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How Tung Ho Textiles add value with fish scale waste

Dec 18, 2019

As a leading yarn and fibre exhibition, Yarn Expo is used as a promotional platform for showcasing all kinds of innovative, unique products from around the world. Exhibitors from 14 countries and regions joined Yarn Expo Autumn 2019, including Tung Ho Textiles from Taiwan. Their innovative products – including a functional blend of TENCEL™ and fish scales – proved popular at the fair. Messe Frankfurt had a chance to sit down with Mrs Emily Chiang, from the Marketing Department of Tung Ho Textiles, and discuss how function adds value to textile products.

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Messe Frankfurt: Could you begin by telling us more about Tung Ho Textiles?

Mrs Emily Chiang
: Tung Ho Textiles has been in business for a very long time, and we have a lot of experience in manufacturing. We specialise in functional spun yarns. The advantage of our products is that we combine the functions directly into the fibres, which makes them highly durable and the functions are longer lasting. We create natural yarns that are antibacterial, anti-odour, and also very soft. And we also offer customisation according to customers’ needs.

MF: Taiwanese manufacturers are well known for innovative ideas – could you tell us more about your highlighted products at Yarn Expo?

EC
: At this fair, we’re showing a material that uses fish scale waste. Fish processing facilities collect and sell the scale waste, and we can recycle this into fibre. Fish scales create a very soft hand feel and the fabric will naturally have good moisture management. For example, it can protect skin from the drying effects of air-conditioning, keeping skin moisturised, and it’s also anti-odour. So we are looking into more materials like this – naturally functional. We also have more eco-friendly products, which include blends using Lenzing’s ECOVERO™ and TENCEL™. We focus on getting approval from control unions and acquiring key sustainable certifications. So we are trying very hard to offer more sustainable products, which will also meet customers’ needs and trends.

MF: Do you think that end-use consumers will pay more for textile products that are functional?

EC
: I think this is still fairly niche. There is high demand, until they see the price, because it is expensive. So it depends on how well the end-use products are marketed. Customers need to understand why functional products are expensive. For example, in Taiwan, our yarns are used to make functional bedding and the marketing is very good, meaning that the customers understand the benefits and then they are willing to pay more. But on the other side, our yarn is more durable. It may be cheaper to apply functions to fabrics, but our method is different – the functions are spun into our yarn and it lasts longer. So I think demand is growing more and more because durability increases the sustainability of products.

MF: And are consumers becoming more aware of what they’re buying? Is there demand for specific functions and innovations?

EC
: It’s a trend that is starting. Normal clothes do not satisfy the customer’s need for innovation. Functional fabrics used to be for outdoor wear and sportswear, but now it’s wanted even for everyday clothing such as work wear. And our yarn is suitable for a wide range of industries, particularly for home textiles. Functional yarns are often used for bedding.

MF: Are you able to meet visitors from a range of different backgrounds at Yarn Expo?

EC
: Yes, and from different countries and regions. For example, from Thailand, India, China of course, Hong Kong and Korea. We would never have previously contacted clients from Thailand, so this has provided a big chance for us and widened our market strategy. We have had a lot of customers this week who are looking specifically for yarns. We previously went to Intertextile, for five to six years, but Yarn Expo is a more targeted place that suits us.

MF: It’s amazing to feel how soft a fabric made from fish scales can be. Thanks for taking the time to tell us more! 

Yarn Expo overview

Yarn Expo Autumn 2019 was held from 25 – 27 September. The fair is organised by Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd and the Sub-Council of Textile Industry, CCPIT.  The next edition of Yarn Expo Spring will take place from 11 – 13 March 2020, once again at the National Exhibition and Convention Center (Shanghai). 

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