GARMENT CONSTRUCTION AND PRODUCTION
KEY STAGES IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF A GARMENT
1. After the first design stage, the buying and merchandising team have to decide on the design to produce according to trends and fashion forecasting, type of store, price and customer profile. A collection or range will be planned and a specification sheet for each garment will be produced.
2. Once the product design is agreed, the buying team will request for samples or all the products to be purchased.
3. The base test fabric approval is required for all fabrics to ensure that the fabric is suitable for its intended use in terms of performance and meets minimum standard required by law. The individual combination of types of tests performed varies according to the product type. Extension and recovery is used in swimwear whilst tailored clothing would not be tested for this but would need wrinkle recovery testing. Bulk fabric test must be done before the fabric is sent for production and is a legal requirement that all fabrics are tested by an independent (or in house when available) testing laboratory to verify the content of the fibre used so that the care instructions will be labelled accordingly. The fabric chosen must also undergo further testing regarding colour fastness.
4. The product review or range presentation will confirm the designs intended for production. Fabric and print designs will still have to be authorised by the senior management.
5. Fit samples are produced by the manufacturer so that the company can review the garments to make sure they fit properly through a fit sample to evaluate fit. Buyers and merchandiser will review the samples on either a fit model or on forms. Whilst most companies will evaluate fit on both a form and a fit model, smaller companies may not use models but will use forms or will measure with a tape measure tape to make sure that the measurements match the original spec sheet. Most of the larger size companies will conduct fit sessions with fit models to determine if the garment fits and drapes properly. It’s important to note that if the garment does not fit, changes to the spec sheet will be done and issue a revised spec sheet to the manufacturer that will produce new samples to begin the new review process with revised samples.
6. Lab-dips are swatches of fabric dyed in tonal variations of the colour requested and sent to the buyer. A Pantone reference is used and normally there are two or three variations that will be examined using ultra ‘light boxes’ to reproduce day light, store light and ultra violet light to resemble the intended bulk fabric. At this stage the critical path is needed to track progress from sample to delivery. Trimmings such as buttons, interlining, shoulder pads etc. will be also need approval at this stage and lead-time must be taken into account if sourcing from different suppliers.
7. A set of garments pre style which represent all the sizes will be sent to the buyers for final approval before production can start. The graded samples will be checked and the label will be put in place .Although nothing can be sealed until the fabric test are received, this is the sample will be the sealed record to be referenced when manufacturing.
8. Before the supplier will proceed the manufacturing process, garments are sent to the buyers to check it against what was approved and that the label are in place. The garments will be tried again and if there is a problem, the sample will not be sealed and the rest of the production will not be accepted for delivery.
After bulk production starts, and the goods are delivered to the retailer or DC. Like in fabric sourcing, there has been a significant shift of garment manufacturing to the Far East. This migration started as a need to save costs of a fast changing fashion industry that has to cope with new fashion systems and high competition where lower prices and latest trends...
Bibliography: Eberle, H. & Hornrberger, M., 2007. Clothing technology... from fibre to fashion. Berlin: Europa Lehrmittel.
Goworek, H., 2007. Fashion buying. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.
Jackson, T. & Shaw, D., 2001. Fashion buying and merchandising managament. New York: Palgrave.
Kahn, Cohen & Soto, 2005. The Fashion Manufacturing Process. [Online]
Available at: http://www.garmento.org/process&skills/chapter10.pdf
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