FABRIC AGENTS – how, who, where, what!?

FABRIC AGENTS – how, who, where, what!?

Posted by on Oct 2, 2018 in Emerging Designers, Established Designers, Fashion, Fashion Design, Industry Know How, Industry Trends, Manufacturer, Sample Room Solutions | 0 comments

As part of our Fashion Label Launchpad program we have a group call with our Mentees to discuss challenges and questions they may have. It is also a great opportunity to chat with industry, and like minded people who are in the same position as you. Who knows what next great idea or inspiration will come out of the conversation! During our August catch up there were a range of great questions (and answers!) but let’s talk about the very first one “HOW TO CONTACT FABRIC AGENTS.”The reason I am choosing this topic, is because fabric sourcing is often one of the first questions we get asked when people first approach Sample Room. It is hot on everyone’s lips to say the least. Unfortunately we will not supply you with fabric. This would be an impossible task as there are 1000’s of fabrics and I believe that fabric should inspire your design process. This is far less frustrating than choosing a fabric that you can not find locally. We will however provide guidance in where to do and if a fabric is suitable.  So; how, who, where, what!? Let’s start with WHEREYou don’t need to find someone in your local state. If you choose the right agent and communicate your needs correctly there is no reason why you can’t use an agent interstate. Most fabric companies will have a local rep so please call and find out if there is someone near you. You could search overseas as well but keep in mind the shipping charges. To begin with, try not to think about having a fabric made up just for you as the minimum order qty will be out of your reach (often 20-60 rolls). Which leads us to HOWThis is the most important part. How you approach Fabric Agents and how you communicate your needs will determine your fabric success!I recommend the first contact made is via a phone call. But before you pick up the phone be prepared.Prepare yourself by:–Creating two moodboards; one for colour and one for styling- this is important to show the agent what you need  if you don’t know the names of the fabric-Detail, very specifically, who your target market is so they understand the price point and end look.-And, how will your target market be using your garment?-You might also like to find garments that use similar fabrics so show what you like.Have this at the ready and pick up the phone. Ok, so WHAT fabric do I need?Leave this up to the Fabric Agents! They are very knowledgeable, they ARE the experts in fabric. You can have a look through the range but if you give them an idea of what you are looking for from the above list then they will be able to suggest a variety of fabrics to suit.  If you follow the previously mentioned preparation steps they will be able to...

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5 Top Specification Tips

5 Top Specification Tips

Posted by on Nov 4, 2015 in Emerging Designers, Established Designers, Fashion Design, Industry Know How, Sample Room Solutions | 0 comments

It has again been so long since my last blog, sorry. As a perfectionist I am waiting for the right thing to write instead of the latest question I have been asked. As always these blogs are developed as little messages to you, based on what we have seen in our work room and what we have explained to our customers to make their life easier and help them understand a small sections of the technical side of the industry.Specifications are a mystery to many and through the development of the fashion industry over the last 10 years, they have lost their way a little. Originally a specification was created after the pattern was made to assist the manufacturer and ensure that any noticeable shrinkage or discrepancies in the pattern making process where caught through the aid of measurements.With the change in processes 10 years ago, and more people moving offshore for their development and manufacturing, the process and reasoning behind a specification got a little bit lost.The change meant specifications were created by measuring garments and guessing numbers. The idea being that a pattern could be created from these measurements and then through fitting, the correct sample would develop.For those who have worked with offshore manufacturing you understand that very little interpretation of these measurements is taken and no consideration to balance or fit is understood.From the pattern makers’ perspective it is important to note that a range of numbers do not make a pattern any more than a dot to dot makes the image of a kangaroo.I have seen very few specifications created in a way that a pattern maker can correctly interpret.In light of this we have found that when designers who traditionally work with overseas manufacturers move to local pattern makers they still feel the need for specifications.The general process plays out like this:A garment is brought in to the meeting and discussed, including what changes are needed and what the desired result of the design is.A specification is presented.What then happens from a pattern maker’s perspective is a pattern is made and then just as much time is taken to try to fit back to the specifications that often goes against what was discussed and against the desired result.I will then ring the designer and ask permission to use the garment that we have and my pattern knowledge to create the desired look and then create specifications after approval of the sample.I understand that many of the designers we work with have never worked in an industry where you have direct and easy contact with technicians to discuss their needs. I also understand the need for some sort of control to keep the range consistent and for the buyers of their product to understand how they came to this desired result based on past sales and company design culture. However, I feel it is...

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Are you a successful business that has lost faith in your pattern library?

Are you a successful business that has lost faith in your pattern library?

Posted by on Jul 3, 2015 in Established Designers, Industry Know How | 0 comments

You are not alone.I often talk on this blog about issues that start-ups encounter. Mainly because they are many and varied and a new issue arises each week. Today I would like to talk to you about another key group of customers that often call us in absolute panic and with an urgent, very problem. Quite often this customer has been in business for 5-10 yrs. They have built a business on a great idea, sales have grown at a steady rate but they have now reached a sustainable level which is great but this now exposes some major pattern making issues that have compounded from cheap start-up costs and a culmination of different pattern makers, specification sheets and off shore patterns. Customers have started complaining and sales are lost sending the business backwards quickly. Whilst the above paragraph seems scary to many of us, it is nothing in comparison to the huge collection of patterns that need changing and the unknown costs to do so. How much will this cost to correct ALL these patterns? Where do you start? Is this going to break your business more than a few unhappy customers?Well it does not have to be as big a job as it may seem, in fact it is a chance to take on a new level of professionalism and gain a whole new customer base. On the plus side, you know how to sell, you have a name people know, and if you have caught it early the damage will not be too great.I love working with these customers but it is clear to me there is a smart way of going about it and an expensive way of going about it. There may be some pattern makers who start at pattern 1 and move through the range 1 pattern at a time racking up a huge bill at the end.At Sample Room we take a more holistic approach. We meet for an in-depth consultation where we overview the whole range, talk about what is working and the company goals. So often what is discovered is through the growth of the company the owner admits that there have been some decisions made that now don’t make a lot of sense. Once we have overviewed the whole situation it is possible that you have 4 core styles and once these styles are corrected and approved you can develop 16 styles off these in line with your current patterns. With computer pattern making it is easy. You will have a clearer approach and much smaller bill than expected.So if you have found your business in this predicament and you would like to know more, give us a call on 03 9041 3488 to arrange a consultation.We also conduct meetings on skype so if you are interstate or overseas you can still talk to someone who can help.Remember the...

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