What is a tech pack and why do you need one?
We speak with Fashion Designer & Consultant Michelle Ramsay who runs The Fashion Expert® Michelle’s career spans 20 years as a designer, 5 of which have been spent working with fashion start-ups and those new to the fashion industry. Here she explains what start-ups need to prepare in order to get their collections manufactured.
A lot of fashion start-ups make the mistake of approaching a factory with a rough sketch or photograph, and expect the supplier to quote a price and produce a garment from this limited information. Unfortunately, this approach is very unrealistic and can be frustrating to factories who don’t have time to coach you through what is involved in product development and manufacture. A factory needs to know exactly what your design entails, and the way to convey this information correctly is to prepare a tech pack for each style.
What is a tech pack?
Sometimes referred to as factory packs or style packs, a tech pack is like a blueprint for any garment you want to produce. It creates a plan and good foundation upon which great collections can be made. It should contain 3 main elements, although this can vary depending on the complexity of the style.
1. The colour cad
This is a digital fashion flat drawing of the garment. It is in colour with accompanying textile Pantone codes and shows both front and back views. It also details fabrics to be used.
2. The tech sheets
These are black and white drawings of the garment and drill down further into the design details so the factory can understand how to construct the garment. The tech sheets communicate which techniques you want to use on things like prints and embellishments, and specifies information on any branded elements like zip pulls, badges and labels. Seams, stitching and buttons are referenced along with design details such as pockets, collars, cuffs, openings and fastenings.
3. Size specification chart
Often referred to as a “spec” this size chart documents all the points of measure a factory will need to create a pattern, make your garment to the correct sizes and calculate important information such as fabric consumption and thus, an accurate price. Each point of measure is an industry standard point on the garment such as chest, armhole, waist and length. It also covers some measurements you may not be familiar with such as front neck drop, back neck width and collar point.
A size spec is not the same as a size guide that is often displayed on retailer’s websites. These size guides are very generic guides on body sizes only, whereas a size spec concentrates on garment sizes and is tailored to each individual style.
A size spec is usually prepared in your desired sample size such as medium or large for initial sampling, then graded once you are ready to go to production.
All 3 elements are combined into one PDF document for each style.
What can go wrong without a tech pack?
Trying to create a garment without a tech pack leads to many problems and can waste a lot of time and money for both the factory and the start-up brand.
If you don’t tell the factory exactly what you want, they may have to potentially fill in the blanks for you. It’s best to be in control of those decisions from the get-go and avoid miscommunication or a very lengthy sampling process.
Often factories just don’t have the time to devote to holding your hand throughout the process because that is the job of a fashion designer.
Usually start-ups neglect the correct design process as they are either not aware of what they need to create, or they are trying to save money. But the money you invest in decent tech packs in the beginning will save you a lot of time and money in the long-term. It will also show to prospective suppliers that you are serious and committed to your brand, and increase your chances of forging good relationships with them from the beginning.
Get ahead of the competition by adopting the approach the fashion professionals follow for manufacturing their products, and make sure you prepare detailed tech packs for your fashion brand.
If you need tech packs prepared for your fashion brand you can email Michelle on email@example.com