SOURCING FABRIC-101: ATTENDING A FABRIC TRADE SHOW

Yes it is only the beginning of February and we are already juggling so many seasons we don’t know which way to look. We live in the PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE. Wait what season am I sourcing for? What season are we developing? (For your information we are sourcing for Spring Summer 2018 and developing Winter 2017. Oh and wrapping up production for Summer 2017!) Welcome to the Fashion Biz Designers!

I love change! I love knowing the path but not knowing what is around the bend! That is the fashion business for you. The calendar is always the same, we know what season we are designing for and what season we are in production for, but the excitement comes from the newness that is born every season in our studio. And conception starts when a designer is sourcing. Yes we may design before we find fabrics. Or our designs may be inspired by fabrics we find. But do not let anyone fool you, fabric suppliers look to color trends and fashion trends and runways for what type of fabrics to sell. If Greenery is Pantone’s color of the year, you bet there will be elements of that everywhere.

It is that scene out of Devil Wears Prada, Cerulean Blue is worn because color trends and fabric houses “told” designers Cerulean Blue was the color of the season through swatches, and prints, and trims, and so on. Sorry Miranda!

There are some domestic fabric shows coming up that you NEED to know about.

Sourcing at Magic
Apparel Manufacturing, Component, Technology and Service Providers from Around the World
FEBRUARY 20-23, 2017
Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas

LA Textile Show
February 27 – March 1, 2017 // SS18 Collections
The Penthouse | 13th Floor, A, B & C wings
California Market Center (CMC)
Los Angeles CA 

How to Pick the Right Show for You

1) Location – Is the show easy to travel to?

2) Needs – What are you looking for?

3) Budget – How much is your allotted travel budget?

4) Location – How close are you to reps/companies that provide fabrics and trims?

 

Once You’re At the Show

PANIC! OVERWHELM! DELIGHT! EXCITE!

It’s like a kid in a toy store that you just told can PICK ANYTHING HE WANTS!

Tip: Take a breath, take a seat, grab a coffee and create a plan!

 

When You Arrive at a Booth

Fake it till you make know it!

Tip: Have a script – know the right questions to ask, be prepared and appear like you’ve been in the industry for years.

What You Can Source

  • Domestic and International fabric vendors
  • Vendors with low minimums (perfect for new businesses)
  • Vendors with unlimited quantities (for larger businesses)
  • Label and hangtag vendors
  • Trim vendors
  • Contractors
  • Special services/send outs, etc

 

Preparing

Plan of Attack – Make sure you know going in what types of fabrics, trims and accessories are you looking for and what materials are best for your line (more on this later)

If possible, bring garments or fabric swatches to show to vendors if you are looking for something specific or if you do not know how to explain fabrics.

If you already know what fabrics/materials you need make sure to bring a list so you don’t forget anything.

If you are familiar with vendors or know of ones that have what you are looking for make sure to schedule time with them into your day.

All shows are divided into categories. For example, at the LA Textile show one side of the show is all fabrics and the other side is all trims. Start on the side you need the most or do one side a day if you can stay for 2+ days.

International Vendors: Some can make finished products, which have pros and cons.

PROS…..Holy Moly! You can do it all. For Cheap?!

  • Price-point
  • Capabilities
  • Material
  • Availability

 

CONS

  • Timing
  • Minimums
  • Quality control
  • Follow-through

Domestic Vendors: Some can make finished products, which has pros and cons.

PROS….. Made in the USA, bringing back jobs…woot!

  • No duties and less for freight.
  • Communication
  • Availability
  • Timing
  • Minimums

CONS

  • Capabilities
  • Materials
  • Price-point

 

Oh My Gosh! I can’t handle all this. I need the DCC to help me!

 

What to bring

  • Business Cards (many!)
  • Vendors will always ask for a card when you stop in so make sure to have enough for all the vendors you plan to visit.
  • Some designers will create a stamp with their contact info on it that they can stamp onto purchase orders, but business cards are fine.
  • If you need some made quickly you can order on Overnightprints.com or Vistaprints.com. Or go to Staples and buy the “print your own business cards”.
  • Make sure your shipping address, email and phone number are on there.
  • Notepad & pen for taking notes on your findings.
  • Have a shipping account and have the account number available. They may ask for it before they will ship items to you.

If you would like a 60-minute ONE-ON-ONE STRATEGY SESSION, click hereto dig a bit deeper into your needs and how to prepare specifically for the shows we can help.  

Next post will be on Questions to Ask While Sourcing.

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