Materials Sourcing: Not to be Overlooked!
Many designers (established or otherwise!) rarely spend the adequate amount of time necessary for materials sourcing. Materials sourcing can be just as labor intensive as the style development and production cut-and-sew process, but often gets overlooked as a smaller detail when in fact it’s where the whole domino effect of your supply chain will begin. Your product will really only ever be as good as the materials you source, so it’s important to make sure that you are testing for shrinkage, crocking, hand, or any other details of importance to your brand. Once you start making 1st and 2nd prototypes in your styles you ideally want to keep the materials the same the whole way through to control for other variables that might need adjustment. The key is to keep your development fees to a minimum, (because you don’t see returns on development), and one way to do that is to spend the adequate time/homework in sourcing materials. Of course, part of the reason the development phase exists is to see how your chosen materials sew up, so if the fabric/trim isn’t working from the get-go, it’s OK to move on an try something else! Successful sourcing strategies always involve a plan A, B and often C. Also, you either want to be buying your materials in bulk, or making sure you’re sourcing from in-stock suppliers otherwise once you get to production you won’t have anything to cut.