This morning Prof. Dr. Rüttimann surprised us with a visit to the cashmere production company – Artwell.
Artwell is one of the biggest suppliers of cashmere products for companies like Ralph Lauren, Burberry, Globus and Grieder. After a warmly welcome by the CEO of Artwell, Mr. Alfred Lee, followed an introduction about the company which is located in the Zhejiang Province. Moreover, they gave us the great opportunity to see the whole production line. Now we understand the processes from dyeing, carding, spinning to the sweater workshop. Those processes showed us how they turned wool from the cashmere goats which are living in the Inner Mongolia to real cashmere pullovers, pillows, scarves and so on. We learned that for one pullover four goats are needed and that they are sheared in April and May. The animal feels no pain in this process. It was impressive to see that every step is supported by machinery. We had the chance to feel the material after every step. Depending on the process stage the wool was softer and thinner or thicker.
This company was a good example for a successful vertical integration of a production, which means, that they are flexible in their processes. Moreover, Artwell is able to control every step and therefore to provide a high quality product.
The second surprise after lunch was a tour through the Venice of the east – Wuzhen. Similar to the original Italian city, some houses of Wuzhen are only accessible by boats or gondolas. The town is 2km long and has 12’000 permanent residents and it is located next to the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal. The town has not only lovely sceneris, but also a great history, which was important for China’s history too.
There we visited the footbinding museum, which displays 825 pairs of footbinding shoes from various places of China as well as many pictures and footbinding tools with detailed explanations. People today cannot imagine that, hundreds of years ago, the Chinese women believed that the most beautiful thing for a woman were the smallest feet instead of a beautiful face or a well filled-out figure.
At the evening everybody had time to enjoy the impressive city Shanghai.
Ackeret, Ehrensperger, Hasler, Zadro