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Fashion Design and Manufacturing

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 These designers are influential in setting fashion trends, but, contrary to popular belief, they do not dictate new styles. Rather, they try to design clothes that meet consumer demand. The majority of designers work anonymously for manufacturers, as part of design teams, transforming trendsetting styles into marketable clothing for the average consumer. Designers draw inspiration from a wide range of sources, including film and television costumes, street style, and active sportswear. For most designers, traditional design methods, such as sketching on paper and tracing paper, have been supplemented or replaced by computer-aided design techniques. These allow designers to quickly make changes to the silhouette, fabric, trimmings, and other elements of a proposed design and the ability to instantly share proposed changes with colleagues.

Fashion Designer Sketching A
fashion designer is sketching a garment design on paper.

Only a small number of designers and manufacturers produce modern high fashion clothing. An even smaller number (mostly in Paris) produce haute couture. Most manufacturers produce moderate or budget clothing. Some companies use their own production facilities for some or all of the manufacturing process, but most rely on separately owned manufacturing firms or contractors to produce garments to the fashion company’s specifications. In the field of women’s apparel, manufacturers typically produce several product lines (collections) a year, which they deliver to retailers at predetermined times of the year. Some “fast fashion” Manufacturers produce new equipment even more frequently. An entire product development team is involved in planning and designing the line. Materials (fabric, lining, buttons, etc.) need to be procured and ordered, and samples need to be made to present to retail buyers.

An important step in garment production is the translation of garment designs into patterns of different sizes. Because the proportions of the human body change with weight gain or loss, patterns cannot be uniformly raised or lowered from the base mold. Pattern making was traditionally a highly skilled profession. In the early 21st century, despite innovations in computer programming, large-sized designs are difficult to accommodate for everyone. Regardless of size, the pattern—whether drawn on paper or programmed as a set of computer instructions—determines how the fabric is cut into the pieces that are joined to make the garment. will go Except for the most expensive fabrics, fabric cutting is done with computer-guided knives or high-intensity lasers that can cut several layers of fabric simultaneously.

The next stage of production involves the assembly of the garment. Here, too, technological innovation, including the development of computer-guided machinery, resulted in the automation of some stages of garment assembly. However, the basic sewing process remains labor intensive. This puts unbearable pressure on garment manufacturers to find low-wage environments to locate their factories, where issues of industrial safety and labor exploitation often arise. The fashion industry in New York City was dominated by sweatshops on the Lower East Side until the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911 led to greater unionization and regulation of the industry in the United States. At the end of the 20th century, China emerged as the world’s largest garment producer due to its low labor costs and highly disciplined workforce.

Assembled garments go through various processes collectively known as “finishing”. These include the addition of decorative elements (embroidery, beads). buttons and buttonholes, hooks and eyes, snaps, zippers and other fasteners; hems and cuffs; And brand name labels and other labels (often required by law) state fiber content, washing instructions, and country of manufacture. The finished garments are then pressed and packed for shipment.

Assembled garments go through various processes collectively referred to as “finishing”. These include decorative elements (embroidery, beads). Buttons and buttonholes, hooks and nets, snaps, zippers and other fasteners; hems and cuffs; and row name labels and other labels (often legally required) as well, indicating washing instructions, and country of manufacture. The finished garments are then pressed and packed for shipment.

Although it is not generally considered part of the apparel industry for trade and statistical purposes, the manufacture and sale of accessories, such as shoes and handbags, and underwear is closely related to the fashion industry. Like clothing, accessories range in production from very expensive luxury items to inexpensive mass-produced items. Like apparel manufacturing, appliance manufacturing tends to be a low-wage environment. Producers of high-end accessories, especially handbags, face competition from counterfeit goods (“knockoffs”), which are sometimes produced in the same factories using inferior materials as the authentic goods. Trade in such counterfeit goods is illegal under various international treaties but difficult to control. These cost name brand manufacturers millions of dollars in lost sales annually.

Fashion Retailing , Marketing, and Merchandising

Once the clothes are designed and manufactured, they need to be sold. But how do clothes get from the manufacturer to the customer? The business of buying clothes from manufacturers and selling them to customers is called retail. Retailers make initial purchases for resale three to six months before the customer is able to purchase the clothing in the store.

Customers are shopping for clothes at a fashion retail retail store.

Fashion marketing is the process of managing the flow of merchandise, from the initial selection of designs to the presentation of products to retail customers, with the goal of maximizing a company’s sales and profits. Successful fashion marketing depends on understanding consumer wants and responding with appropriate products. Marketers use sales tracking data, attention to media coverage, focus groups, and other means of determining consumer preferences to provide feedback to designers and manufacturers about the type and quantity of products to be produced. Marketers are thus responsible for identifying and defining the fashion producer’s target consumers and responding to the preferences of these consumers.

Fashion retail
customers shopping and purchasing clothes at a retail store.

Marketing works at both the wholesale and retail levels. Companies that do not sell their products at retail must sell those products at wholesale prices to retailers, such as boutiques, department stores, and online sales companies. They use fashion shows, catalogs, and a sales force equipped with sample products to find a close fit between the manufacturer’s products and the retailer’s customers. Marketers of companies that sell their products at retail are primarily concerned with matching products to their own customer base. At both the wholesale and retail levels, marketing also includes promotional activities such as print and other media advertising aimed at establishing brand recognition and brand reputation for various attributes such as quality, low price, or trendiness.


Closely related to marketing is merchandising, which seeks to maximize sales and profits by persuading customers to buy a company’s products. In the standard definition of the term, merchandising involves selling the right product, at the right price, at the right time and place, to the right customers. Thus, fashion retailers should use marketers’ information about customer preferences as the basis for decisions about such things as stocking appropriate but excessive quantities of merchandise, attractive but then Also offering items for sale at profitable prices, and discounting overstocked items. Merchandising also involves presenting goods in an attractive and accessible manner through the use of store windows, in-store displays and special promotional events. Merchandising specialists are able to respond to surges in demand by quickly acquiring new stocks of desired products It should be. For example, an inventory-tracking computer program in a department store in London might trigger an automated order for a specific quantity of a specific type and size of clothing for a production facility in Shanghai. Will be delivered within days.

By the early 21st century, the Internet had become an increasingly important retail outlet, introducing new challenges (e.g., inability for shoppers to try on clothing before purchase, facilities designed to handle clothing returns and exchanges). need) and new opportunities began to open up. For merchants (eg, ability to provide customers with 24/7 shopping opportunities, ease of access to rural customers). In an era of increasingly diverse shopping options for retail customers and intense price competition among retailers, merchandising has emerged as one of the cornerstones of the modern fashion industry.

Fashion shows

Fashion designers and manufacturers promote their clothes not only to retailers (such as fashion buyers) but also to the media (fashion journalists) and directly to consumers. Already at the end of the 19th century, Parisian couture houses began offering their clients private viewings of the latest fashions. By the early 20th century, not only couture houses but also department stores regularly staged fashion shows with professional models. In imitation of the Parisian couturiers, ready-to-wear designers in other countries also began holding fashion shows for audiences that mixed private clients, journalists, and buyers. In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, fashion shows became more elaborate and theatrical, held in larger venues with specially constructed elevated runways (“catwalks”) for models, and Played an increasingly prominent role in the presentation of new fashions.

Runway models showcasing Isaac Mizrahi’s collection.
Runway models exhibit designer Isaac Mizrahi’s collection at a fashion show, 2010.

By the early 21st century, fashion shows were a regular part of the fashion calendar. Couture shows, held twice a year (in January and July) in Paris by an official syndicate of couture designers (including the most exclusive and expensive fashion houses), present garments that can be ordered by potential clients. Can be done but often have a purpose. Reveal designers’ views on fashion trends and brand image. Ready-to-wear fashion shows, which feature separate menswear and womenswear, spring and fall “fashion weeks” are held during, the most important of which are in Paris, Milan, New York and London. However, there are literally dozens of other fashion weeks internationally—from Tokyo to São Paulo. These shows, with much more commercial significance than couture shows, are primarily aimed at fashion journalists and buyers from department stores, wholesalers and other mass markets. Widely covered in the media, fashion shows reflect and advance the changing direction of fashion. Images and videos from fashion shows are instantly passed on to mass-market producers who produce cheap clothes copied or inspired by runway designs.

Zac Posen Fashion Show
A model walks the runway at the Zac Posen fashion show during Fashion Week in New York City, September 2010.

Media and Marketing

All types of media are essential for fashion marketing. The first fashion magazines appeared in England and France in the late 18th century. In the 19th century, fashion magazines—such as the French La Mode Illustrie, the British Ladies’ Realm, and the American Goodie’s Ladies’ Book—proliferated and flourished. Articles, hand-colored photographs (called fashion plates), and advertisements, fashion magazines—along with other developments such as the sewing machine, department stores, and ready-to-wear clothing produced in standard sizes— played an important role. Promoting the democratization of fashion in the modern age. The development of efficient and inexpensive methods of reproducing images in print media in the early 20th century led to the rise of fashion photography and heavily illustrated fashion magazines such as Vogue. Magazine advertising quickly became an important marketing tool for the fashion industry.

The creation of cinematic newsreels—short motion pictures of current events—and the rise of television made it possible for people around the world to watch fashion shows and imitate the fashions worn by celebrities. As visual media continued to dominate in the Internet age, fashion blogs emerged as an increasingly important means of disseminating fashion information. Awards ceremonies such as red carpet events provide an opportunity for celebrities to be photographed wearing designer fashions, thereby gaining valuable publicity for designers.

Global fashion

Most people in the world today wear what can be described as “world fashion”, a simpler and less expensive version of Western clothing, often mass-produced with T-shirts, pants or skirts. Is. However, there are also numerous smaller and specialized fashion industries in different parts of the world that cater to specific national, regional, ethnic, or religious markets. Examples include the design, production and marketing of saris in India and bobos in Senegal. These industries operate on a modest and localized scale with the global fashion industry.

A major development in the field of ethno-religious dress was the widespread adoption of hijab (religiously appropriate clothing) among Muslim women not only in the Middle East but throughout the Islamic world in the early 21st century. With millions of Muslim women living in many countries around the world, veiling rules and styles are numerous. For some, veiling can mean a complete withdrawal from the vicissitudes of fashion. Other women, including those who are required to dress modestly in public, may wear fashionable European styles under their more conservative street clothes. Still others have sought out forms that are both elegant and modest in themselves. At the beginning of the 21st century, the international market for casual fashion was growing. Muslim and non-Muslim designers produced a wide selection of suitable and stylish looks, and numerous fashion blogs and magazines targeting Muslim women became available. Some designers and manufacturers

Halimah Aden wearing a burkini
American model Halimah Aden wears a “burkini” while competing in the preliminary bathing suit round of the Miss Minnesota USA pageant in Burnsville, Minnesota, 2016.

Fashion system

It is said, a concept that embraces not only the business of fashion but also the art and craft of art, and not just production but also consumption. The fashion designer is an important factor, but so is the individual consumer who chooses, buys and wears the clothes, as well as the language and image that contribute to how consumers think about fashion. The fashion system includes all the factors involved in the entire process of fashion change. Some factors are intrinsic to fashion, including variations for the sake of novelty (for example, when hemlines are low for a while, they will rise). Other factors are external (for example, major historical events such as wars, revolutions, economic booms or busts, and the feminist movement). Individual trendsetters (eg, Madonna and Diana, Princess of Wales) also play a role, as do lifestyle changes (eg, new sports, such as the 1960s The decade introduced skateboarding) and music (eg, rock and roll, hip-hop). Fashion is a complex social phenomenon, which sometimes involves conflicting goals, such as creating an individual identity and belonging to a group, imitating fashion leaders and rebelling against conformity. The fashion industry thrives on being diverse and flexible enough to accommodate any consumer’s desire to embrace or reject fashionability, however the term may be defined.