The fashion business is a glamorous world: parties, mingling with models and beautiful photos. But behind the glitz is an endless line of people who work hard every day to keep it alive. Fashion is a business and it demands a lot of grit to go along with natural talent. Business sense and protecting your business interests are key abilities for a designer to survive in the industry.
As such, when thinking about fashion as a business, one of the biggest and most important elements of creating a successful fashion line is the Tech Pack. It’s a great material to have when dealing with manufacturers as well as when introducing your fashion line to retailers.
What is a Tech Pack?
Compare the tech pack to the final blueprint of the garment. Without it, construction can’t start. A good tech pack contains the complete instructions, notes and flat illustrations. To build a tech pack, the designer must hone his/her vision into a technical manual of how to build the garment. A good tech pack leaves nothing to the imagination of patternmakers or manufacturers.
Why is a Tech Pack so crucial?
The tech pack is crucial because it brings together careful planning of the entire production process in a single sheet. A well-made, accurate and clear tech pack will reduce the chance for any errors in production, reduce issues with communication and ultimately can you time and money for getting the project done on the first attempt smoothly and perfectly.
The details contained in a tech pack play a key role in the production. Once you give it to a pattern maker or the manufacturer, you are passing on a concrete idea of the final product.
In a way, the tech pack is an agreement between you and manufacturers. This guarantees that you have the right to refuse any work done when they don’t meet the requirements specified. The more details included, generally the better the tech pack could be and the more accurate (less error) the final product will be to your original concept. So include detailed instructions about every aspect of your garment’s design and construction, such as:- fabrics, trim, and sources, artwork or graphics, label information, packaging instruction, and even tiny (but highly important) details like desired stitching should all be included in your Tech Pack to reduce the chances of any misunderstandings (or factories taking shortcuts).
Risks of production without Tech Packs?
While established brands don’t skip tech packs, some designers might decide to “wing it”. However, there are plenty of risks and challenges going into the business without this important document.
While you could be imagining a wonderful piece of clothing – trims, a complex network of zippers and a soft fabric of Merino wool – the manufacturer could just send you a shirt in silky polyester. Moving on to manufacturing without a tech pack is just like building a house without a plan – walls won’t align and floors won’t lie flat.
If the manufacturers fail, it would be hard to defend yourself because you won’t have a document testifying a clear instructions and agreement on the product. E-mail notes, scribbles on random paper, and text messages are just easy ways to miscommunication with a manufacturer.
As you can imagine or know, production runs of apparel are not cheap. Especially when you’re starting out, you can’t afford to waste £10, let alone £10,000 on a failed or partially-failed production run. To avoid all this, create a comprehensive tech pack before approaching factories. The time and effort put into the tech pack will be well worth it.
Without the Tech Pack, you’re basically letting manufacturers and patternmakers reinterpret your ideas instead of them helping bring your designs to life.
How Do I Create a Tech Pack?
Tech packs often include line drawings, which are usually computer-generated(CAD) together with tables that have key information about each garment. Although tech packs often contain the same kind of information, their placement on a sheet can vary greatly.
(The first example features a line drawing. Although it does clearly show garment details, notions and stitching instructions, it lacks a table for the bill of materials. Without it, factories could play a guessing game on the types of fabric & trims that are suitable and what stitches to use, something a designer with a clear vision wouldn’t want to happen. So avoid missing this information in your tech pack.
The second sample isn’t better off. Despite the detailed spreadsheet including the bill of materials, figures, manufacturers .. etc. Without the flat drawings, there is no way for a factory or sample maker to visualize how everything comes together.
The third tech pack is great – it has images, a table and even coloured rendering and info on the desired fabric wash. Flat drawings also have notes on specific details and the bill of materials is clear about what to use. However, it lacks information about measurements and the sizing of the apparel. As such, it is not the most comprehensive & ideal tech pack.
Now: the next two examples demonstrate an example of a comprehensive and well prepared tech pack. For many garments, simple line drawings without colour would suffice. Drawings should show seams, illustrate clear drawings of the garment line. A table should specify materials to be used and measurements of the garment. It’s also important to include the range, showing the colours the garments will come in and the different measurements for size options. This last point is especially important if fit is great focus of your brand.
This looks complicated to me!
If you’re feeling intimidated, or you’ve already tried creating Tech Packs without much success, we’re here to help. With Estox Connect, there’s no need to invest in purchasing (and learning to use) a bunch of expensive software just to make professional sketches for your Tech Packs. There’s no need to make complicated Excel spreadsheets your BFF!
EstoxConnect are here to help
The Estox Connect team has decades of experience designing, sourcing and creating apparel for brands. Let us put that expertise to work for your emerging brand.
We’ll work hand in hand with you to produce your tech packs and having some of the most established suppliers and factories in the world to help you bring your designs to life, on time and on budget.
So you can leave the manufacturing to us, and focus on what inspired you to follow your heart into fashion: designing beautiful things!
We offer end to end services including sourcing, tech pack creation, patterning (and you own the patterns at the end), production, Quality Assurance, and Logistics including packaging, shipping, and all taxes/duties.
What could be easier? You get a world-class team on your side, without having to hire or manage staff. Your Tech Packs are crystal clear and designed by industry experts. Your production runs are smooth and quality-assured. Your products arrive at your doorstep, ready to sell. All at a relatively low cost to alternative services and average market production price!
We do all the heavy lifting, so you can concentrate on building your brand. To enquire about this service, contact us and mention the ‘Tech Pack development’ service. We love to assist and help you succeed in this exciting industry.