Choosing fabrics for your designs will have an impact not only on your garments but on your business in general. Things like minimums, freight, continuity and availability of fabrics, prices (off course), etc. can affect your cash flow, cost, prices and more and should all be seriously considered before committing to fabrics.
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Below are our top 5 points to consider when sourcing fabrics for your fashion line:
Here are the top 5 points to consider when sourcing fabrics for your fashion line:
- Price point - As a creative person compromising design for price can be the most challenging part, but as a business you must find the balance. The perfect fabric for your design is one that not only looks and feels good but fits into your cost. Working with a cost sheet when designing your line will help you understand what should be the cost of your garments and how much of it can you “afford” to spend on fabrics. When you meet with a fabric rep you should always communicate your price range so they can guide you in the right direction.
- Quantity – As a start-up brand, knowing how much fabric you will end up needing for production is almost impossible. So how do you go about it? Unless you are building your business around a specific fabric (re: specific technical fabrics), than look for fabrics that you can buy in small quantity (either stock or with additional surcharge) but if needed in bulk as well. Nowadays managing inventory and cash flow became a big challenge for fabric mills therefore most mills narrowed down their selection of stock fabrics, and are focused on stocking only basic qualities and colors. Most fabrics that are not stocked will normally require a minimum of 300 yards per color which can be quite a lot to commit to at the start-up stage, but many times they will accept smaller quantity for extra surcharge, or at times they can even tag your order with another customer who is ordering the same fabric to reach their minimum.
- Freight cost and time – where your fabrics are coming is something that should be smartly considered. Most fabrics prices are given without the freight included, so always make sure to ask about that. There are 2 main options: 1. LDP (Landed Duty Paid) price - the price includes the fabric + shipping and import fees. 2. FOB (Freight On Board) price – the price does not include the shipping and import fees. Most times mill prices are FOB so be aware of that especially with imported fabrics. The cost of shipping and custom/duty on those can be very expensive and should be included in your product cost sheet. Also consider where the fabric is being shipped from, a cheaper fabric that comes from far can end up being more expensive than a fabric that is closer.
- Width of fabrics – this part can also affect your product’s cost. You might find a fabric with a good price but if it’s too narrow the consumption per garment will be higher and it will end up being expensive after all. This comes to play even more if the fabric has one direction or a print that requires a placement or need matching.
- Recovery- this goes mostly for stretch fabrics. Test the swatch/header out. Does the fabric recover from the stretch and keeps your pants in shape or look worn and stretched out. Really feel the fabric and make sure it drapes and hangs the way you want your garment to. Also don’t be shy to ask the fabric rep for relevant info such as: What type of garments this fabric is used for usually? What brands use this fabric? etc. You will be surprised of how helpful they can be.
Can’t find the fabric that you want? New to the process and not sure what fabrics would work for your designs? No worries, we can do the work for you. We offer a range of sourcing and consulting packages that can accommodate any pocket. Check out our sourcing page.