Let's explore what start-ups need to prepare to get their collections manufactured.




A lot of fashion start-ups make the mistake of approaching a factory with a rough sketch or photograph and expect the supplier to quote a price and produce a garment from this limited information. Unfortunately, this approach is very unrealistic and can be frustrating to factories that don’t have time to coach you through what is involved in product development and manufacture. A factory needs to know exactly what your design entails, and the way to convey this information correctly is to prepare a tech pack for each style.


What is a tech pack?


Sometimes referred to as factory packs or style packs, a tech pack is like a blueprint for any garment you want to produce. It creates a plan and good foundation upon which great collections can be made. It should contain 3 main elements, although this can vary depending on the complexity of the style.


1. The colour cad


This is a digital fashion flat drawing of the garment. It is in colour with accompanying textile Pantone codes and shows both front and back views. It also details fabrics to be used.


2. The tech sheets


These are black and white drawings of the garment and drill down further into the design details so the factory can understand how to construct the garment. The tech sheets communicate which techniques you want to use on things like prints and embellishments, and specifies information on any branded elements like zip pulls, badges and labels. Seams, stitching and buttons are referenced along with design details such as pockets, collars, cuffs, openings and fastenings.


3. Size specification chart


Often referred to as a “spec”, this size chart documents all the points of measure a factory will need to create a pattern, make your garment to the correct sizes, and calculate important information such as fabric consumption and an accurate price. Each point of measure is an industry-standard point on the garment such as chest, armhole, waist and length. It also covers some measurements you may not be familiar with such as front neck drop, back neck width and collar point.


A size spec is not the same as a size guide that is often displayed on retailer’s websites. These size guides are very generic guides on body sizes only, whereas a size spec concentrates on garment sizes and is tailored to each individual style.


A size spec is usually prepared in your desired sample size such as medium or large for initial sampling, then graded once you are ready to go to production.



All 3 elements are combined into one PDF document for each style.





What can go wrong without a tech pack? Trying to create a garment without a tech pack leads to many problems and can waste a lot of time and money for both the factory and the start-up brand. If you don’t tell the factory exactly what you want, they may have to potentially fill in the blanks for you. It’s best to be in control of those decisions from the get-go and avoid miscommunication or a very lengthy sampling process. Often factories just don’t have the time to devote to holding your hand throughout the process because that is the job of a fashion designer. Usually, start-ups neglect the correct design process as they are either unaware of what they need to create or trying to save money. But the money you invest in decent tech packs, in the beginning, will save you a lot of time and money in the long term. It will also show to prospective suppliers that you are serious and committed to your brand, and increase your chances of forging good relationships with them from the beginning. Get ahead of the competition by adopting the approach the fashion professionals follow for manufacturing their products and make sure you prepare detailed tech packs for your fashion brand.

If you have any questions, comments or feel you need help with tech packs for your collection or any aspect of launching your fashion brand then get in touch and we can discuss your requirements - info@thefashionexpert.co.uk or Book a free discovery call by clicking here.



Michelle Ramsay - The Fashion Expert®



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The question every business wants to know is will they achieve success, and that's no different for fashion startups. During my consultations and mentoring sessions, I get asked a lot if I think a client's idea is a good one, so here are my tips on success for fashion startups.



1. Have Belief.


First and foremost, you need to believe in your idea, brand and product. If you're feeling half-hearted about it then it's not the road for you. The clients who have most success are those who relate to a passion in their life. You might be a gym buff who's dream is to see your brand worn in an athletic setting. Or how about your passion for yoga? Do you live in your studio apparel and want to launch your own line?

Starting up a new fashion business takes courage, determination and commitment, so make sure you're choosing something that will spur you to keep going.


2. Understand Your USP.


In business circles you'll hear that you need a U.S.P. to become successful. But what is that and how does it relate to fashion? A unique selling point is something that sets your brand apart from the rest of the world.

This U.S.P. can come in lots of different formats and relate to both the product and the business. Some examples of what can make a business unique are:

  • your products fill a gap in the market

  • your prices bridge a gap in the market 

  • the way you sell is different

  • the types of fabrics you use are unique

  • your brand supports a charity

  • your brand is ethical in trade and manufacturing processes

  • your brand is eco-friendly, organic or fair trade



3. Innovate.


I'm always amazed by my clients when they come to me with an idea for something totally new, that's never been seen before.

Innovation is a great way to boost your success. If you've tried to buy a product and couldn't find it, then you've identified a gap in the market to fill, and that's half the battle. Chances are, you're not the only person looking for that product, and there is an untapped marketshare waiting to buy it. You just have to get it out there!


  • Clothing that includes new technology or fabric development

  • Garments that perform a function

  • Apparel that is for a certain age, size, body type

  • Clothing that solves a problem




4. Be an improver.


Another set of clients that do well with their startups are those who take an existing idea but make it better. Perhaps you love a particular type of apparel but wish there was more choice on offer. Maybe you feel certain brands or markets are lacklustre and need a boost or refresh. You might already use a type of product and realise it doesn't quite perform how it should. These are all things you can improve upon by:

  • Making garments fit better

  • Manufacturing with more premium fabrics

  • Offering a better choice in styles

  • Improving how a product performs eg. in the gym or outdoors

  • Giving customers more accessible price points

  • Injecting fashion into a stale market

If you have an idea for a fashion startup, and want to chat with an expert or get help starting, just get in touch for an initial consultation here or drop me a line info@thefashionexpert.com


Michelle Ramsay

The Fashion Expert®

www.thefashionexpert.com


#freelancefashiondesigner #fashionconsultant #startupspecialist #fashionstartup #fashionmentor #fashiondesigner #clothingdesigner #thefashionexpert #thefashionexpertuk #launchafashionbrand #newfashionbrand #emergingdesigners #newtalent #clothingdesigner #appareldesigner #designer

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One of my most favourite ways to relax is to watch films, whether that's at the cinema or at home. As most of us are staying at home just now, I thought I'd share with you my top 10 fashion films to help inspire you and your fashion brand or help channel your inner fashionista.


I have to admit my real love lies in the real-life footage of couture ateliers and so 9 of the 10 recommendations are documentaries, but I really think you'll love these, whether you're into fashion or not.



It's worth noting that these are listed in no particular order (OK number one is my actual favourite!), and all have their own merits and unique points. I've tried not to give too much away but revealed the reason I've chosen each film.


1. Valentino - The Last Emperor.


This documentary follows the last season of Valentino Garavani and tells the story of his life and career in fashion. I adore everything about this documentary from the work at the atelier to his relationship with his pugs and (former) partner Giancarlo Giammetti. It also shows the changing environment of the industry for a fashion house, and the respect Valentino holds from some of the other fashion industry legends. Expect emotion by the bucket-full!



2. Bill Cunningham - New York.


The story of The New York Times photographer who for decades documented street and society style. You'll wish you had sat with Bill at a dinner party by the end of this film, who was renowned for travelling around on his bike with his camera, always on the lookout for his next shot. "We all get dressed for Bill", Vogue editor Anna Wintour.



3. Lagerfeld Confidential


I love the whole insight into Karl Lagerfeld as a person in this film. His life, his dress, his aloof personality are absolutely fascinating to me, not mention his love and talent as an artist and photographer. And then we see him at work with the house of Chanel! It's got it all.




4. The September Issue.

This documentary chronicles the effort that goes into producing Vogue, and not least of all the September issue, which in the industry is the most important of the year. We get to see the symbiotic relationship of Anna Wintour and Grace Coddington, and how both their talents are needed to make this work.



5. Diana Vreeland - The Eye Needs To Travel.


Diana's life is a journey through the fabulous, from Paris during The Belle Epoque, New York in the 1920's, her pre-war time in London and back to New York. There isn't a dull moment in this documentary which charters her career at Harper's Bazaar, Vogue and The Costume Institute at The Met.




6. Marc Jacobs & Louis Vuitton.


If there's one thing that shines through in this film is the tendency for the fashion industry to attract workaholics. It's a chicken and egg scenario. Marc Jacobs tirelessly creates and works throughout, but the results are stunning and you won't be disappointed.



7. Dior & I.


Raf Simons' debut season at Dior is captured on camera in this film, in an intense pressure-driven timeline of 8 weeks. Star-studded with celebrity cameos we see behind the scenes in both the atelier world and awards circuit.




8. McQueen.


The genius of Alexander McQueen is a great loss to the fashion industry but this documentary shows a genuine biographical insight into why his legacy lives on through his incredible art today. It's filled with passion, emotion and tragedy and I can't watch this without shedding a tear every time.




9. Coco Before Chanel.


Sometimes to understand something we must first look at the past, and this film is the perfect example. Audrey Tatou portrays the early years of Gabrielle Chanel, and the somewhat sad circumstances of her life that ultimately shaped her future and who she became.



10. Iris.




Iris Apfel is one of those people who it truly individual and to understand this you need to watch this documentary. I love everything about her maximalist style and to see her clothing and jewellery collection is insane. High points are witnessing her shopping trips and her love for Carl her husband.


I'd love to know how many of these you've already seen and which ones are new to you. Did you love them? Let me know.


If you have any questions, comments or feel you need help launching your fashion brand then get in touch and we can discuss your requirements - info@thefashionexpert.com


Michelle Ramsay - The Fashion Expert®


#freelance #fashiondesigner #thefashionexpert #thefashionexpertuk #michelleramsaydesign #fashionbusiness #fashionconsultant #fashiondesign #startupfashion #thatsfashiondarling #startupconsultant #fashionpreneur #fashionstartup #startupspecialist #launchyourbrand #clothingline #fashionmentor #businessoffashion #fashionbusinesscoach #techpackdesigner #fashioncads #techpacks #businessadvice #emergingfashion #sustainablefashion #startafashionbrand #launchaclothingline #fashionfilms #vogue #stayathome



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