I just got back from a 13-hour flight and three-hour layover in Los Angeles from Shanghai, China. My family and I stayed at the Regalia Hotel. An apartment-style living accommodation with two bedrooms, tons of closet space, two baths, a living room, an office area, dining room, full kitchen with a microwave, as well as a washer and dryer.

While visiting for nine days, my business associate and personal Chinese guide took us to a fabric manufacturing plant, a sweater factory and a special market area, dedicated to making what they call "replicas." We call them "knock-offs."

China's replica business is a multi-million-dollar industry. A quality Gucci handbag replica, for example, could cost between $200 and $300 Yuan or $45 in U.S. currency. They make replicas of everything from faux diamond watches to high-end shoes. The value of a dollar was up during our visit, so we enjoyed lots of shopping. I bought quality replicas for my friends and family, who appreciate the cost difference and the fact that they look amazing!

While in Shanghai, I was treated to an elaborate lunch before visiting a five-story, fabric manufacturing plant, called Ren Ren Le. In this building was everything needed to manufacture a clothing line from sample to shipment. Before you visit the five floors you are required to put plastic shoe covers on. It was impeccably clean, organized and efficient. I was shown the steps to creating a clothing line, that included; weaving the fabric, coloring the fabric, making the patterns, making the samples, cutting the garments in stacks of 50 at a time, sewing, inspecting, ironing, pricing, packaging and finally shipping out finished products. We saw hundreds of garments being made for clients like Sears, Ross and Hello Kitty.

It was amazing to see a garment come to fruition from the cutting-room floor to the hanger. Our hosts were so hospitable, gracious and extremely professional. I also got to shop for fabrics for my own sample house here in Ahwatukee, as well as develop a relationship for manufacturing my daughter's clothing line. Relationships are a high priority in China so it was imperative that we meet them in person. It was worth the flights.

• ON Fashion lives in Ahwatukee Foothills, is married with two children, has modeled since age 10 and was a runway model for more than 15 years. She owns two businesses, is a seamstress, fashion designer and world traveler. Her fashion column appears in the AFN. Email questions to Onfashion@onfashion.biz.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.