Understanding the fashion production process
Updated: Jun 21, 2019
Learning the fashion production process is a challenge, especially when you are a new small fashion company entering the industry. The type of product that you design will dictate your exact production process; however, there are commonalities across all products.
The following is a list will acquaint you with the 12 key stages that are common to most fashion products and help you learn how to work through them:
All good products begin with diligent research. Make sure to check out your competition and general market trends. Investigate which shapes, colors, and fabrics are in style.
2. Product Design
This is the stage to let your artistic talent shine. Let your market research guide you or your designer to develop product designs for the items that you want to bring to market. Of course, it is most common to have the designer's creativity block or struggle with the choice of tools to carry out your work, but you can always reach out to Internet or books to get a little bit of inspiration.
3. Fabric Selection
Once you've settled on your design(s) and have a feel for current trends, order sampling fabrics and trims to inspect and choose your favorites.
After you have completed this step you can begin to look into details such as how much fabric will you need for production and whether the supplier's terms of quantities and delivery meet you requirements and needs.
Mass production requires that you make and cut patterns for the products you wish to produce. This way each item turns out the same every time allowing you to make high quality garments.
Traditionally, there have been two ways of creating patterns: flat pattern cutting and draping. In the first approach, the patterns are cut on a flat surface in two dimensions; whereas the "drapping" approach consists of draping a piece of fabric onto a mannequin and work on it until the desired design has been drafted.
Toiles are the garments you make to test your patterns before you use real fabric. This stage gives you the opportunity to rethink or adjust your designs before spending too much time and money with your chosen fabrics.
6. Product Samples
Once you have settled on your designs and tested them by making toiles, you need to cut and sew product samples. These samples will serve as the prototypes for those who are cutting and sewing your garments. You might also find useful to create duplicate or sale samples in different colors for marketing and sales purposes.
7. Final Selection
Inspect your product samples and choose those that will be part of your collection. You may use all of your samples, or you may decide that when you see some of your designs in their chosen fabric that you do not like them. This is also an opportunity to rethink your design and fabric choices prior to the final stages of the production process.
8. Price Your Items/Take Orders
Calculate your final production costs so you may price your items accordingly. Once this is completed, take orders from retailers that will be carrying your items so you know how many pieces you need to produce.
9. Size Items
Before producing your order, you need to prepare to produce your garments in multiple sizes. This is achieved by grading your pattern for the sizes you will be producing.
10. Garment Production
After designing, choosing fabrics and creating multiple samples, you are now ready to produce your garments. If you want your business to success, you will need to look into the less creative side of the production: logistics and manufacture. Run a thorough research to find a reliable factory to produce your garments: You can use online tools such as databases of manufacturers or attend local manufacturing trade shows.
11. Quality Control
In the apparel and garment industry, the quality eligibility of the products are based on several factors such as durability, performance and perceived quality of the article of clothing. Quality control measures are found throughout the entire production process, but you must take advantage of a final inspection of your garments prior to sending them out.
12. Package & Ship
The final stage of the fashion production process is packaging and shipping your garments to their buyers.