Creating a new fashion brand is an exciting process. Whether you are a designer looking to craft a brand new dress collection or an established business hoping to expand into this garment range, 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 with dress manufacturers. Take a look below:
Designing for your customer
From the wise words of established designers, ensuring you are creating the perfect designs for your target audience is vital when starting out in business. The dress style you design must translate to your customer base and be available at a suitable price point to ensure profitability.
Alongside pricing and design, considering dress fit and shape is essential. You will need to decide whether traditional looks will remain your signature collection. Or perhaps on-trend cuts will feature throughout seasons.
Sizing is another important aspect of dress design, as individuals have varying shapes and proportions. There are several sectors in dress sizing including petite, standard, plus and tall size clothing. Selecting which subset to design dresses for is ideal for creating a niche brand.
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
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 generally work from a basic ‘block’ pattern. This starts with a standard fit measurement of bust, waist and hip. There may be up to 30 measurements for dressmaking, and 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
As dresses cover a host of occasions from eveningwear to casual style, finding the perfect material is essential. Fabric should be chosen based on the expected functionality of the dress. For example, ball gowns are elegant and beautiful which should be represented by the fabric it has been produced in. Ideal options for this type of garment are satin, silk, taffeta and lace. For casual clothing, you can look at materials that provide a comfortable and durable option for everyday wearability.
It is advisable to source fabrics without the idea of a ‘perfect’ material in mind. You may have the concept or style you are hoping to achieve. However, compromise is a trait learnt quickly by fashion designers across the globe.
To get a high quality finish that caters to your audience, you will have to consider all options, even those that stray slightly from the initial design. Fabric should be chosen based on a blend of availability, continuity and cost to bring it in line with your brand goals.
To achieve the best material option for your dress collections, there are several things to ask fabric suppliers before committing to a bulk order including:
- What are the fabric lead times?
- Is there a minimum order quantity (MOQ)?
- What is the fabric availability?
- What is the fabric width?
- Can I request samples?
Costs are also a critical aspect of the fabric sourcing process. MOQs and fabric availability can affect the price of the material too. Requesting this information will help you make an informed decision and make the fabric buying process straightforward.
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.
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.