You might have heard or read the term CMT many times in fashion-related websites or publications.

In this article I will explain you exactly what a CMT business does and if it’s the right type of business for you.

What does CMT stand for?

CMT is an acronym for Cut, Make and Trim. This is a term to classify a service offered by clothing manufacturers.

What is CMT manufacturing in detail?

CMT manufacturing is a service offered by clothing manufacturers whose operations are limited to cutting, making and trimming, hence the name. And in this particular order.

Let me break it down for you step by step:

First Step: Cut

Cutting fabric according to the garment pattern is the first step in order to make a garment. This is normally done by cutting machines but depending on the fabric it might be done by hand.

Second Step: Make

In the next step, clothing manufacturers stitch together the cut pieces of fabric to make the finished clothing piece. This is done by seamstresses who are experienced factory workers using sewing machines. Depending if you want or need a more premium product there might be some hand stitching operations as usual. For example in Neapolitan shirt-making it is usual to sew some parts of the shirt by hand, like the collar for example.

Third Step: Trim

Then finally you have the trim process, after the garment is fully sewn it is time to apply the trims as zips, adhesives, buttons, labels, etc. Of course after the trim there is a quality control check by the manufacturer to ensure they are meeting the quality standards required.

What are the advantages of CMT producers?

  • CMT producers are great for fashion start-ups or new designers, they are much more flexible than FPP factories to work with new designers.
  • They accept small orders, sometimes they can even agree to only make samples without any production run commitment.
  • As they are small companies sometimes they are located in the center of big cities which makes it easier for you to visit quickly and cheaply. You will never find a big FPP manufacturer in the center of London.
  • CMT manufacturers can be very agile which means they can help you get your collection done quicker, especially if you just want to produce a small number of pieces to test how they would sell.

What are the disadvantages of CMT producers?

  • The biggest disadvantage to work with CMT producers is that you have to supply them everything, from pattern, to a tech pack, fabrics, trimmings, tags, everything. This is doable but you need to have experience doing all this.
  • You really need to know what you are doing because with a CMT producer if you send them the wrong pattern or the wrong tech pack they will not have anyone in house to notice those mistakes and they will proceed with production interpreting what you gave them the way they believe to be correct and this will result in costly and time-consuming mistakes.
  • As your brand grows you will outgrow the CMT manufacturer, CMTs can help you with small production runs but if you want to make thousands of pieces/style you will have to find a FPP manufacturer.
  • They can be short in technology and know-how, CMT manufacturers can have a really talented team but sometimes they lack apparel manufacturing technology, if you need to create technical garments with complicated trimmings or specific types of stitching, not all CMT manufacturers will be capable of helping you.
  • They are expensive. CMT manufacturers are much more expensive than FPP manufacturers, of course they accept much lower minimum orders but they cost much more.

When should you use CMT manufacturing?

CMT manufacturing is a great option for you if:

a) you or someone in your team have good design and fashion production skills;


b) you want to produce small number of garments or are just starting a new fashion brand with little capital;


c) you know where to source all the fabrics and trimmings you need.

What is the alternative to CMT manufacturing then?

The alternative to CMT manufacturing is FPP (Full Package Production) or FF (Fully factored) manufacturing, FPP or FF is the same thing.

FF is a term more commonly used in the UK and FPP is used in the US and rest of the world.

More about FPP manufacturing and if you should chose FPP over CMT in this article.

This is it guys for this post, I hope it was helpful to you.

What’s your experience like working with CMT manufacturers?

Would love to hear your comments below.