香港製衣業和皮革的歷史

香港製衣業萌芽於二十世紀初,當年尚未有獨立的「製衣廠」,製衣部門附設於織造廠內。以「製衣」、「Garment」等命名的純製衣廠在三十年代初出現。第二次世界大戰後西式服裝風行全球,華人漸改變請裁縫度身訂造唐裝的習慣,開始流行穿恤衫和長褲。此外,四十年代末內地難民湧港,專業的織布工匠和精湛的手工藝如度身訂造西裝等從上海搬到香港,同時帶來了大量資金、技術和廉價勞動力,為香港製衣業的繁榮發展做出了重要的貢獻。

戰後製衣業可粗略分成四個階段: (1). 戰後至 1950 年代的出口英屬地區時期。因為香港是英國殖民地,受惠於英聯邦特惠稅。 (2). 1950 年代末歐美市場開放,出口歐美時期。 (3). 1970 年代初起美國正式向香港棉織品實施配額,到亞洲落後國家設廠時期。 (4). 1980 年代初起開始北移到內地開設廠房。

1970、1980 年代是製衣業的黃金時代,工廠數目、僱用人數和出口總值等都冠於各製造行業,是香港的龍頭工業。由於當時對襪子、針織衫和背心等中低價位產品的需求比較大,皮革製造業的發展仍然落後於棉紡織業。隨著香港的地價和工資不斷上漲,製衣業與鐘表、玩具、電子等勞動密集型工業一樣,面臨經營成本增加的壓力。適逢當時內地改革開放,積極引進境外資本,鼓勵港商設廠,給予稅務、地價等方面的優惠,不少製衣廠紛紛將生產線北移。

香港製衣業的前景面臨新的考驗。香港大部分製造商如皮革製品商都是中小型企業, 主要為北美,西歐和日本的領先品牌生產產品。現在,越來越多的製造商選擇自行處理設計和開發,做模和質量控制。當中有些人仍然更喜歡向海外進口商和分銷商銷售產品,然後再向批發商和零售商銷售產品。其中,皮革服裝佔 2017 年出口的

3.2%,但百分比逐年下降。

如今,海外買家將香港視為皮革服裝和其他商品的重要採購中心,因為香港該行業具有很高的靈活度,可以在短時間內生產出高質量的產品,同時又能滿足客戶的規格要求並迅速響應時尚潮流。這樣,香港的小型公司就可以在質量和價格上與全球大型品牌的產品相媲美。皮革製造中的精湛技術與數碼化系統相結合,便可以實現更複雜的設計和更廣泛的顏色範圍,而諸如絲綢皮革之類的新產品可以使設計師嘗試使用新的面料組合進行工作。


在過去十多年間,本地紡織和製衣廠,從業員的數目逐年下降,令香港的紡織及製衣業驟看好像日漸式微。根據香港政府統計處資料至 2017 年 12 月,本港有 60 人從事皮革產品製造業。仍然堅守香港的製衣企業唯有重新定向發展路線,通過提高產品質量,加出口項目的價值及發展新產品,其中包括用各種混合纖維製造的高檔時裝打開銷路,繼續生存。

香港的定制皮革製衣工作坊主要由“包頭”組成,這是指在裁縫行業中將其完成的作品外包給零售商的位置。零售裁縫店接受客戶的訂單,然後將其生產訂單外包給包頭。另一方面,包頭從商店接受訂單,監督其車間的生產的各個方面,包括質量控制和開發,並將所有已完成的訂單交付給裁縫店,然後將服裝傳遞給客戶。這就是香港裁縫多年以來的工作方式,它繞開了裁縫店的生產問題,並確保了高標準的質量。目前,大多數包頭都可以在尖沙咀美麗都大廈找到。

「香港製造」這四個字在市場仍有它獨特的存在價值,就是信心保證。賣點不是比同行便宜,而是透過個人化設計、近距離控制、少量生產為自己在市場定位。其中「金馬皮衣製作工場」就是香港少有的堅持全香港製造的皮衣製作工場。由為客人度身、設計款式、挑選物料、到車縫、試身、再改良,每一個工序和每一件製成品

都是按照客人的條件度身訂造。 The development of Hong Kong’s garments industry reached its peak after World War 2, where expert weavers and crafters with an expertise in craftsmanship moved to Hong Kong from Shanghai, eager to start anew. With them, they brought in large amounts of cash, technique and cheap labor, contributing to the increasing prosperity. The 1970s and 1980s were the golden ages of Hong Kong’s garment industry. While the leather garment industry - particularly leather jackets - in Hong Kong has largely been overshadowed by the much larger cotton textiles industry in the 20th century due to the demand for low-middle priced products like socks, knitwear and vests, the return of Hong Kong to the Chinese government meant that Hong Kong lost British colony status. This was important because the majority of Hong Kong’s clothing exports were going to other British colonies like Africa, and now that Hong Kong was undergoing similar tariffs as other countries, coupled with the rising prices of land and costs of production, many manufacturers made the decision to move their production facilities to Mainland China where it was cheaper to export and raw materials were more easily acquired. This meant that mass production facilities moved out of Hong Kong and into Mainland China, leaving a small few manufacturers or workshops to specialize in a more niche, bespoke tailor market.

The majority of leather goods manufacturers in Hong Kong are small or medium enterprises which produce for leading brands in North America, Western Europe and Japan. More and more manufacturers nowadays choose to handle the design and development, modelling and quality control themselves. However, many of them still prefer selling to overseas importers and distributors, who in turn market to wholesalers and retailers. Of this, leather garments, bespoke or otherwise, have made up 3.2% of the exports in 2017, but the percentage has been decreasing with each year. Nevertheless, the market shows no signs of dying out for good any time soon as there is still a high demand for quality bespoke leather garments, especially leather jackets, worldwide, particularly ones with a “Made in Hong Kong” label.

Nowadays, buyers from overseas regard Hong Kong as an important sourcing centre for leather coats, jackets, trousers, vests and other goods, due to the industry’s ability to be flexible, create high quality products with a short production time while meeting the customer’s specifications and a quick response to fashion trends. This has allowed Hong Kong’s smaller producers to match the products of large worldwide brands in quality and price. Excellent skills and techniques of experienced artisans allow more complex designs and a wider range of colours, while new products lets designers experiment with new combinations of fabrics for an improved quality on their finished products.

Hong Kong’s bespoke leather jackets and garments workshops are mainly comprised of “Baotou”, which refers to a position in the tailor industry that sells their completed works to retailers. Retail tailor shops take orders from customers, and outsource their production orders to Baotou. On the other side, Baotou take orders from shops, oversee all aspects of production in their workshops including quality control and development, and deliver any completed orders to the tailor shops, which then pass the garments to the customers. This is how Hong Kong’s tailor practice has worked for years, which bypasses production problems of tailor shops and ensures a high standard of quality. Most Baotou currently can be found in Mirador Mansions in Tsim Sha Tsui. One such tailor shop is Kam Ma Leather Garments Workshop, which have been producing bespoke leather jackets and other leather garments for over 3 decades for both tailor shops and individuals.

© 2020 by
Kam Ma Bespoke Leather Garments

Address (By appointment only):
A4, 13/F, Mirador Mansion,

Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong

Tel / WhatsApp:

+852 6019 8079

(Ms Cheng)

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