You founded a business on a vision- the same one that will undoubtedly consist of your core offering; which for sportswear, or fashion brands is product. Now, you've found a reliable clothing manufacturer to run production, but conveying this concept, or idea in a clear and concise way is proving to be very difficult...
We understand because we've been in your shoes. It's so easy to get carried away in the creative process that you actually struggle to hone it down and explain it in (not so) simple terms. You know how the saying goes- those who really know their business can explain it in a clear, concise and simple way without the use of business jargon- or as some put it "explain it like you're talking to a 5 year old". Now, don't get me wrong; I am not saying explain your product like you're talking to a 5 year old because it probably wouldn't be very appreciated, but you get the gist.
Let's say for argument sake that you've already found a fashion manufacturer who you know will produce your sportswear, or streetwear for you. Conveying the way in which you want the manufacturer to produce the product is just as, if not more important than finding the right one and let me tell you why... manufacturers work for you and they do exactly as you ask (provided you've found a reliable one) and therefore it's absolutely crucial that the way in which you convey the information is not only clear, but detailed and accounted for- to minimise the margin of error.
So, this is where tech-packs come in! What is a tech-pack?
A tech-pack is a comprehensive packet of design details that will be sent over, either to a pattern maker or a manufacturer (if pattern making is done there) to explain, in short- every single minor detail of your product; from raw materials, cuts, trims, sizing details, technical drawings, CADs and artwork information and placement. There's a reason I gave you the short version first.
Although I really don't think it needs much explaining- why do you need a tech-pack?
It's fairly simple- the more information you disclose regarding your product and more specific you are, the more accurate the product will be. As previously mentioned, manufacturers work for you and do exactly as you ask... they will use their experience and expertise to "fill the gaps" or make suggested minor adjustments, but this might not always coincide with the clients expectations or requirements. It's therefore much more beneficial and cost-effective to really get good tech-packs done and I know you might be wondering: cost-effective? How? Let me break it down:
- Tech-pack route: you invest initially and disclose every minor detail in a tech-pack format which will ultimately increase the chances of you getting a very good sample first time round. Who knows, it may be so good that the changes from then on can be done in production with the sign off of a pre-production sample.
- Non tech-pack route: you breeze past the design and communication stage in pure excitement for these samples. What ends up happening? They turn up absolutely nothing like you expected- due to the fact you didn't communicate properly. This results in the need for multiple sampling rounds, which means multiple sampling fees, increased sampling time which delays your product; this delay is a loss of potential revenue and could result in missing a season... does that sound appealing?
Creating a tech-pack:
To reiterate- tech-packs act as an in-depth form of communication to your clothing supplier to ensure you minimise the risk of misinterpretation. The actual content of them can vary from project to project, but generally they will always consist of:
- Sketches, descriptions and CADs (computer aided designs)
- Mood boards/ inspirations/ extractions from other product to show execution
- Fabric placement and overall garment construction
- Materials list or bill of materials (BOM)
Sketches, descriptions and CADs:
Your tech-pack, at the bare minimum should always contain a basic sketch of the front and the back of the garment alongside a description of the product. When we create tech-packs for clients, we include CADs as a standard part of our service, but not every design agency does so.
Mood board/ inspirations:
This element isn't absolutely crucial but it is helpful when conveying where your ideas originated from and tend to act as a nice bench mark for manufacturers to help them establish how the overall style will piece together. This is where we'd include images of particular products to highlight minor details and application.
Fabric placement and overall garment construction:
This section is where it begins to get quite technical. This is where all the appropriate garment assembly points will be made- including: different fabrics used in certain areas, cuts and stitching placement as well as small details like labels.
Materials list or BOM:
This isn't required in huge detail or depth for us. We tend to very briefly outline the list of materials used for the product in a similar format to below:
- Material (duh),
- Colour number/ pantone
This is pretty self-explanatory, but unless you've been involved in fashion design/ product development then you probably won't realise how many different measurements and terms there are for different elements of a garment. It is therefore imperative that this section is completed properly, because the biggest change within the sampling phase is sizing.
Sizing requirement and expectations vary from client to client and that's why our process involves us requesting a physical sample from you that you'd like to base the sizing off of- as product size charts online tend to be a generalisation across collections, instead of specific technical measurements for a particular product.
In conclusion, we hope this has been helpful and we actually have quite an exciting announcement. We are now offering tech-pack creation as a stand-alone service, meaning that you don't have to commit to production with us in order to have a professional, clear and concise tech-pack created- although, we do hope that you do come to us! If you have any questions or queries relating to any of the products or services that we offer- please don't hesitate to head over to www.white2labelmanufacturing.com and leave your contact details so one of the team can contact you.