How To Get a Great Prototype in 4 Steps
Launching your own clothing brand is a road paved with important milestones. And when you achieve one, you are one step closer to fulfilling your dream! Creating a great prototype is one of those early milestones that really makes you feel fantastic! A great prototype (or sample) would be one made in your wholesale fabric, by your manufacturer, with correct construction and that is fit approved!
How you ask? First things first- FIND YOUR MANUFACTURER!
It is ESSENTIAL to have your final manufacturer make your sample, so you know what you will get in production. To find this partner, do online and social media research, ask vendors and fashion connections for recommendations, reach out to them and ask questions!
Your manufacturing partner should be friendly, professional and easy to work with- and in the best-case scenarios, they will do your development and your production (or production management).
So here is the big question:
What information do you need to give to your manufacturer in order to get a great sample?
To get a fantastic sample, you must plan. Meaning, filling out each section of a tech pack, which is essentially deciding on each detail of your style before paying to have it made (AKA, spend money to save money). Here are the four ways you can help communicate to your developer that will help them create accurate tech packs, patterns and then prototypes!
1. Decide on a fabric.
Sourcing! Use fabric from a wholesaler and a fabric that is either available in stock or that can be made for you. Your manufacturer should be able to help you with this if you don’t have a source.
2. Communicate your idea in any way you can.
You can sketch, snapshot ideas from online, give one or more reference garments that show the fit or details- or all of the above. You don’t have to be an Adobe illustrator expert or an artist to express your ideas, but you do need to find a way to help your maker understand what you want.
3. Understand your brand’s fit.
Decide who will be your fit model. You should have one person who is the main model and can try on each piece you make to ensure a consistent look and fit– that person an be hired or can be a team member OR that person can be you! This will help when creating measurements for your SPEC, which is included in your tech pack. One simple way to communicate the fit you want is to use a reference garment that fits well- after all, why reinvent the wheel?!!
4. Schedule a fitting appointment with your manufacturer.
This is the absolute best way to make sure a pattern maker knows what changes need to be made to finalize a fit. Making multiple samples in order to get a perfect fit should be expected, but to reduce the number of times a fitting is needed, try to make an in-person appointment. Virtual is a possible alternative as long as it is with video.