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Where Are Most Buttons Made?

The majority of buttons are crafted in China, the global hub for button manufacturing. This industry thrives on a blend of skilled labor, technological innovation, and cost-effective production. Intrigued by how a simple button can connect you to a vast network of global trade? Discover the journey of a button from factory to fashion in our full article. What's the story behind your button?

There's only one hot-button issue in the Chinese town of Qiaotou: buttons. Located in the coastal province of Zhejiang, Qiaotou contains hundreds of factories devoted to making approximately 60 percent of the world's buttons.

Manufacturing buttons is a seemingly recession-proof endeavor, and the town has thrived ever since transforming itself from a farming community to a button manufacturing hub. Success can be seen in myriad ways, including a mall with more than 550 shops dedicated to the little clothing connectors.

According to legend, the button business in Qiaotou began after three brothers spotted some discarded buttons lying in a gutter. They picked them up and knew there was money to be made in the little circles.

On the button:

  • The oldest known button fragment dates to 3,000 BC and was found in present-day Pakistan.

  • Button sizing relies on a unit of measurement known as a "ligne"; 40 ligne are equal to 1 inch (2.54 cm).

  • Buttons with buttonholes for attaching to clothing were first used in 13th-century Germany.

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Discussion Comments

anon1005144

Very interesting.

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    • More than 60% of the world's buttons are manufactured in the Chinese town of Qiaotou.
      By: elen_studio
      More than 60% of the world's buttons are manufactured in the Chinese town of Qiaotou.