Manufacturing is one of the most technical aspects of the fashion industry, and where so many brilliant designers fail. Without manufacturing operating like a well-oiled machine, you’ll be unable to keep control on your supply chain, run out of important material, suffer delays, and ultimately, lose contracts. Without a clear understanding of manufacturing, even the brightest fashion mind will fail.
While you will learn part of it on the job, being prepared and understanding some of the core principles of manufacturing will allow you to avoid mishaps, headaches, and costly mistakes. Here are a few things you should know before you start manufacturing your clothing line.
If you get a per style quote from a manufacturer, it will usually mean for one colour. For instance, if you get a quote on a 20-piece minimum order and you want the item in 3 colours, then your minimum order will be 60 pieces. While this might seem frustrating considering that it looks like a minor change on the surface, the manufacturer still has to pay people to switch treads on each colour, which adds time and costs. However, there are some manufacturers who will include multiple colours in their quote. The best thing you can do is ask, but these are not the norm.
Consider the Possibility of Manufacturing Yourself
There are some scenarios where you could actually benefit from manufacturing the clothes yourself. Manufacturing your clothes yourself will allow you to have more control over quality and your brand. However, you’ll have to keep an eye on your overhead costs if you don’t want them to eat into your margins.
One of the things you should do is make sure that you get a good deal on electricity. Managing an atelier can cost a lot of money, especially if you’re using high powered industrial washer/dryers and various types of equipment like fusing machines or automated packaging solutions. Services like Utility Bidder allow you to save on electricity across business energy sectors, including manufacturing. You’ll be able to find multiple quotes from different suppliers and find the best deal for you. Energy is one of the biggest expenses in manufacturing, so this could make a big difference on your bottom line.
There will be Errors
Not only can there be errors during manufacturing, but you should expect them. And most manufacturers will have a margin of error within their clauses, which will be around the 5% mark. So, you should be ready to see errors on some of your pieces.
Whether the number of errors is within the reasonable range or not, you should make sure that you notify the manufacturer calmly and address the mistakes. After all, they can’t fix anything if they’re not aware of what they’re doing wrong.
Fashion manufacturing is a very technical field and can literally make or break your business. Make sure that you know what you’re getting into before you start, and also make sure that you consider all of your options before you make the jump.
All images are captured backstage during Paris Fashion Week at the Christian Wijnants Spring Summer 2020 Fashion Show exclusively for DESIGN SCENE Magazine by Photographer Anne-Sophie Guillet – see more of the backstage action from this inspiring runway show.