Fashion Lines: From Idea to Product In 6 Steps November 14 2014

Starting your own fashion line can be fraught with road bumps, so below are some guidelines to smooth out the process. 

  1. You might have a great idea for a shirt and are able to make rough sketches of said shirt, but in order for it to be manufactured you will need a tech pack.  If you cannot do this yourself you can hire a freelance designer through websites such as Elance or contact design schools.  Be sure to meticulously check references, reviews, and previous work before hiring a freelancer.
  2. You will need to make a sample in the middle size of your size range and an accompanying pattern.  Some garment manufacturers will provide this but you may opt to go to a local independent pattern maker, especially if the factory you are using is not local.  This will give you greater oversight because most factories can copy a sample and pattern well, but not necessarily be able to produce a garment from a tech pack that is up to your standards.
  3. The pattern maker or the factory must grade the sample into the sizes that you want to sell.  Make sure that the grading is consistent across garments.  For example, a size 10 in one shirt should have the same basic measurements as a size 10 in a different shirt.
  4. Some factories do not provide fabric.  If this is the case with the factory that you are using, you will have to ship the fabric to the factory from a textile mill or fabric wholesaler.
  5. You must provide the factory with hang tags, care labels (wash instructions), content labels (components of the fabric: % polyester, % cotton, etc.), RN labels, size labels, country of origin labels, and labels with your company's name (see photo).   You can include content, wash instructions, RN, size, and country of origin on one label.
  6. Once you give the garment manufacturer your sample and pattern they must make their own sample based on what you gave them.  Once you approve the sample, then they make samples in each of the sizes you want to sell.  Once you approve the size samples then they should send you a production sample with all of the tags and labels. 
I would like to note that if you decide to manufacture overseas, it is important to either travel to the factory yourself or hire an experienced independent inspector who is stationed or travels frequently to the location of the factory to oversee production.