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An introduction to production materials, fabrics, trims, and findings

A closer look at the considerations made in the preproduction process in terms of materials, fabrics, trims, and findings.

To assure the accuracy and consistency of fabrics, materials, trims, and findings are available for manufacturing, fashion brand companies are continually working with textile mills as the prototypes are developed.

Production fabric, material, and trim considerations include financial considerations, preproduction color management, lab dips, printed fabric considerations, strike offs, and specific considerations for trims and findings.

In an ideal situation, the company would be able to wait until merchandisers within the company or retail buyers had placed their orders for merchandise before the needed quantity of fabrics from the textile/material producers were ordered.

Such a situation would eliminate the financial risk that would result from ordering fabrics/materials that might not be needed. But if fashion brand companies were to wait to order fabrics/materials until they knew exactly how much of each fabric/material in their lines would be needed, they would have to wait weeks for the fabrics/materials to arrive from the textile mills and/or material producers. For large companies, a production run of one style might require 6,000 yards of fabric, as well as the necessary trims and findings for each style in the line.

In addition, if textile/material producers, not wanting to risk manufacturing excess fabric /material, also were to wait until the fashion brand companies had ordered fabric before beginning to produce the yardage to fill the manufacturers’ orders, the fashion brand company would have to wait even longer, perhaps months, for the production yardage to be manufactured and delivered to the sewing facility.

Producing the merchandise would probably take several more weeks. As you can imagine, these cumulative delays would be so lengthy that retailers would not receive the goods at the peak selling time. Therefore, fashion brand companies are continually working with textile mills as the prototypes are developed. In fact, fashion companies that utilize a fast fashion supply chain calendar may preselect materials prior to design development to assure that the materials will be available in a timely manner.

Fashion companies have a number of financial investments prior to receiving compensation for their efforts. They must purchase materials, manufacture products, and distribute them to retailers prior to the products being sold. Therefore, fashion brand companies often need to establish a credit line or cash advance so they can buy materials in advance of the season when they will receive payment. Due to the nature of retailing fashion products, the fashion industries face a high level of financial risk.

Some fashion companies use commercial banks for their financial backing. However, their interest rates may be high, and some commercial banks are not willing to accept the degree of risk involved with fashion companies. Therefore, another type of financial agency called a factor may be used. Factoring is a short-term plan that allows business owners to receive a cash advance based on the value of their current invoices so that they do not have to wait several weeks or months to receive their payments. Factoring is not a loan. Rather, the factor is actually purchasing the outstanding invoices and then sending the fashion brand company an advance on the invoice value (Factor Funding Co. 2012).

Now that we have a basic understanding of production materials, fabrics, trims, and findings, we will examine some of the considerations that need to be made during the process of planning orders in the next step.

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Product Design and Manufacturing Processes in the Fashion Industry

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