We have a few fast fashion clients. It's not for everyone and not everyone can make it work. Here are three tips to speeding up your process.
The fastest way to go to production is to ask a manufacturer to replicate an existing product. Building up a stock catalog of popular past pieces can quicken your development cycle and reduce iterations. This is also where it's important to build a relationship with an existing manufacturer. Through a few seasons of updating a certain style, the familiarity with the product will help you and your manufacturer move faster without having to go through the full sample process every time - construction, fit, sizes, etc.
Making small changes to an existing product is much easier than creating new silhouettes with new materials. Changes to details like button placement and other cut and sew instructions are speedier than changing the points of measurement. Because speed is the name of the game here, you don't want to be experimenting. Your sampling process is a "spell check" for your final production.
Using material that is readily available is key here. Companies will stockpile extra fabric and buttons that they believe they may use again. Yes, this could mean holding some inventory of materials, but it will allow designers to move fast so things are on the shelf when it is needed. Being flexible also means switching to a different trim to cut down on the time it takes to make something.
image from BetterMag