Third Party Clothing Production for Small Quantities

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Corrado Manenti
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How to Manage Third-Party Apparel Production in Italy

In this article, we discuss an ever-present issue in our daily work as an overro style office: how to manage contract clothing production in Italy.

We will start with an overview of what are the challenges and difficulties of producing your own fashion collection in Italy, and how to deal with suppliers and manufacturers to manage your first productions in line with your brand's timeframe and market:

We shall see what are the pros and cons to produce in small quantities in Italy

I am Corrado Manenti and I will be your guide on this journey!

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The appeal of 'Made in Italy' products in the world:

In the panorama of the fashion industry, contract manufacturing of clothing for small quantities is positioned as a fundamental and distinctive reality, especially within the Italian production context, what we call: "The Production Chain"

If you think about it, 'producing in Italy' is the ultimate aspiration of all high-end brands Europeans and especially North Americans.

This applies to both established and emerging brands that want to focus on a superior quality and a defined positioning.

The 'Made in Italy' label is not just a label, but an emblem of uncompromising quality and craftsmanship handed down from generation to generation. 

This segment of the fashion industry allows small designers and the fashion startup e emerging brands to produce their collections without having to invest in expensive production lines of their own, while maintaining high standards of quality and customisation.

Selective Focus Photography White Button-up Collared Top

Contract manufacturing has thus become a pillar not so much for innovation and creativity (which remain the responsibility of the commissioning brand) but for its ability to offer a flexible production solution that aligns perfectly with the customisation and uniqueness requirements of today's market.

This concept is the first really important thing you need to know:

There is no contract manufacturer you can tell: "I want to produce two of these three of those etc etc."

you must provide the manufacturer in the first place:

  • Artistic and Technical Designs in your collection
  • Fabrics chosen in suitable quantities
  • The accessories that make up the garment (zips, buttons, trimmings, rivets, etc.).
  • Labels
  • Paper Models
  • A Prototype of each garment

For this if you do not have an established brand with a few collections on their shoulders the use of 'subcontractors' may not be the ideal situation to start with.

I'm telling you this before you start just so you don't get confused! Because many times people confuse contract clothing production with the 'Private Label' or the 'White Label' We also talked about it in this article.

But fear not, there is a solution! Follow me in this article and I will show you our method for producing garments in Italy even if you start from scratch!

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The Be A Designer Method to arrive at the production of a fashion collection:

If this is the first article you read on our site let me tell you about who we are and our reality.

At Be A Designer for more than ten years we have been helping anyone who wants to create products in Italy to make it possible!

All this thanks to a team of professionals who, thanks to a turnkey package that accompanies you through all the stages of creating your brand!

Starting from BUILDING A DIFFERENTIATING BRAND IDEA , A PHASE OF IDEATION at SEARCH FOR MATERIALS up to the PRODUCTION and finally to the PROMOTION.

In this article we will take a closer look at how the world of contract manufacturing works in Italy and I will explain in detail all the STEPS that precede the production of a collection so that you will be able to assess when, how much and how to produce your collections.

Let's start with a big consideration if you decided to start producing your own fashion collection Alone you would face some seemingly insurmountable obstacles:

BRAND IDEA: Products do not spring randomly from someone's visionary mind (including yours) but are moulded around a differentiating brand idea, a philosophy of being and appearing that must appeal first and foremost to your future customers.

You may wonder "Why?" Because if they don't identify with your clothes, if they don't find them aspirational they simply won't buy them.

In this article we are talking about PRODUCTION but without a brand idea, how can you define whether the cost of production is sustainable or not if you don't know what the final cost of sale on the market will be?

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In our approach the Brand Idea always comes first and only then the products of a collection.

Creativity must always respect the values of the brand and its customersotherwise they will not 'get it' and consequently NOT buy.

Corrado Manenti

IDEA OF PRODUCTS: Another major hurdle revolves around the idea of products around which to build a collection.

We have seen above in response to the long-standing debate: 'The chicken or the egg is born first' paraphrased in: "Does the brand idea or the product come first?" everything has to start with your brand.

Most people who enter manufacturing have a product idea, but like all ideas, it needs to be refined in order to turn into a drawing, a figure and one technical illustration.

Making fashion small means learning its codes and know how to communicate with the people who will turn your vision into reality!

Fashion is a team game you need a team, different professionalism, it is like playing in a band there are many musicians and each one is good at a specific instrument and the result is eventually heard in the music.

The same applies if you are already a stylist, a tailor, or a patternmaker you may know one part well but you lack all the others in order to be successful in the market.

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MATERIALS RESEARCH: Material research is another of the great difficulties, in the vast majority of cases those starting out in fashion do not yet have a company and many times not even a VAT number.

So you cannot buy fabric from industrial manufacturers who trivially do not work with the private sector and are not interested in being bothered with small fabric orders. We of Be A Designer for example we work with largest Italian manufacturers and fabric importers but we can have small quantities of fabric as well as thousands of metres available precisely because we have cultivated decades-long relationships and can count on buying from them several times a year and bundling small orders.

For you this is initially impossible and most of the time the only option is:

  • Fabric shops by the metre: who sell you very expensive fabrics that most of the time cannot be reordered or can only be bought by the cut (therefore only useful for one-off garments)
  • Haberdashery / Scrap shops: where the price is certainly more advantageous but we have the same problems as in the shops (few metres and impossibility of reordering) with the addition that they are fabrics salvaged from the processing of other brands and do not follow any logic or seasonality, in many cases they are offcuts or piece bottoms (processing scraps) where there is a substantial problem: we do not know who the producer is, the provenance and even worse the fundamental technical properties such as any 'returns' in the washing or processing

The search for materials must be done with impeccable logic!

We must work with certified suppliers who can guarantee the quality of the fabric and a certain quantity over time. You must always be able to re-order the items in your collection.

THEN HOW DO I SELL THEM? Of course why did you really think that the hard part was to produce your clothing line in Italy?

The difficult part is what comes AFTER the product, so it is better to think in entrepreneurial outlook and address the issue first.

There are no universal products that fit everyone! Each product has its own distinctive characteristics and its own market of potential customers that you have to actively 'fetch'

Unfortunately, in today's world we do not have time to wait for the customer to find us and our products.

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Contract Clothing Production for Small Quantities 16

We must know how to master the marketing and sales strategies to find the right distribution channels for our brand!

  • Where will you sell your products?
  • Which distribution channels will you use to reach your market?

These are just some of the questions we will try to answer in this article on contract manufacturing of made-in-Italy products. 

We will do this in the philosophy of Be A Designer or explain to designers and entrepreneurs how to create products that sell and are desired by our customers. Create a successful profitable business that allows you to live off your passions!

To make the most of these tips and get the best out of the our method you have two solutions:

1) ENROL IN OUR FASHION BUSINESS ACADEMY: The first online academy dedicated to the world of fashion and entrepreneurship, where you can independently learn the basics of creating your own project. Here you will find all the information you need to register for a special price

2) CREATE A COLLECTION WITH US: We will take your idea and turn it into something great, make your brand and products ready to be sold for you. You can book a free call with me and my team at any time by clicking HERE.

Whether you decide to learn how to make it yourself or you want to get your own made-in-Italy clothing collection, this article will try to reveal some secrets to success!

Are you ready? Let's get started!

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Made in Italy: What does it mean and what is its importance?

The value of 'Made in Italy' in clothing

Before delving into the dynamics of contract manufacturing in our country, we take a look at some market data that highlight the relevance of 'Made in Italy' in the clothing sector.

white motor scooter near building
Contract Clothing Production for Small Quantities 17

This brand (because it is indeed a brand and is one of the most relevant and well-known in the world) is not just a symbol of origin; it is a guarantee of quality, creativity and craftsmanship that resonates in the hearts of consumers globally.

Made in Italy' represents a label of excellencerecognised worldwide not only in the field of fashion but in numerous sectors.

In the clothing industry, this translates into meticulous attention to detail, the use of high-quality materials and innovative, timeless design.

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A drawing from my book of the greatest contemporary Italian designers

This stems from the great history of Italian designers and the 'Italian-style' Pret a Porter that he was able to crown on international catwalks one of the greatest generations of contemporary designers. Turning Italy and Milan into one of the undisputed fashion capitals.

Milan Cathedral, Italy
Contract Clothing Production for Small Quantities 18

These factors contribute to the prestige and market positioning of Italian products, making them extremely desirable and with a higher perceived quality.

The 'Made in Italy' label conveys a sense of accessible luxurywhere each garment reflects the passion and history of generations of craftsmen.

This not only enhances the final product but also reinforces Italy's image as an undisputed leader in high-end fashion. The added value provided by the Italian-made label thus becomes a key factor in the purchasing decision of consumers seeking authenticity, history and unsurpassed quality.

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Benefits of producing clothes in Italy

In addition to the benefits already mentioned, garment creation in Italy also benefits from a robust and articulated textile system spread throughout the country. This unique system alternates large multinationals with small production companies, a multiplicity that not only allows access to fabrics of the highest quality, but also makes it possible to offer made-to-measure garments, even in limited quantities.

This versatility of the Italian supply chain is essential to meet the needs of a market increasingly oriented towards exclusivity and customisation.

The Italian textile system, with its capillary distribution of skills, resources and specialisations, therefore represents a further advantage for those who choose to produce clothing in our country.

The existence of this network, consisting of a wide range of suppliers, from small artisan workshops to large international suppliers, allows unparalleled production and creative flexibility. This translates into the ability to meet the most diverse demands, from large orders for fashion giants to the most exclusive and customised projects, while maintaining high standards of quality and sustainability.

How to identify a 'Made in Italy' product

The 'Made in Italy' designation is a distinctive sign that does not merely indicate the geographical origin of a product, but also embodies a promise of quality, craftsmanship and creativity, values deeply rooted in the Italian manufacturing tradition.

Verifying the authenticity of a product labelled 'Made in Italy' requires attention: it is essential to look beyond the label and consider the history and transparency of the production process.

An authentic 'Made in Italy' product is distinguished by the significant presence of production phases carried out in Italywhich contribute to the final character and quality of the product. This includes:

  • l Design, 
  • The processing of materials 
  •  Manufacturing / Packaging
  • the final check.

For consumers, identifying a genuine 'Made in Italy' product therefore means seeking transparency and confirmation of the production chain and company practices. Serious companies tend to provide this information, allowing the various stages of production to be traced and thus ensuring that the product meets the standards associated with the prestigious 'Made in Italy' label.

Third Party Clothing Production: Procedures and Advantages

The contract manufacturing process

Contract manufacturing in the fashion industry is a complex and articulated process involving several stages, from prototype creation to final garment processing. 

However, it is rare to find industrial realities capable of managing the entire production process under one roof. Specialisation and 'specificity' of work are typical features of the Italian fashion industry, with companies often focusing only on specific stages of production. Some examples?

  • A model maker deals with the creation of a paper pattern of a garment.
  • A packer must receive not only the pattern but also all the materials to make it including the labels!
  • Many times the garment maker simply 'assembles' garments that have been mostly cut by a company that only deals with this specific step.
  • A printing works print the fabric, but we have to find the right fabric from a fabric manufacturer
  • A prototypist only makes prototypes before production.

This fragmentation of the production chain means that, in order to ensure a final product that meets the desired quality and creative standards, it is essential to initially develop a close collaboration between the brand and the various production companies.

That is why we at Be A Designer we stand as a single point of contact with all these realities. Starting from product conception through to production.

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Advantages of opting for toll manufacturing

Opting for toll manufacturing allows companies to focus on their core business, reducing costs associated with managing in-house production and benefiting from specialised expertise in the field.

 This choice also allows companies to adapt to market fluctuations in a more flexible manner, without having to face the costs and risks associated with maintaining in-house production facilities.

Moreover, collaborating with specialised partners can lead to higher quality and innovative results by sharing know-how and resources.

Finally, if you are already a company in the fashion industry, contract manufacturing can help diversify your company's offering, allowing you to access new markets and customers that would otherwise be difficult to reach with limited in-house production.

What types of clothing can be produced?

Through contract manufacturing, a wide range of garments can be created, from classic cut jackets to ready-to-wear garments with a certain level of flexibility and customisation.

Garment Production: Differences between Tailoring and Mass Production

The characteristics of tailoring production

The sartorial production is characterised by handcrafted and made-to-measure garments, offering a high level of customisation and attention to detail.

Advantages of mass production

Mass production allows economies of scale, reducing production costs and ensuring faster garment production, ideal for meeting large quantities of demand.

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Which companies should opt for tailor-made production?

Companies that should consider sartorial production are those that aim to stand out in the haute couture and luxury market, where exclusivity, quality craftsmanship and attention to detail are not only appreciated but demanded by customers.

In Italy, which is known for its excellence in the field of fashion, there are several realities, mainly small workshops and artisans, dedicated to tailoring of the highest quality. These workshops specialise in limited productions, often made-to-measure or customised, reflecting the authentic Italian craftsmanship tradition.

Opting for tailor-made production in Italy means accepting from the outset that the cost of production will be higher than mass production.

This is because craftsmanship requires time, expertise and superior quality materials. Therefore, brands that choose this route must position themselves at a high end of the market, as the high cost of production will inevitably be reflected in the final price to the consumer.

Sartorial production is best suited to brands that aspire to enter the luxury segment and wish to be associated with exclusive boutiques or ateliers, where customers are willing to pay a premium for uniqueness, customisation and craftsmanship excellence.

For these brands, the final customer price of a garment can start from 600? upwards, depending on the complexity of the design, the materials used and the amount of manual labour involved.

In summary, sartorial production is ideal for companies that aim to offer niche, highly crafted, luxury products and that want to exploit the prestige and quality guaranteed by the 'Made in Italy' label. This approach not only enhances the product but also helps to preserve and promote Italian craftsmanship and design, recognised and celebrated worldwide.

The advantages of producing clothing in small quantities

Producing clothing in smaller quantities allows us to test new designs, reduce waste and offer greater exclusivity to customers, helping us to create an emotional bond with the brand.

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Cost considerations related to the production of small quantities

When we talk about 'small quantities' what do we mean? The production of small quantities, generally defined as the making of 50 to 100 pieces per modeltends to be more expensive on a per-unit basis than mass production. 

However, this approach provides significant advantages in terms of flexibility, product uniqueness and speed in responding to market trends. To explain it simply:

  • A 'model' refers to a particular design or style of a garment.
  • A 'variant' of a model may refer to differences in colour, fabric or other specific features, while maintaining the same basic design.

Practical example: If we decide to produce 50 pieces of a model in five standard sizes, this means that 10 pieces will be produced for each size. If the model has two variants (e.g. two different colours), the production for each variant and size will be 5 pieces. Similarly, if production were 100 pieces per model, and there were two variants, there would be 10 pieces per size per variant.

This small-scale production system allows greater customisation and adaptation to specific market or customer tastes, while keeping stock levels under control and reducing the risk of unsold stock.

How to ensure quality in limited production

In order to guarantee quality in limited productions, it is essential to establish strict quality control standards, select reliable suppliers and follow all stages of the production process with attention to detail, especially since producing small quantities is something we cannot afford!

The quality of garments is a key element in production processes, influencing brand image and customer satisfaction. Ensuring high standards means carefully selecting materials, carefully controlling workmanship, and providing durable, quality garments.

Creating a unique and distinctive design is essential for market differentiation and attracting consumers. Enhancing the aesthetics, originality and comfort of garments is a key element in winning the trust of customers and retaining their loyalty over time.

Implementing strategies aimed at ensuring high standards in production, such as strict quality controls and collaborations with industry experts, allows companies to maintain a constant level of excellence and be recognised for the quality of their products.

What kind of services does your clothing manufacturing company offer?

Our company offers contract clothing production services for small quantities, creating high quality garments made in Italy.

How can I contact your company for information on clothing production?

You can contact us via the contact form on our website or by calling our offices directly to receive all the necessary information about our contract clothing production.

Q: How can I contact your company for information on clothing production?

A: You can contact us via the contact form on our website or by calling our offices directly to receive all the necessary information about our contract clothing production.

Q: What kind of garments do you produce with the sub-contracting service?

A: We produce a line of high fashion clothing, including jackets, down jackets and garments, guaranteeing very high quality and made in Italy production.

Q: What is special about your contract clothing production for small quantities?

A: Our contract production for small quantities is characterised by the attention to detail, the fit of the garments and the sartorial quality we offer to companies in the sector.

Q: Do you also collaborate with clothing shops for the production of made-to-measure garments?

A: Yes, we offer customised clothing production services for clothing shops, providing a wide range of options and personalised service.

Q: Do you supply samples for contract clothing production for many companies?

A: Yes, we have samples for the production of contract clothing for many companies, offering a choice of different options and styles.

Q: What are the main characteristics of your Italian-made garments?

A: Our made-in-Italy garments are characterised by the quality of the materials used, tailor-made design and attention to detail, offering a high-quality and prestigious product.contract clothing production - Contract Clothing Production for Small Quantities - 6

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Emma
Emma
3 months ago

The article offers an immersion into the world of Italian fashion, where contract manufacturing for small quantities is crucial to maintain high standards of quality and customisation. The 'Made in Italy' formula is not just a brand name, but a guarantee of craftsmanship excellence. This approach not only respects tradition but also supports innovation, enabling small designers to create unique collections. The ability to adapt to the needs of a market that prizes uniqueness is reflected in every detail, similar to the quest for exclusivity that we might find in a distinctive accessory such as a silver handbag. Be A Designer's production highlights the importance of careful and customised work, underlining how authenticity and passion for detail are essential values in the Italian fashion industry.

Last edited 3 mesi fa by Emma

They talk about us

Some of the major newspapers have already started talking about our project and our customers with great enthusiasm and attention. This media resonance is testament to our commitment and professionalism in promoting Italian-made products around the world. In a short time we have become a point of reference for the entire segment of emerging designers 

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