Q: Stone washing has been a widely used washing method. How do I choose the right kind of stone to achieve the desired effect?
A:About choosing the stones, I would consider a couple of factors — size, color grade, andthe supplier you buy them from. In general, Turkish pumice stones are considered as “whitestones”, and are mostly used for non-denim or lighter weight fabric. Indonesian stones areyellowish and coarse, giving a stronger abrasion on the denim. I think the major difference between the two is the cost.Turkish stones are more expensive, but I would always choose to use it if my customer could afford it, as it can produce more refined and sophisticated looks.
Q: Any suggestions on better storage and management of used stones?
A:Whether the stone is a fine Turkish white grade or raw yellow cast Indonesian grade, itis important to have a standard procedure for recycling. We always use a floatation tank to pick out the smaller stones, and then use a cyclone to separate the larger ones. That way, wecan have the most consistent grades of stones in every load.
Q: How do I make a pair of artistic jeans by hand?
A:Each laundry has its own sanding or blasting methods, and there is not “the right way” totreat a pair of jeans. The art of dry process lies within the hearts and minds of each sander.For example, a method developed to do whiskers and scraping may work well for onesander but may not work well for others. The culture and the perception of quality is themost important factor. We sand a garment with any tools you could possibly think of, even just a piece of broken glass.
Q: When may I consider an enzyme wash? Could you provide some tips on thisprocess?
A:The choices and the storage of enzymes are most critical as the quality and conditioncould affect the wash down. There are so many brands of enzyme out there, but we arealways adamant about using the Danish imported Denimax BT, as they do make such adifference. Of course, there are products from Jeanscare, DyStar, Ciba and so on, whichalso have very good characteristics. Storage is another issue — we store it in a temperature-regulated storage room. In some cases, we found that the laundries did not store their enzymes properly and the enzymes were of poor quality.
Q: How do we make sure the finishing effects on various denim products are always under control?
A:The washing process is all about controlling all the input variables — temperature,garment to water ratio, chemical ratio, time of the wash, the fabric itself, and most importantly, the operators who press the buttons. If all the input variables are being monitored and controlled, there should not be the risk for “disaster”.While control is key to consistent manufacturing, the secret to this is production planning and contemporary production methods. It is vital that every finishing process is being analyzed, proper time and action plan are being updated, and we make sure all partners within the production supply chain conform to our pre-negotiated schedule.
Q: What is the outlook for the dyeing and finishing of denim products?A:
The trend is definitely moving towards sophistication and complexity, as well as new finishing techniques driven by top laundries and chemical companies around the world every now and then. Also, specialty garment dye,combined with the high-tech denim finishing techniques, will be doing well. I believe the base of premium finishing will be in China. As we approach the next decade, the buzzword would be “supply chain” — a seamless integration between fabric, garment, and finishing operations.