How clothing designers and manufacturers collaborate on clothing lines?

How clothing designers and manufacturers collaborate on clothing lines?

Collaboration between a designer and a clothing manufacturer is a complex matter. It requires constant communication and involvement from both sides.

Collaboration between a designer and a clothing manufacturer is a complex matter. It requires constant communication and involvement from both sides. For a designer, this ratio determines the overall quality of the line; for the apparel manufacturer, it determines the quality of their work and future customer relationships. In this article, we will focus on the design collaboration in the fashion industry.

Steps of cooperation between the designer and the clothing manufacturer

Product development phase

The collaboration between the designer and the manufacturer is the foundation of the apparel business. The first time you communicate with each other, you need to have clear expectations about what outcome you want to achieve and how each party will work together.

The product development phase consists of:

Create a business plan. At this point, the designer makes a plan for his business. This plan includes a Definition of the target market, budget, and objectives.

Visualization of the idea. After the business plan is completed and approved, the creative part begins. At this point, the first sketches, color stories, and fabric choices are made.

Create a tech pack. Once the brand has a clear vision of the design, it is time to move on to the technical part of the process. A factory tech pack contains technical sketches, datasheets, colors, and fabric settings.

Pre-production process

The normal pre-production process usually involves several steps:

• Define and select the right type of manufacturer for a particular company.

• Share and negotiate the tech pack with the manufacturer.

• Settlement agreements and payment terms by both parties.

• Communication between the two parties.

• Sample approval before production.

Choosing the right type of manufacturer

Whether you are a small brand looking to produce in small quantities or a large retailer ready for mass production, there are several options. While it was previously difficult for a small brand to find a producer, now many are ready to support young artists.

Choosing the right type of manufacturer is a starting point for a clothing company. Once a brand has a factory tech pack and has a clear idea about the design they are trying to make, the next step is to find the manufacturer who can build the ideas.

When choosing a factory, the decisive factor is the services they provide. One thing to consider: Are you looking for a factory that can build directly from your tech pack and specification sheets, or do you need a full manufacturing service from product development to construction?

There are two main types of clothing manufacturers:

Production of TAB clothing (Cut, Make, Trim). This type of manufacturer is suitable for tech brands that have experience working with factories.

FPP is perfect for brands that are just starting. The FPP factory will provide resources for all stages of product creation, including sample making, fabric supply, and manufacturing.

Share the tech pack with the manufacturer

Once the correct type of manufacturer has been selected, the designer shall communicate the tech pack and supporting documents to the manufacturer. This step gives the garment manufacturer a clear understanding of the type of garment being made, the fabrics and trimmings used, and the resources required to keep the project running smoothly.

Processing Agreements and Payment Terms

Many potential problems can be avoided by creating a clear manufacturing agreement. When production is done overseas, the process can be very complicated. By clearly displaying the results, adding as many specifications as possible, and defining payment terms, both parties save a lot of time and resources.

Here are our top 5 tips for apparel makers from an industry professional.

Communication between designer and manufacturer

Once the collaboration has started, continuous and timely communication between the designer and the clothing manufacturer is the key to success. It is therefore important to keep an eye on the conversation. Effective communication is impossible without a basic understanding of apparel manufacturing terminology.

It takes a long time to search your inbox and update your emails. It is also very easy to miss important advertisements in your spam folder or promotional emails.

Sample approval before production

The sample approval phase is an integral part of the garment manufacturing process. It's also a final step before mass production begins. By creating a sample, a designer can get an idea of what the final garment will look and feel like. In this way, a manufacturer can demonstrate their skills and develop a relationship with the customer. The sample must be reviewed and approved before the final production run. Factory samples are usually much more expensive than the unit cost of the finished product.

Many changes can be made to the original design before the final sample is approved. These changes can include fabric type, finishes, sizes, and patterns. It is important to document any changes made during the sample creation process.

Compare Tech Pack versions, document changes, and mark changes

Garment manufacturing process

Transition to the production phase

Manage the production process

Managing the production process includes timely dispatch planning, efficient use of manpower, and monitoring of the supplies and equipment required for each job.

In short, production planning is about:

Plan all activities.


Delivery of products.

Apparel manufacturers need to make sure everything goes according to plan, they can't waste time or materials. Inadequate planning can lead to opportunities being missed. Delays can result in late fees. If the manufacturer does not deliver, the customer quickly changes a company and takes his place. The clothing industry operates in a highly competitive environment.

Payment management

Payment terms vary in the clothing industry. Traditionally, the manufacturer received 55-70% of the order value of the manufactured goods. The manufacturer would use this amount to buy raw materials and finishes for manufacturing. Sometimes a buyer presents a letter of credit to the manufacturer in which a bank guarantees that a particular seller will receive the money from a particular buyer. Lately, a sales contract has become very popular in the clothing industry. With this system, a clothing manufacturer relies on the buyer's order.

On-time delivery

Ideally, a clothing line should be delivered if the customer so desires. Early and late delivery can lead to difficulties due to the limited storage capacity.

For garment manufacturers with a lot of staff and on-time delivery, raw materials are the key to meeting deadlines. This also helps pay additional costs for overtime and overnight supplies of materials. Shorter delivery times between order and delivery are a trend in the clothing industry. Those clothing manufacturers who manage to meet short delivery times have a competitive advantage.

To avoid production delays, the apparel manufacturer takes on the day-to-day management of every step. Once the production plan has been approved and delivery deadlines set, the plant ensures that the plan is correctly followed. For example, if the cutting team is behind schedule, the sewing and finishing teams have to wait. This can lead to potential backlogs and delays in deliveries.