6 Surprises in the Apparel Industry

When you’re starting an apparel line, it’s easy to assume that all it takes to produce the designs you want is a few sketches, some fabric and a production team. But what you’ll find is that there are several aspects of the process that just may surprise you. That’s because there’s usually a ton more involved than you may expect. Here are six surprises in the apparel industry we’ve learned along the way:

1: You’ll Produce Less than You Design

It’s not uncommon for entrepreneurs new to the fashion industry to underestimate how much goes into the process of manufacturing a clothing line. But we've found that you'll "over-design” and produce just a fraction of your concepts. For instance, it’s common to create 100 designs for your collection. But by the time you take it to an apparel factory for manufacturing, you may only create four to 10 designs out of the entire collection. That’s because your designs get narrowed down by each step of the process. At market, you may only show 50 or 75 designs out of the 100 you first produced. Then those designs are edited even further so that it’s ready for manufacturing.

2: Knits and Wovens are Two Very Different Worlds

When you create a knit collection versus a woven collection, you’ll soon learn that these are two very different worlds of fabric. There are apparel manufacturers, fabric vendors, pattern makers and even sewers that specialize in knit and others that specialize in woven fabrics. That means you’ll need to find the right team to handle the type of collection you’re trying to make. For example, if you design your apparel collection with woven materials, then you’ll need a cut and sew clothing manufacturer who specializes in wovens to produce the line for you.

3: There are Different Types of Knit Techniques

From different gauges to various weaves, the world of knit fabrics is even more specialized than you may think. There are research and development (R&D) teams that even specialize in specific yarns and techniques. So, it’s worth doing your due diligence and finding an apparel manufacturer that specializes in the type of knit technique you need.

4: Product Development is Very Important

While it’s great to design clothes, if the clothes you’re making isn’t “production-friendly,” it won’t last. You have to take the necessary steps to produce a quality line especially since this can impact your brand's reputation. This includes making the time to develop a prototype, which is a key step we include in our four-step process at Clothier Design Source.

5: Timelines are Everything

It’s not uncommon to see fast fashion companies today create their own timelines and make clothes for customers in a matter of months or even weeks. But if you want to create an original collection and not follow copies, production takes time. You have to design seasons ahead of what's in stores today and work a year in advance. But getting these products to the consumer on time is less challenging when you opt to get your apparel made in America. A U.S. clothing factory can help speed up the time it takes to deliver the product for a U.S.-based audience since they are physically located near your base customer.

6: It’s All About the Details

We've realized that every detail that goes into your garments matters. From the trims to the construction to the technical design, you have to consider every factor as it can impact the look and final cost of your apparel line. For example, if you design your apparel collection with knit materials, then you’ll need an apparel design factory, pattern maker, and technical designer who specializes in knits to produce the line for you.

Final Thoughts

Whether it’s a new apparel designer or a long-standing U.S. clothing manufacturer, we’ve partnered with a wide variety of apparel entrepreneurs and organizations to help them bring their vision to life, including helping them find out more about the apparel industry through theApparel Academy and Facebook group, the Apparel Academy Mentoring group. Don’t be caught by surprise. Instead, team up with a fabric expert with the experience you need in finding the right fabrics for your clothing line. We're here to help you get started. Contact us

Mindy MartellComment