From humble beginnings sewing foreign labels onto their sweaters, Erdos feels the weight of responsibility as one of China’s oldest fashion brands

“Our goats provide the very best cashmere in the world,” claims Li Jing, CEO of 1436, the luxury fashion arm of one of China’s best-known conglomerates, Erdos.

It’s no empty boast: The company pays three times the price of their competitors for genuine arbas goat hair, which must meet exact standards—less than 14.5 micros in fineness and at least 36 millimeters in length, hence “1436.”

The cost of these conditions is passed on to luxury buyers, Erdos’s new target market, and the holy grail sought by every Chinese textile company seeking to establish their own brands. But while Erdos is held up as an exemplar of the state’s “Made in China” industrial upgrade policy, it has the typical frustrations of a Chinese company balancing standards with cost—and a conflict between fierce capitalism and ecology on the Inner Mongolian plains.

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Label Economics is a story from our issue, “China Chic.” To read the entire issue, become a subscriber and receive the full magazine. Alternatively, you can purchase the digital version from the App Store.


Emily Conrad is a contributing writer at The World of Chinese.

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