Fashion designers need to juggle a variety of best business practices to ensure the success of their labels. Quality control is an invaluable piece of this puzzle and there are some practices that designers can implement to help their process move more smoothly and effectively. Read on to learn the top five things you can do to maximize quality control of your brand’s products.
1. Establish Clothing Standard and Create a Tech Pack
Set your clothing standards in writing as a starting point. Clothing standards can include anything from the clothes’ fit, material, performance, or durability. A clear tech pack is the best tool to communicate these specific standards about how to manufacture your clothing to your factory. A tech pack can include the following:
- Technical drawings
- Reference materials
- Packaging information
- Specification sheets
The goal of a tech pack is to clearly and easily communicate your work to other professionals. All in all, detailed tech packs with clear standards will enhance the clarity of the overall process.
2. Product Test Your Design Samples
Consider multiple factors when planning and executing your product testing. Starting off by inspecting and running lab tests on your garment’s raw materials will allow you to assure that the material meets industry performance standards. Additionally, once sample clothing is ready, implementing product testing before having your factory start your mass production order is best since samples are less costly than your whole production order, and identifying core issues with the product should be done early on.
Sample product testing includes tests such as:
- Fit Tests – Fitting tests involve placing the clothing on mannequins to get a feel for how they fit.
- Seam Strength Test – This test measures the durability of the seams in critical areas.
- Dry and Wet Crocking Tests – These tests involve rubbing a piece of white fabric on each colored fabric up to ten times to see if there are any bleeds or color transfer.
- Fatigue Test – The fatigue test makes sure that any openings, such as buttons or zippers, are durable.
- Stretch Test – The stretch test verifies that your elastic material is elastic enough without damaging the clothing.
A combination of these tests will provide insights into the quality of the clothing you’re producing. Ultimately, product testing is an essential step for all fashion designers to ensure that they create the best possible product for their company.
3. Documentation and Quality Management Systems
A recurring theme of quality control is proper documentation. For every major activity conducted, it is beneficial to keep track of all comments, remarks, and amendments. A good way to do this is by implementing a Quality Management System, or a QMS. A QMS will allow you to achieve your objectives and make the process of manufacturing your clothing more painless.
4. Understand the Definition of Quality
Measuring quality will vary on the metrics you establish for yourself. However, in the most general terms, the cost of quality is the money a factory spends on inspections, training, and labor. Conducting research on the web and calculating various costs on a tool like Excel is a good way to go about this analysis. For a guide on how to measure these costs, you can learn more here. Making yourself aware of these costs beforehand is a good practice to ensure the level of quality you are wanting to achieve is able to be and will be met.
5. Stay Aware of Potential Issues
Issues will inevitably arise at some point, be sure to make a note of them and figure out the best way to strategically combat them in advance. Some potential issues that fashion designers face are a lack of reliable manufacturers, competition from similar designers, and unfocused marketing efforts.
In general, it is a good habit to stay on top of potential issues that may arise with your fashion samples and production by having a consistent, reliable pathway of communication to your manufacturer and any quality control support staff with whom you’re working. Staying informed on market trends in the fashion industry at various levels can help avoid potential missteps.
Quality will continue to be a major talking point in the fashion industry. Fashion designers can benefit from adopting best practices and manage quality control efficiently. To summarize, creating a tech pack, effective product testing, consistent documentation, and understanding the definition of quality, as well as potential issues, will allow your business to thrive and stay organized.