Are you aware of the fabric sourcing misconceptions in the fashion industry?
There’s actually many that people aren’t aware of. Today we’re going to talk about the top fabric sourcing misconceptions. Let’s dive in!
Fabric sourcing is arguably the most difficult part of starting a fashion line. It can take months depending on the fabric and price-point you’re looking for– especially on a startup budget! And fabric vendors, rarely ever answer all of your sourcing questions immediately. They usually have to go back to the mills (which are typically overseas) and that takes a lot of time.
#1: “Fabric Sourcing Shouldn’t Take Much Time.”
Sometimes you’ll find a fabric you love and discover it doesn’t match something else. Then you have to start sourcing all over again! It’s a long, arduous process, so plan ahead on your calendar!
#2: “Fabric Sourcing Can’t Be That Difficult”
Fabric sourcing requires background knowledge that either comes with experience or from a fashion business coach. Fabric width, weight, prices, and minimums are all factors to consider- not to mention landed costs!
Now there are over nine specific questions that you definitely want to be sure you ask every time you’re sourcing fabrics and all of them are included on our free fabric sourcing guide here.
FAW Pro Tip
If you’re sourcing a specific type of fabric and you’ve been searching through various different vendors, you might want to create an Excel chart for yourself and write the vendor name, price, fabric width, weight, etc to keep track of all your finds. Moral of the story – stay organized!
#3: “I Can Design With Any Fabric I Want.”
I see a lot of new designers think that they can just find anything in the world because they have seen it out there and it exists. If you’re a large company sure, no problem. But for small, emerging designers, you’re much more limited. Not everyone is willing to work with your small quantities and you probably can’t afford every type of fabric out there.
You don’t want to make the mistake of sketching out your entire line in a fabric that you can’t use. Professional designers source fabrics first and then design into what they’ve already purchased. It’s much harder when you do it the other way around.
#4: “If I Use This Fabric for Market and Switch Out Later, It’s No Big Deal.”
Many new designers use a fabric they’re not 100% happy with just to be able to make their samples in time for market. They rush because they want to hit a certain timeframe or make market week; but they’re using fabrics that they don’t 100% love.
One of our clients made this mistake. Once the buyers saw her line, they all said they didn’t like the fabric so she had to start sourcing fabric all over again! It’s better to be happy with your fabric choice from the beginning rather than rush and regret it later. Plus if you have already approached buyers and they don’t like your line because of the fabric, then it’s not going to work. She just lost her chance at possibly getting those buyers to come back again the following season because they’ve already seen her line and didn’t like the fabric.
#5: “I’m Sure this Fabric Will Still Be Here When It’s Time for Production.”
No – they may not be available and this is a dangerous assumption. You must ask upfront if the fabric is a continuous fabric, meaning is it something that the fabric vendor always stocks. If it’s not in stock, how much do you have to order to get it back in stock? If it’s something that can be replenished, you’ll need to know how often they replenish it. You need to know all of these things. It’s super important when you are fabric sourcing, you want to make sure that those fabrics are going to be continuous.
It’s crucial that the fabrics that you choose are continuous fabrics and you can get them if it’s a year later or possibly even two years later. You don’t want to spend another $500 to make another sample just because you can’t get the fabric again. Especially if you’re using those African prints that are in the market, a lot of those companies run out of those prints really fast. You constantly have to check if it’s in stock and I always try to avoid having to purchase fabric upfront. Purchasing entire roles upfront is another mistake to avoid– unless you’re absolutely certain you’ll use it.
#6: “Five Options for Each Fabric Type Is Enough.”
Five options is DEFINITELY not enough. and this is one of the most common fabric sourcing misconceptions. When I used to work in the industry and I had to source fabrics, I wouldn’t even dare go to my boss unless I had at least a minimum of 20 different fabrics to show her for one type of fabric that we were sourcing. If we were sourcing a lace for instance – a specific lace like a Clooney lace or something that was for a specific style, I wouldn’t even dare go to her unless I had like 20 options because there’s just so many different variables. Something could be 95 polyester, 5 spandex, and anywhere from 230 to 250 GSM. Then the fabrics can completely range in hand feel and traceability and retention. There are so many things in the construction of the fabric that can change and are different variables, so it’s good to have options. Additionally, cost is going to be a huge factor for all of you because you are new and you’re just starting out and so you want to be able to make sure that you’re getting the lowest cost. Bottom line – just get as many options as you possibly can.
Now that you know the Top 6 Misconceptions, let’s talk about the Newest and BEST way to source your fabrics!
A Convenient Alternative to Fabric Sourcing
Sourcing fabrics with low order quantities and a lean budget is challenging even for experienced designers. Up until now, designers have very limited options and typically can't work with the overseas mills as their minimums are HUGE! But we've discovered an amazing new platform, Digifair where designers can source fabrics online with NO MOQS! Digifair is a free, concierge-run platform that connects designers with the right suppliers-- based on their materiality needs.
Independent fashion designers and small to medium fashion brands worldwide can now count on Digifair as a great service for fabric sourcing. They are a service designed to take care of every step, from requesting swatches and fabric for sampling to final production and delivery. The company makes the whole process of searching and receiving fabric, material, and trims, easier for the buyer by finding the right product for each request and taking care of all the logistics. And all of this with no MOQ (minimum order quantity).
Digifair is here to disrupt the fabric sourcing logic. Small and medium brands, as well as emerging fashion designers looking for fabric, can request exactly what they want and Digifair has a specialized team of concierges to match fashion designers’ needs and help them every step of the way.
“Digifair solves the pain experienced by fabric and material buyers who don’t find exactly what they want -- or not at their price range -- for their fashion collections or are turned away because their order quantities are too small," says Arnaldo Goldemberg, Digifair’s CEO.
With Digifair, fabric and trim buyers make requests and count on a concierge service that finds the most suitable products for their needs, worldwide. The company takes care of the whole fabric sourcing process: buyers ask and Digifair finds the fabric, trims, and material they are looking for, making sure that exactly what was ordered, is delivered to their doorstep, through a curatorship of suppliers all over the world. Digifair also allows buyers to pay in installments so they pay off their fabrics while their collections are in production or even being sold.
We are happy to announce our partnership with Digifair, along with an exclusive offer of up to 50% off shipping on your first requests with them! Register and start using this free service right away.
Because of our new partnership with Digifair, they are extending the below discounts to all FAW peeps!
- 50% off shipping on your first swatch, hanger or header order (up to 2.2lbs/1kg),
- 25% off shipping on your first fabric for sampling order (up to 10.9 yards/10 meters) and
- 25% off shipping on your first final order.
Promotion is valid on your first 3 requests made between Sept 5 and Dec 5, 2019
To get the discounts simply:
- Sign up for FREE on their website/mobile app.
- Post a fabric request using #FAW in the TITLE field of your request.
- Promotion is valid on first 3 fabric requests made from Sept 5-Dec 5, 2019
*Please note any request without #FAW in title is not eligible for promotion.
Don't miss out on the many advantages Digifair has to offer. Keep an eye on your inbox to know more about this partnership!
For more information:
Will you be participating in the promo? Comment below and tell us about your experience! 🙂
(This post is sponsored by Digifair however know that we only recommend services that we truly believe in).
Wanna see how it works in action?
Check out our latest Youtube Video where we show you just how it works!
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