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Made in Hong Kong?

Discussion in 'PUBLIC Vintage Fashion - Ask Questions Get Answers' started by StrangeDayz, Oct 9, 2021.

  1. StrangeDayz

    StrangeDayz Registered Guest

    I've become addicted to vintage clothing, hunting and thrifting for vintage clothes to collect and wear is a new passion of mine. I am diligently educating myself on spotting vintage clothing and becoming pretty good at it but one detail I am confused about...

    I routinely find clothing advertised as vintage from the 60s/70s but the brand label will say "Made in Hong Kong". From what I gather that term wasn't used until the early 80s as prior it would be stated "British Colony of Hong Kong" or some reference to the British rule. I find a lot of clothing with "Made in Hong Kong" but look to be pre 80s by the style and fabric. I don't doubt that possibly cheaper brands or just some companies simply put "Made in Hong Kong" back in the 60s/70s but I am not sure how common that would be.

    Is there solid evidence that "Made in Hong Kong" was used prior to the 80s? In the 60s and 70s? Was it rare? Or just not true? and some of the clothing I'm seeing is incorrectly dated?

    Appreciate anyone's time and knowledge, I am lurking here more than I post, trying to absorb as much knowledge as I can.
  2. Linn

    Linn Super Moderator Staff Member

    I own this white wicker handbag that has a "Made in Hong Kong" label in it. It is lined in plastic. I''m pretty sure it's is from the '50s. I bought it at an Collectible Show in Honolulu in 2009. I have done a few searches recently and read that even though we tend to think that "Made in China" is a recent label; we started seeing it in the in the 1970s - and "Made in Hong Kong" without "British" was used earlier than we tend to think, as well - according to some sources.


    The only piece of clothing that I can put my hands on with a "Made in Hong Kong" label is a two piece dress that I bought new in SF in 1988 - so it's now "vintage." Hong Kong was a British Colony until 1997.

    I have lots of antique decorative items - enamel and cloisonné that are just marked "China, " and a little enamel dish I bought at an outdoor market in Hong Kong in 1974 that's marked "Made in China."

    Hopefully others will have some examples to share of these labels.
    StrangeDayz likes this.
  3. Here in Australia we have a lot of HK manufactured clothing and it went a little like this: prior to the '60s, you find garments with HK labels that were made for the tourist market, travellers visiting, or Europeans living there and getting custom made garments. During the '60 there was a lot of travel to HK and some Australian (and probably other Western) countries even set up workshops there. Most of these garments have labels that say 'British crown colony' or similar, and are luxury goods. From the late '60s you start to get labels that are made for Western markets that start to say 'Made in Hong Kong'.

    Eg, this late '60s-early '70s dress has 'Custom Made in Hong Kong'.

    [​IMG] Sperm dress.jpg

    By the '70s, there's a lot of HK manufacturing and especially, you see 'Made in Hong Kong' in men's shirts quite a bit. Here's an example, probably from the mid '70s judging by the collar.

    shirt label.jpg shirt.jpg
    StrangeDayz likes this.
  4. StrangeDayz

    StrangeDayz Registered Guest

    This seems to line up with what I commonly see while out thrifting or hunting for vintage goods. I've come across items that have to be pre 80s if not pre 70s that have a "made in China" or simply "made in Hong Kong". I think it is more common then a lot of online FAQs and vintage clothing guides lead you to believe.

    Thanks for the reply and input!

    This too aligns with what I'm finding and I've come to believe that average consumer products and clothes simply say "made in Hong Kong" while more "high end" stuff have the reference to British colony Hong Kong.

    I have numerous big collar and just blatantly obvious 70s shirts with "made in Hong Kong" on the tag. I've just ran across the "Made in British colony of Hong Kong" is pre '83 and "made in HK" is post '83 lore so many times I've started to wonder. I guess it can help identify an era but I don't think it's the rule at all, I find it more misleading but that's the internet for ya... Maybe it applies more to woman's clothes? Anyways I appreciate the replies!
  5. Avantbo

    Avantbo Registered Guest

    Hi Linn,

    I like yours and yes 50s.

    If I have a cavate it's the metal work, to me, it's not 50s, more 70s or later.
  6. Avantbo

    Avantbo Registered Guest

    Oh wow!, great dress.
  7. When you see 'Made in China', it usually indicates early '90s at the earliest because that's when the country opened up to mass commercial manufacture. Before then, garments were made for the tourist market (similar to HK pre '60s) but you can easily tell the dates by looking at the other labels and style, construction, fabric etc.
    Midge likes this.
  8. Avantbo

    Avantbo Registered Guest

    My earliest memory of "Made in China" is from 1969, it wasn't clothing but a Cassette Recorder and my brother getting a right ear full from Dad accompanied by the plaintive cry of " it wasn't my fault"--and it wasn't, the thing stopped working and Dad complaining was nothing made in England any more.

    My love of all things costume to one side, I have been an all things tool nerd all my life and if there is was one thing I learnt from the 80s onwards, never trust a tool made in China when it came to quality or reliability.

    That is not to say there aren't some decent Chinese tool brands but the majority is crap.

    I am trying to think with all my costume collection if I have come across anything with a HK label on it and I feel sure not but that doesn't mean an item wasn't made in HK or China.

    Looking at other costume collections on these forums, they were certainly producing some good looking vintage wear.

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