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Beyond the Bale : March 2016
OFF FARM 15 ICICLE ALL NATURAL In a time when consumers are all too often caught in a flood of fast fashion, leading Chinese premium brand ICICLE fully embraces its eco-conscious philosophy, providing quality products made from natural fibres that appeal to savvy consumers. Established in 1997 and now one of China’s leading eco-luxury brands, ICICLE, has grown into an all-in-one eco-fashion supply chain and is changing the way consumers think about purchasing clothes. Its ‘all-natural’ brand philosophy is proving successful with the company now having 40 retail stores and 180 franchise stores in more than 120 cities across China. “During the time when the brand was first founded, the trend was for man-made fibres, but ICICLE persevered in using natural fibres, because we simply have a love and passion for it,” says ICICLE founder Ye Shouzeng. “I am very happy to be described as an environmental advocate. My design philosophy and process has always been about ‘humans and nature in harmony’. In this industry, the more sustainable and environmental your approach is upstream on the supply chain, the more you stand to benefit and develop downstream. “I always tell our marketing department to convey to our consumers the message ‘accept natural materials, because they are good for the environment’.” ICICLE proudly takes part in the AWI- supported Campaign for Wool – which educates consumers about the fibre's unique natural benefits. With AWI support, marketing staff and designers from the company have also visited Australia to see the natural environment in which Merino wool is grown and be inspired to use the fibre in their collections. “Our autumn and winter collections cannot exist without wool; our last season included a significant 40 per cent of double-faced woollen fabric,” Mr Shouzeng says. “Handcrafted double- faced woollen fabrics can elicit an emotional connection with consumers; not only is it light but it also has very good thermal properties. “We’ve acquired a factory that specialises in double-faced fabrics and has approximately 500 employees. For the spring/summer collections, our wool garments are mostly flatbed knitted. We are also experimenting with double-faced woollen fabrics for spring/summer; the fabrics are sourced from Italian mills and we will still focus on using the best natural superior wool for production. Although there is a price premium for such fabrics, I believe that there is a market for this in China. “We ensure that from sourcing to production, our operation standards are that of a luxury level, and in the end you can still purchase garments of exceptional quality at a price cheaper than luxury brands.” ICICLE has regular suppliers, meaning it has supply chain transparency of what they do, which is very important due to ICICLE’s stringent environmental standards. “The lifestyle that brands want their customers to lead is reflected through their designs, so I hope that through the entire length of the ICICLE supply chain, from sourcing and design to production and marketing, we can uphold the concept of eco fashion. “In terms of the way forward, ICICLE is positioned as more than just a brand – we are aiming for more supply chain transparency and extended quality control, by increasing our investment in sustainable production processes and continuing our focus on environmentally-aware design. “I believe consumers are getting savvier, they can see the difference in our fabrics and understand the craftsmanship involved, and with sharing through word-of-mouth, our loyal customer base continues to grow rapidly.” MORE INFORMATION www.merino.com/icicle www.icicle.com One of ICICLE’s stores, which are located in 120 cities across China. An image of an ICICLE sweater, photographed in a NSW shearing shed, from a Campaign for Wool promotion that featured in Vogue China.
In the Shops - March 2016