R
- When: October (Fall / Winter) and April (Spring / Summer)
- Website: Click here
- Bags & Luggage
- Fashion jewelry
- Scarves & Gloves
- Belts & Footwear
- Fabrics, Lace & Trimmings
- Sweater & Knitwear
- Casual Wear
- Down Jacket & Outerwear
- Underwear & Sleepwear
- Swimwear & Beachwear
Canton Fair Phase 3 (Guangzhou)
- Location: Guangzhou, Guangdong
- When: April/May and October/November
- Website: Click here
- Men and Women’s Clothing
- Kids’ Wear
- Sports and Casual Wear
- Furs, Leather, Downs & Related Products
- Fashion Accessories and Fittings
- Home Textiles
- Textile Raw Materials & Fabrics
- Carpets & Tapestries
- Office Supplies
- Cases and Bags
- Sports, Travel and Recreation Products
Fredrik Grönkvist is the co-founder of ScandinAsian Enterprise in Shanghai. Since 2010, he and his team have helped hundreds of companies worldwide, primarily in the EU and US, to develop and manufacture products in China. He is also the main contributor on www.chinaimportal.com, a leading knowledge base for small- to medium-sized enterprises importing from Asia. For further questions, you can contact him on www.chinaimportal.com/contact-us/.