Creating a desirable and profitable fashion brand isn’t surely a piece of cake, right?
Finding a good brand name, having good marketing campaigns, good PR, finding a great manufacturer, the list goes on and on.
One of the fundamental parts for creating an awesome fashion brand is sourcing great fabrics and trimmings.
In ready-to-wear and accessories, fabrics and trimmings account for 50% of the garment.
I know what you’re thinking. What about design, cut and fit? Isn’t that more important?
Don’t get me wrong, design, cut and fit are very important.
But here’s the thing:
If you have fabrics that have a great hand, that are resistant, that don’t loose color, that look great, you will place yourself in a great position to create great styles.
And in today’s article, I will teach you how exactly you can outsource the best fabrics and trimmings in the world.
Just like the biggest brands in the world.
Bear in mind:
Almost any fabric can be used for any piece, you can find cashmere trousers as you can find a polyester polo or denim shoes, the possibilities are endless.
If that’s so, What fabrics should you be using for your collection then?
Step #1 – Define your Target Market
There are fabrics that are more premium than others.
As mentioned above you can use any fabrics for anything.
It would be a terrible idea to sell fake leather shoes (made of polyurethane or polyester) if you want to be a high-end brand.
Because high-end shoe brands use the best calfskin for their shoes that expand naturally and last forever.
On the other hand:
If you’re a low-cost brand, you can’t afford making polo shirts in a wool/cashmere blend.
Let’s say, you want to sell your polos shirts for 50 dollars.
Well, a good wool/cashmere blend fabric will probably not cost you under 30 dollars/meter.
You would have to go with cotton or some cotton/polyester blend.
Step #2 – Define your Product
Let’s say you want to create an exclusive swimwear brand.
You know the best cotton in the world is sea island cotton and you think of using that.
Great idea, right?
Wrong! Here’s why:
Cotton dries much more slowly than polyester or polyamide (nylon) and is less resistant to stress and washing.
Synthetic fabrics are getting better and better and for certain products are simply the best fabrics you can choose.
Knowing what product you are creating and what are your performance needs is paramount.
For trimmings is the same thing:
Same example as above:
You’re a high-end brand, therefore you have to go for premium zips with metal teeth and puller from a top-class zip manufacturer.
But once again:
For swimwear, you simply can’t use metal teeth as no treatment to protect against salt or chlorine can be applied at the teeth.
Now that you know what fabrics and trimmings you are looking for where can you find them?
In many fashion books you might find a lot of answers such as:
jobbers, local stores, internet searching, yada yada yada,
I respect all those options and by any means please do explore them.
But quite frankly the single and best way to find the best fabrics for your fashion brand is:
Do as the Biggest Brands: Attend textiles trades shows!
Pure end of story.
So, What textile shows should you attend?
These are the best textile fairs in the world:
Munich Fabric Start
Interfiliere – Lingerie & Swimwear specific
ISPO – Activewear specific
The five fairs above are huge, premiere vision is the most important in the world, the one in Paris (there is also premierevision New York but it’s way smaller).
If you would have to choose one fair only go to PV Paris, there are over 900 exhibitors.
You will not only be able to find the best fabrics in the world but you will also learn about the new textile advancements, textile trends, colour trends and so on.
Everybody goes there, I saw Paul Smith in person myself and many other huge designers go there twice a year.
If your budget is limited and you can’t visit premierevision in Paris you have these other options that are much smaller yet good.
London Textiles Fair
Maredimoda – Swimwear specific
How to build a relationship with your mill and how to browse the fairs is another store, make sure you read my 10 Simple Tips to Be Successful at Fashion Trade Shows.
That’s it guys.
What about you? How do you guys find yours? Did you ever go to these trade shows?
I hope this article was useful for you and as usual please leave your comments below.