Apparel manufacturing is a complex business, requiring the coordination of many different vendors to create the final product. This is like a general contractor building a house, but instead of needing a lumber and cement supplier, apparel manufacturers have fabric, trim, and occasionally, post process suppliers.
Just like building a house, nothing can start without the materials, meaning your production timeline is dependent on material suppliers. That’s why we recommend sourcing your materials early in the development process. Unless your selected materials are “in-stock,” your fabrics are being made-to-order. While this is great at reducing waste in the apparel industry, it also has the effect of causing delays. While the process is slightly different for everyone, when creating your timeline be sure to consider the following lead times:
Following the traditional process, a minimum of 55 to 75 days should be budgeted for your sourcing activities alone (this excludes cut & sew, shipping, and logistics time), a shocking number to many. For those requiring a shorter lead time, we recommend using stocked fabric. While the trade-off is a higher price and more limited design options, stock fabric will greatly reduce lead times.
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