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Product Design and Manufacturing Processes in the Fashion Industry

Build your knowledge of the design, preproduction, and manufacturing processes within the fashion industry.

Two sketched side by side displaying fashion product designs on models.

Learn how to design fashion lines and organize their production.

On this three-week course from Bloomsbury Academic, you’ll explore the steps involved with designing fashion products, including the development and use of the design brief, determining the costs to manufacture fashion products, and creating technical specifications for manufacturing fashion products.

Explore the key aspects of the fashion design process

Everything in fashion starts with a design brief. It not only outlines the design and development of fashion lines, but also acts as a guide to help design, develop, and communicate a unified design strategy and brand identity.

You’ll look at the entire design process, starting with the design brief and its numerous components. You’ll also explore how to develop cost estimates, arrange the technical aspects of designs, and manage the product life cycle.

Discover how to plan the preproduction of fashion products

Preproduction processes are crucial to assuring that the fashion products specified are what actually get manufactured in the time frame necessary.

This course will guide you through the various preproduction processes such as patternmaking and creating prototypes and samples. Then, you’ll learn about the other aspects that require consideration such as fabrics, materials, and trims, as well as size range and styles.

Develop cost-effective and high-quality manufacturing strategies

In today’s global fashion supply chain, manufacturing occurs worldwide. To be competitive, manufacturing facilities must be responsive, flexible, efficient, cost-effective, and socially responsible.

In the final week of the course, you’ll delve into the manufacturing process for fashion products. You’ll look at the inner workings of global manufacturing and the strategies you can use to manage the manufacturing process.


  • Week 1

    Designing fashion products

    • Course welcome

      In this activity, you will be introduced to the content that will be covered during this course. You will also get an overview of the topics covered during the first week of this course.

    • What is a design brief?

      Fashion brand companies integrate results of marketing research with color, materials, and fashion trend forecasts to create a design brief.

    • Components of the design brief

      Effective design briefs combine guidelines and direction with creative inspiration.

    • Costing and approval

      Setting the right cost and price for your fashion products is essential to a successful process. Ensuring buy-in and approval from all stakeholders allows for a cohesive product life cycle.

    • The technical package

      Once a design brief and preliminary sketches are prepared, the design team starts to work on technical design information.

    • Product life cycle management

      Product life cycle management is the set of technologies used to track fashion product information and the master calendar through the design, development, manufacturing, and retailing stages.

    • Week wrap up

      In this activity, you will have the opportunity to test your knowledge of the topics covered during the week. You will also be provided with a summary of the week's learning, and some insight on what to expect in the new week.

  • Week 2

    Preproduction processes

    • Weekly welcome

      Moving into the second week of this course, this activity will give you an overview of the topics that will be covered during this week.

    • Pattern development

      Before a fashion product goes into production, let's examine pattern development processes, patternmaking methods using drafting and draped design, the flat-pattern method using a base pattern, and pattern design systems.

    • Making the prototype or sample product

      The first pattern is created for the prototype or sample of the fashion product.

    • Production materials, fabrics, trims and findings

      Many considerations should be made in the preproduction process, namely quality, color management, lab dips, printed fabrics, trims, and findings, as well as dye lot color management.

    • Pattern grading & making the production marker

      Rounding up the preproduction process, one should consider grade rules, size range and style costs, pattern grading processes, and making the production marker.

    • Week wrap up

      In this activity, you will have the opportunity to test your knowledge of the topics covered during the week. You will also be provided with a summary of the week's learning, and some insight on what to expect in the new week.

  • Week 3

    Manufacturing fashion products

    • Weekly welcome

      Moving into the third week of this course, this activity will give you an overview of the topics that will be covered during this week.

    • Global manufacturing of fashion products

      This lesson focuses on global patterns, contributing to the global manufacturing of fashion, and finishes off with a closer look at operations in the Americas, Europe, Africa, Australasia, and Asia.

    • Manufacturing processes overview

      Manufacturing processes for fashion products are those used to cut, bundle, assemble, and finish fashion products.

    • Production spreading, cutting, and bundling

      After gathering all the materials needed to manufacture a fashion product, ensuring the most cost-effective use of those resources is imperative.

    • Manufacturing strategies

      The manufacturing strategy used depends on the product type, supply chain calendar, need for replenishment, and involvement of the ultimate consumer.

    • Sewing and construction system & finishing

      The final stage of manufacturing fashion products entails single-hand and progressive bundle systems, modular manufacturing, unit production systems, and agile manufacturing, new technologies, and finishing.

    • Course wrap up

      In this activity, you will have the opportunity to test your knowledge of the topics covered during the week. You will also be provided with a summary of the week's learning, and some insight into other courses in this series.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Identify the development, use, and components of a design brief
  • Describe the process in determining the cost of manufacturing fashion products
  • Explain the approval processes for fashion lines
  • Describe the development and components of the tech pack
  • Identify the use of product life cycle management systems to track styles as they progress through the supply chain

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone interesting in the fashion industry, specifically the design and/or manufacturing processes.

Who developed the course?

Bloomsbury Publishing

Bloomsbury Publishing is a leading independent publishing house, established in 1986, with authors who have won the Nobel, Pulitzer and Booker Prizes.and is the originating publisher and custodian of the Harry Potter series. Bloomsbury has offices in London, New York, New Delhi, Oxford and Sydney. Within Bloomsbury’s Academic division, it publishes under Bloomsbury, as well as under a number of prestigious and historic imprint names.

Fairchild Books

With a history stretching back over more than 100 years, Fairchild Books is a world-leading publisher in the fields of fashion and interior design.


FutureLearn is a leading social learning platform and has been providing high quality online courses for learners around the world over the last ten years.

What's included?

This is a premium course. These courses are designed for professionals from specific industries looking to learn with a smaller group of like-minded individuals.

  • Unlimited access to this course
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes
  • Certificate of Achievement to prove your success when you're eligible
  • Download and print your Certificate of Achievement anytime

Still want to know more? Check out our FAQs

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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