Understanding your supply chain is an important part of owning a fashion line. If you are unsure of what goes into creating your line from start to finish, you’re going to have a hard time describing exactly what you’re selling (remember: transparency is key). We’ve created a cheat sheet to help you understand each stage of the supply chain when you’re manufacturing a fashion line.
Stage 1: Design
You can’t produce a line if you don’t have designs to work from. Whether you are creating the sketches yourself or working with a designer, you will need to establish the details of what your products are going to look like. This includes: style, color, fabric, silhouettes, trims and finishes.
These details are what will eventually go into a CAD and Tech Pack for your manufacturer to be able to create samples of your product.
Stage 2: Material Production
This step isn’t as directly linked to your own supply chain, but is still important information to know. The fabric that your products will be composed of need to be created. Not only should you know where the materials you’re using for your line came from, but you should also keep in mind that the textiles industry is one of the most damaging industries to the environment.
This is especially important to know for brands who want to establish themselves as socially responsible. You should know everything about what went into creating the materials that you are using for your line.
Stage 3: Clothing Production
This is where your pieces finally become a reality. This is where you go through the process of selecting a manufacturer, creating samples and then eventually beginning production on your garments.
It is important to note that getting to actual production requires patience. You must go through creating CADs, Tech Packs and samples in order to ensure that your products are perfect when you begin on production. You don’t want to skip these first steps just to speed up the process and then receive a low-quality finished product.
Stage 4: Distribution & Retail
This is where you ship your products out either directly to your customer or to any retailers that carry your brand. You want to ensure that when you get to this point in the process that you are doing all you can to ensure that your customers and retailers are receiving shipments on time and without damages.
Stage 5: Consumer Use
You should be aware of what happens to your product all the way until the end. You should be aware of whether it became a product that people wore once and then never again or if it became a wardrobe staple. You should also be aware of what went into laundering your product because many garments give off harmful plastics that find their way into the ocean.
Additionally, you should be aware of what happens to your product at the end of its life cycle. Only about 25% of textiles are repurposed or disposed of properly. Again, if you want your brand to remain socially responsible, it is important to follow your product all the way until the end.
As consumers become more concerned about where their products are coming from, the more they are holding brands accountable for being able to provide the entire supply chain. As a brand owner you should be able to completely understand the supply chain process and be able to provide that knowledge to your customers. The fact that you can break down the history of the product for them could be the reason why they choose you over your competitors.