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  • The Importance of Fabric Sourcing and Attending Textile Trade Shows – Kristina’s Story

Kristina is an enthusiastic lover of fashion and has worked for us. She makes some important points of what she has learned in this story, which are summarised at the end again so you don't miss it :-). 

Have fun reading her journey ....xx

Understanding all aspects of textiles and knowing where to source them is an integral skill when going into Fashion Design. Not only Designers need to know the ins and outs of what to look out for and who to connect to but also buyers, product developers and garment technologists.

With fabric cost at anywhere between 60% to 90% of the total cost of a garment, selecting the best fabric is vital. To assess the quality of the fabric and how it behaves in the production line is knowledge that comes with experience and through connecting to the right people in the industry.

Fabric Hangers

Before I interned at Plus Samples, I had little knowledge about the textile selection process. I had only hand-picked textiles for garments and portfolios during my studies as a designer at university. In my work I had the incredible opportunity to meet with fabric mill representatives as well as attend two globally recognised textile sourcing fairs located in Italy (Milano Unica) and London (The London Textile Fair).

Textile trade show

I learned that the process for fabric selection can be intensive but it is definitely a rewarding one. Extensive research is required when scheduling meetings with mills taking into consideration lead time, quantity available of a given textile, selecting multiple fabrics that are the same colour, and making sure fabric selected is from the same dye lot.

 

Trade shows are really insightful. There are usually samples displayed so you can get a real feel for the product.

There is nothing like experiencing this world and feeling, learning about and knowing textiles. So exciting!

I had the opportunity to help source various fabrics, in particular silk. The challenge was to find fabric for occasional wear. The silk needed to be of “heavier”, weightier and of high quality because of its usage as the base fabric for our high-end designs.

In the process of finding the right fabric I learned that the best way to understand textile is to feel the fabric. There can be vast differences between the product and feeling it is the first step to assess its purpose - It’s almost like a fingerprint!

Textiles may have a very similar appearance or characteristic when compared to another fabric, but you will always come across something completely unique with each one.

 

Image of text, research mills and strategic game plan

Particularly interesting is that the research and development process of garments can vary from days for your average high street brand to up to twelve weeks for luxury fashion. With the latter, it really shows in the designs when this is done well. Taking time to do research and development is definitely not time wasted.

It is a good idea to find out who is at the trade show before going. There are hundreds to thousands of vendors that attend and to avoid just getting pulled into different directions and just wondering about, getting inspired and not knowing where to start, you will need to have a clear idea as to what the goal is that you need to achieve so you know who to see. It helps to have done research on particular mills beforehand and aim for those first. The goal is to network as much as possible and collect sample textile from each one.

My advice is: Do your research well and take your time and most of all have fun in the process! It really is an exciting industry to be in when you know how to navigate the manufacturing process.

 

Don't know where to start?

Why don’t you start by purchasing our Events Calendar for only £15. We spent hours and hours searching the internet to compile a comprehensive list of fashion sourcing and buying events so you don’t have to. The calendar will give you all the dates, locations and websites to get started, so it is a really good tool. 

In Summary

Do Your Research

Research and development process of garments can vary from days for your average high street brand to up to twelve weeks for luxury fashion. With the latter, it really shows in the designs when this is done well. Taking time to do research and development is definitely not time wasted.

Feel The Fabric

The best way to understand textile is to feel the fabric. There can be vast differences between the product and feeling it is the first step to assess its purpose - It’s almost like a fingerprint! Textiles may have a very similar appearance or characteristic when compared to another fabric, but you will always come across something completely unique with each one.

Network, Network, Network!

It is a good idea to find out who is at the trade show before going. There are hundreds to thousands of vendors that attend and to avoid just getting pulled into different directions and just wondering about, getting inspired and not knowing where to start, you will need to have a clear idea as to what the goal is that you need to achieve so you know who to see. It helps to have done research on particular mills beforehand and aim for those first. The goal is to network as much as possible and collect sample textile from each one.

Helpful Tools

Event calendar

Event Calendar


 Hundreds Of Events Around The World In One Excel Sheet. This Tool Is Super Useful And Essential For Anyone In The Fashion Industry.

Tool kit for fashion designers

Fashion Designer Toolkit

Use Done-For-You Proven And Tested Templates And Just Fill In The Blanks - It Couldn't Be Easier!


Mentorship

1-2-1 Mentorship


Mentorship Packages that will fast-track you in the manufacturing process



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