QUALITY CONTROL

Well … you made it to the end of our series.  Mazel Tov!  But, as you are probably aware, this isn’t the end, it’s the beginning because it all truly gets started from here.  Your collection is about to ship, you’re on to the next season, your head is probably spinning and yes, you got it, this is all going to happen again and again … Oy, it’s a vicious (but fabulous!) cycle!

If you’re in fashion, it’s more than likely that you’ve heard the phrase “QC” but what exactly is it besides short hand for Quality Control?  QC is an undeniably important facet of apparel production.  Regardless of the quantity of product you are producing, one should never have to choose between quality and quantity.  Human hands put in time and care to meticulously ensure that each garment has the same impeccable craftsmanship you originally intended it to have so each of the garment factories that we work with works tirelessly to ensure that their hard work is consistent and is measured at the high quality that you have signed off on.

QC follows a hierarchal order in which routine inspections are done.  In our overseas factories and other production centers, QC is a vertical operation conducted on-site, where the internal staff manages daily operations and conducts in-line sewing inspections.

Scroll down to see what all the fuss is about.  It takes a village, but you are SO worth it!

CUTTING

Wow, we are almost at the end of our series and this production order is nearly complete! Okay, but enough celebrating …

The next step in the process after your sizing has been approved and your graded markers have been printed out is CUTTING. At this point, your marker is laid out on top of your fabric and it is now the cutter’s job to assemble and cut your pattern pieces in preparation for the final step of this long and arduous process: sewing! After this comes the final steps of finishing, pressing, QC inspection, packing and shipping … and jeez it feels like this process never really ends! But hold on, we’re nearly there!

As you probably guessed, it is important that we do not shortcut the cutting process. How do we avoid this? Well, let’s cut right to it and watch this week’s episode to find out. (See what we just did there…)

 

GRADING

On a scale of 0” to 5” how high do you score?

Uhhhhh … what?

This week’s episode addresses something that affects all of us…grading.  No…not the kind that your math teacher gives out, but the kind that determines what size garment will fit you.

A graderule is put together by the technical experts in a company and determines how your fit is going to be sized. This must be built around the type of product but also ultimately is determined by your target customer.  Are you going for the European slim and tailored fit or will you yield more to a relaxed American fit?

Once you have established your graderule, it is implemented in the marking and grading phase of production.  Your approved fit is handed off to the marking and grading team to be reduced and increased in all major POMs to get you your size XS, M, L and so on.

What’s more important than implementing a graderule? TESTING IT!  Ha…get it?

In a size set fitting you get to see how your garment fits on a small or large sized human form. Check out this week’s video to see how you can make the grade!

SMS

What does it take to finally be runway (or retail market) ready?

It not only takes blood, sweat, and tears but also requires photo ready pre-production salesman samples, or “SMS” in our native tongue!  With the help of pins, clips and tape during the photo shoot, the digitally altered appearance of samples can fool anyone into thinking that it is the final product, however, there is a lot more required during the SMS development cycle in order to make the garment truly production ready.  Planning and managing the development calendar are key factors to completing this process along with answering the questions beginning with how and when.

Every detail from the tech pack is brought to life and tested in a final SMS (the ones we can get done in time, anyways…).  SMS are aesthetically the closest you will have to a production ready garment and can safely be used for your website, look book, fashion show, press requests and retail market appointments.

It really is fun to see your collection come together at this stage!  Unfortunately though, there is still some more work to do before you are production ready 😉

Scroll down to learn the importance of salesmen samples in the pre-production process.

 

 

TRUST US

Pardon the expression but, sh*t happens, and trust us, if it hasn’t happened, you can bet that it will!

The process of getting your product to market is not pretty or smooth, but we’re here to help fly through the turbulence together with you and get you to your destination in one piece!  For example, when your fabric is late because of a massive typhoon in Hong Kong, or when the seam taping you ordered can’t be used because your fabric has a special waterproof coating and the trim vendor never sounded the alarm during the development stage, it’s our job to steer you in the right direction during these unpredictable moments.

It is incredibly scary, but we need you to remember that we are on your side.  Got it?  Good, because class is in session!  And remember: teamwork makes the dream work, and everyone involved in this process from the fabric mill to the sample maker is part of the team.   Scroll down to learn more about why trust is key!

 

TNA

Ready, Set, (Time &) ACTION!!!

So how long does it really take for a concept to get from your head to the consumer?  6 months?  Maybe 8?  Try an entire year!  We all know that the design and production process takes quite a bit of time, but the real question is how do we get from point A to point B?  The answer is to have a thoroughly detailed time and action (“T&A”) plan that outlines exactly when and how we’re gonna get ‘er done.

A well-planned T&A is essential for a new designer and their production team to have because it allocates time for various parts of the process like design, sketching, sourcing, fitting, and waiting for an entire country to open up from being on holiday for the month!!  Yup, not kidding!  A year-long time frame is ideal because it eliminates the chaos that accompanies rushing a process and permits enough time for any obstacles or pushback to be remedied.  In our experience, it’s always better to under promise and overdeliver.

In short … slow and steady really does win the race!  Scroll down to learn more about creating an effective T&A and all that it entails!  #ohbehave

 

BOM + SPEC

BOM?  Spec?  TNA?  POM?  WTF!

Do I need a dictionary?  A translator…? Huh?  Most of what we do for our clients is help them decipher industry jargon, so I guess you could say we are the interpreters to help you understand the day to day lingo.  This week’s episode is pretty straight forward and explains the difference between two major parts of the tech pack: the BOM and the Spec page.  Scroll down and tune in for this week’s lesson:

 

POST-FITTING

Okay…so we’ve just spent the night in fitting jail (c’mon work with me here!), and F2F pulled through and posted your bail.  So what’s next?

This is when our team of designers, product developers and tech designers come together to rework, revise and issue fit comments. This process can take anywhere from a few days up to 1 ½ weeks depending on the number of styles in your collection.  It might be a simple “correct + proceed” directly into the next approval stage, or it might require a total rework.

Then, a few weeks after our comments are sent out, when the next round of fit samples come back in, we wash, rinse and repeat it all over again until we are production approved and ready to go into cutting and sewing.

Scroll down for more post-fit recap interesting tidbits:

FITTING

WEEOOOO! WEEOOOO! WEEOOOO!  🚨

The tech police are in town and ready to arrest any specs that are out of tolerance!

JK!! But seriously though, the whole purpose of a fitting is to try on your samples and adjust where necessary and maybe even catch any “crimes” made by the factory in the process. This is when you finally get to see your idea come to life on an actual live form. Exciting right?! We fit using professional fit models to be able to transform the sample into a functional garment, so you can be one step closer to being production ready. At this point, tech and design come together to review and ultimately revise the sample.

While the designer handles the overall aesthetic and construction of the garment, the tech designer is really the one who starts getting their hands dirty to handle fit call-outs and, not to mention, cross-checking specs and measurements before a sample is even put on a body. Fittings can be tedious, but all-in-all they require a real team effort to fit, make corrections and revise techpacks. Want to know what goes into a fitting? Scroll down to see this week’s episode!

 

TECH DESIGN

Don’t you hate it when you go into a changing room at a store to try something on and it doesn’t fit?  Ugh.  Well, welcome to the club!

Unfortunately though, we can’t just blame this on the big birthday dinner we just ate!  When something doesn’t fit right, you risk facing disappointed customers and, more tangibly: returns, which is something that we want to avoid.  This is why it is soooo important to have a top notch Technical Designer on staff when launching your brand. The TD works closely with the creative director to build the foundation and FIT of your garment.  TD’s are the keepers of the specs and, while armed with fit comments, they go to battle with the factories to fight for your garments right to fit!  (Insert corny garment picket sign here!)

More than anything, fit is the most critical part of any successful collection out there, and it is the technical designer’s responsibility to establish, manage and maintain your specs and sizing.  As a wise sage once said, “No matter how pretty it is, or no matter how well priced it is …. If it don’t fit, you don’t got a business”  Scroll down to watch Episode 14 and learn all about the importance of the Technical Designer.