Starting a new fashion brand is exciting. You may have ideas of designing dramatic ball gowns or cheeky, micro bandage dresses for dancefloor-loving twenty-somethings. However, while enthusiasm and creativity are key, there are some fundamental aspects to consider before you can begin manufacturing your dream dresses.
Dresses are a renowned wardrobe staple and suit a variety of occasions from formal events to everyday casuals. The traditional design dates back centuries and as style evolved, the fit, feel and symbolism of this iconic clothing has a special spot in textile history. As a new designer, dress patterns will play an essential part in your new collection. There is a range of different cuts and designs to build upon, and tailoring your styles to suit your brand aesthetic will help establish your signature look.
The process of bringing your new collections to production doesn’t have to complicated. With the help of Sewport, there is a host of resources available to assist with the entire project. You can do everything from creating a tech pack for your designs to making those all-important first enquiries. Plus once you’ve found your perfect dress factory, everything can be tracked in your personal dashboard from samples to final production.
We’ve also compiled some handy tips to take you through some important steps before starting production. Read on to find out more:
Designing for your customer
“Over the years I have learned that what is important in a dress is the woman who’s wearing it” – Yves Saint Laurent.
From the wise words of many established designers, ensuring you are creating the perfect designs for your target audience is vital when starting out in business. Are you creating high quality, Oscar-worthy gowns or sundresses for a day at the beach? Defining your direction will really uncover the types of cost prices you need to stick to in order to reach an appropriate retail price.
On top of prices, dress shapes and styles vary dramatically, and you need to ensure that each of your designs remains on-brand and appropriate for your customer. Will you cater to all body types or segment to a specific woman? These should all be carefully considered and answered before production.
Researching your target market
You may have the perfect customer in mind, but if your designs don’t translate to the demand in the market, it will be harder to sell your products. Research and analytics are powerful tools and should become your best friend when starting out. Defining the target market and customising your brand experience to this segment will help give you an identity in your niche.
Further information: How to start a clothing line
Getting the right fit
The technical specifications such as measurements and the fit of your dresses are an essential part of the production process. This information is sent to your chosen dress manufacturer to ensure your designs are produced correctly.
Dress manufacturers tend to work from a basic “block” pattern in, say, a size 10 and alter to suit your design. There can be up to 30 measurements for dressmaking, but it starts with the standard fit measurements of bust, waist and hip. This information alongside nape to waist and waist to length measurements help to develop the proportions for a dress.
Other important specifications include chest, above the bust and around the back, and underneath the arms. You will also need armhole measurements for comfort, and if the dresses have sleeves, then sleeve length is important too.
Further information: Creating a Tech Pack
Creating dress patterns and reviewing samples
Once you’ve found the perfect fit for your dresses, you’ll need to make patterns. If you’re not a pattern cutter yourself, you can find help for this on the Sewport platform with pattern cutter professionals. You will need to decide your size range (e.g. UK size 8-16), so your patterns can be graded to perfectly fit each size. From here, samples can be made in each of the sizes you plan to produce.
An important stage of garment manufacturing is receipt of your sample dresses. Take this time to analyse each design and gain valuable feedback from a selection of your target audience. This will enable you to make any changes at this critical stage before bulk production. If you don’t know what to expect or how sampling looks in production, check out our post about how a factory produces a garment for more clarification.
Further information: How Clothes Are Made
Choosing a clothing manufacturer
Once you have your designs finalised, it’s time to find the clothing manufacturer you wish to work with on Sewport. There are professionals from all ends of the production process, as well as ones who take the entire process off your hands, depending on your needs.
If you have everything prepared including samples, patterns, fabrics and trims, select a CMT partner. This stands for Cut, Make and Trim, and these factories will take your Tech Pack and designs together with your patterns and extras to complete the final product.
For fashion brands who have the initial concepts, but have little or no pattern cutting or making skills, choosing a Full Production Package (FPP) is the perfect option. There are a variety of FPP factories on Sewport, and each provides a comprehensive service to bring your ideas to life.
If you are still not quite sure if FPP or CMT production is the best option for your clothing brand, check out our blog post to help you decide - CMT or FPP clothing manufacturing: Choosing what’s right for you.
Whether you need a small order of exclusive designs or are planning large orders for a retail chain, taking a dress collection to production is an exciting step for any fashion business. To make the process straightforward and simple, Sewport is the perfect partner for your project. By using our simple filtering system, you can find ideal ladies dress manufacturers to suit your requirements.
In the meantime, tick off the suggested tips on our list to make sure you end up with the perfect fitting dresses for your target audience.