Mastering Local vs Offshore Fashion Manufacturing: Key Differences

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This week I received an email from a new designer who made a classic mistake that many people make that can have a huge impact on the results they get from their initial email to a manufacturer. They were asking about what fabrics we have in house and to look at our catalogue. This is a classic offshore v onshore mistake and could be costing you more than you think.

Have you ever wondered why it can be tough to get responses from local manufacturers? Not understanding the differences between local and offshore manufacturing is super important for anyone in the fashion industry. Let’s break it down together and see why it matters!

Local Manufacturers Are Not Developers

When you’re dealing with local manufacturers, it’s key to know that they usually don’t handle the development process. If you need patterns or detailed customizations, you’ll need to bring those yourself.

In Australia, for instance, most manufacturers don’t make or keep their own patterns. They use patterns provided by clients. So, when you’re approaching a local manufacturer, make sure you’re ready with your fabric, labels, graded patterns, and all the details.

Customisation Needs and Costs

Customisation can mean anything from simple embroidery to complete design changes. Offshore manufacturers often handle these tasks because they work with larger orders, allowing them to cover development costs over many items.

Local manufacturers, however, usually work with smaller orders and don’t set aside funds for development work. This means you’ll have to supply all the info and materials for your unique designs.

Communication Challenges

One big reason businesses might switch back to local manufacturing is the communication hurdle with offshore production. Language barriers, time zones, and cultural differences can make collaboration tough.

Working with local manufacturers helps minimise these issues, but it comes at a different cost—either in pricing or your involvement in the development process. Good communication is key to making sure your expectations match what the manufacturer delivers.

Click on the images below to watch this weeks video

Mastering Local vs Offshore Fashion Manufacturing:

Fabric Sourcing and Availability

Sourcing fabric can be tricky no matter where you’re manufacturing. But with local producers, you’ll often need to take the lead. Different fabric types require a detailed understanding, including weight, structure, finish, and colourway.

Offshore producers might help more with sourcing fabrics due to their larger operations and your larger orders. However, this can mean longer lead times and potential compromises on fabric quality and available options.

Ready-Made Blanks vs Custom Manufacturing

There’s a whole market for ready-made blank garments. Companies like AS Colour and Gildan offer pre-made garments ready for printing or embroidery. This is a different game compared to custom manufacturing.

If you’re thinking about a local manufacturer for custom items, make sure you understand this difference. Buying blanks for customisation is simpler but limits your design options.


Understanding the difference between local and offshore manufacturing can seriously impact your business’s success. Offshore production might offer scale and development help, but local manufacturing gives you better communication and quality control—though you’ll need to be more prepared.

Make well-informed decisions to set up your business with the best manufacturing strategy. Join our workshop on July 22nd for a comprehensive guide on starting your local fashion business. Let’s turn your ideas into reality!


Get Your Free Ticket


Are you looking to start and grow a successful fashion label from scratch? Register for my free workshop for fashion designers where I help you understand the steps to starting your own clothing label.

What’s included:

  • The 5 Reasons why NOW is the BEST time to Create a Locally Made product
  • The 7 Different business models of product launch growth. We’ll show you how you can start ASAP on a low budget
  • The 6 Biggest Mistakes to Avoid When Manufacturing Locally
  • The Essential 6 steps to developing and manufacturing your label from Scratch (missing even ONE of these can put you on your back foot)
  • Discover YOUR Fashion Business Super Power
  • How to Market Your Unique Label
  • How to find the IDEAL Customers who will LOVE your design and Get Quick Feedback on Your Idea
  • The Fashion Business Success Blueprint to Successful Fashion Label Development and Manufacturing (this is EVERYTHING you need to know)
  • How We Can Help you Create Your Label
  • Dozens of Examples of Labels that are Thriving (and what they did to succeed)

Book your seat for the ‘Start Your Fashion Business’ Workshop which is valued at $920 but FREE today. It’s not too late. Sign up today and watch the recordings over the weekend.

Start Your Fashion Business Workshop

Get Your Free Ticket