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A glimpse into international fashion production

Management students who envision working in or with China are offered an opportunity to join the International Production programme. Precilla Sedney spoke to a handful of students who shared their thoughts and motivation for this specialisation.

Hong Kong International Fashion Production - City View

One of the many views of Hong Kong. Credit: Pia + Kim

The International Production programme is a twenty-week programme in the sixth semester designed to familiarise participants with the cultures and practices of fashion production in China. This programme is so unique and valuable in the fashion industry, and not only because it offers students the opportunity to essentially follow an extra internship. They’re transplanted into one of the leading fashion production countries to study sustainability, quality management, logistics and many other special projects.

International Production Fashion Management in Hong Kong China

A snapshot from 2010 inside a company’s offices in Hong Kong. Credit: Jermaine Reawaruw

Do your own research

‘The International Production specialization takes it few steps further on what you normally learn about sustainability at AMFI. You are able to follow courses and work with real life situations in Hong Kong combined with having to deal with language and cultural differences.’ – Martine Veldink, 2nd year F&M

Doing business with China

‘I’m interested in the production industry and the relationship between Western and Asian companies. This program is really interesting for me because it takes place in Hong Kong. It would give me the chance to experience my parents’ home country on a whole different level.’ – Queeny Cheung, 2nd year F&M

Students first receive three weeks of intensive preparation before they start the next phase in Hong Kong. Besides subject refresher courses (on topics like sustainability) as well as an intensive WRAP course, students learn to begin to speak and write in Mandarin Chinese.

PolyU campus Hong Kong China

PolyU campus in Hong Kong.

They depart one-way to Hong Kong from Schiphol and are enrolled at the esteemed Hong Kong Polytechnic University (Poly U) where they will follow business and cultural classes. They begin a work placement and complete a research assignment on behalf of a production company. Usually two or three students complete each assignment together, over a period of 12 weeks.

Throughout the years that the specialisation has been active, students have worked at a wide variety of companies, including names you’ll recognise, like O’Neill and McGregor, as well as the likely less-familiar Li & Fung and Perfect Moment. Special support for the specialisation this year has is provided by the Dutch organisation Ampek, a group which promotes the enrichment of Dutch business relations with China.

Experience a different culture

‘The programme is teaching me how to interact and communicate with a culture that is completely new to me. Everyone who participates does research to provide AMFI with new knowledge about the fashion industry in Hong Kong and China.’ – Sam Engelhard, about to leave for China

Become a successful entrepreneur

‘The Chinese society has an entrepreneurial mindset, which drives individuals to develop their businesses to a very high professional and technical level. I hope this mind set will inspire me and that I can bring it back to Europe.’ – Sabine Voskuil, about to leave for China

Straight to the source

‘Working in production interests me the most, and 74% of clothing is currently produced in China. Where would it be better to start working in production than in China?’ – Jildou Abma, about to leave for China

Valuable life experience

‘My goal was to expand and deepen my knowledge in the field of quality, international production and cultural matters. At the company I was working with at that time, I was able to use my theory and apply it in the practical surroundings of the company. Next to revising their Quality Manual, How to Measure Manual and several Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) we worked in a team on our own research assignment. It is great to know that our work was being used within the global company and that our recommendations we had formulated for the Global Corporate Quality Assurance Department were being evaluated for possible implementation’ – Sarah Visser, completed the specialisation

from Pia Joosten and Kim Sarah Bürger in Hong Kong 2015

from Pia Joosten and Kim Sarah Bürger in Hong Kong 2015

Here are 5 tips from Sarah to get the most out of the International Production Programme:

‘1) Go on a trip somewhere in Asia while you are there – the Philippines or Thailand will never be as close again!
2) Be aware that not all companies offer production-related placements.
3) Don’t be afraid to find a placement in mainland China – Hong Kong is exciting but a placement in China would make use of your new language skills.
4) Take care of your money business – living abroad can lead to more expenses than you have anticipated.
5) It’s up to you to make the most of your trip – you’re responsible for your own success!’

Stay tuned on the AMFI.nl blog for more tales of the exchange students in Hong Kong and in Amsterdam.

Text and interviews by Precilla Sedney, second-year International Fashion & Management student.

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