Source4Style, eco-textiles, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, eco-friendly textiles, sustainable textiles, Summer Rayne Oakes, Benita Singh

THINK GLOBAL

While you can still find locally manufactured materials in the United States, Canada, and Europe, they’re generally isolated in small pockets with limited options.

Sourcing materials internationally, on the other hand, can yield a number of great finds from handwoven silks to khadi cottons. Global sourcing does come with its challenges, however. There is the consideration of customs duties and taxes for certain products, for instance. It’s also not uncommon to experience delays going through customs, so factor in an additional three to 10 days’ worth of wriggle room for international shipments.

Source4Style, eco-textiles, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, eco-friendly textiles, sustainable textiles, Summer Rayne Oakes, Benita Singh

SWATCH IT UP

Think of swatches as the samples before the sample yardage. They are a critical component to any designer’s creative process, serving as material inspiration for upcoming and future collections. By examining a swatch up close, you can get a keen sense of the fabric’s quality, color, and hand before you commit to a sample or production yardage.

It’s also often difficult to gauge what a material truly looks like on the computer screen—no matter how good the photography might be. Choice of lens, differences in lighting, and computer color settings will affect how a material looks online, so be sure to get a swatch beforehand to make sure it’s exactly what you want.

Source4Style, eco-textiles, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, eco-friendly textiles, sustainable textiles, Summer Rayne Oakes, Benita Singh

MAXIMIZE YOUR MINIMUMS

You may have heard about “production yardage minimums,” but it’s important to note that “sampling yardage”—or the yardage that is often sampled prior to placing a production order—often has minimums or cutting fees, as well.

Designers may not think this is a big deal, but for suppliers who have hundreds of SKUs of material and hundreds of requests for small orders, the result may be thousands of yards of material that go to waste. Keep this information in mind when you’re purchasing sampling yardage and accept that the supplier may charge a cutting fee or require a down payment as a guarantee that you’ll purchase the remainder.

Source4Style, eco-textiles, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, eco-friendly textiles, sustainable textiles, Summer Rayne Oakes, Benita Singh

MAXIMIZE YOUR MINIMUMS

You may have heard about “production yardage minimums,” but it’s important to note that “sampling yardage”—or the yardage that is often sampled prior to placing a production order—often has minimums or cutting fees, as well.

Designers may not think this is a big deal, but for suppliers who have hundreds of SKUs of material and hundreds of requests for small orders, the result may be thousands of yards of material that go to waste. Keep this information in mind when you’re purchasing sampling yardage and accept that the supplier may charge a cutting fee or require a down payment as a guarantee that you’ll purchase the remainder.

Source4Style, eco-textiles, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, eco-friendly textiles, sustainable textiles, Summer Rayne Oakes, Benita Singh

GO FOR THE GREIGE

“Greige” goods refer to raw fabric before it undergoes dyeing or bleaching. Greige goods vary slightly from PFD (prepared for dyeing) or PFP (prepared for printing) fabrics. In the case of PFD and PFP materials, a minute amount of chemicals and processing are used to ensure that the dye takes well to the fabric.

If you’re planning on using the same material for seasons to come, consider purchasing greige goods of PFD/PFP fabrics that you can dye yourself or through a professional dye house. It’s a smart investment because the materials either cost less upfront or they can be purchased in larger quantities at a lower price per yard.

Source4Style, eco-textiles, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, eco-friendly textiles, sustainable textiles, Summer Rayne Oakes, Benita Singh

MAKE THE INVESTMENT

If you’re confident in your skills and your ability to make initial product sales, you should feel confident in making an investment towards the material you purchase for your collections.

The story and quality of material, almost as much as the finished garment itself, can get you noticed, particularly if you’re competing with mainstream brands and other independent designers. In an industry defined by how many seasons-old a collection is, a smart, upfront investment can make all the difference for a new designer looking to make a name for yourself.