Your First Step to Successful Fabric Sourcing

“I have my designs on paper, but I have no idea what type of fabric I need.”

The world of fabric sourcing can feel like a black hole.

Maybe you’ve started searching for fabric suppliers on Google. Maybe you’re lucky enough to live in a design hub like NYC or Paris where you can see fabrics in person. Or maybe you’ve even attended a fabric trade show.

If you’ve done any of these things already, then you know how overwhelming it all can be.

There are hundreds of thousands of fabrics that exist on this planet, so how do you know which one is right for your product?

The fact is, most suppliers aren’t going to take the time to tell you. After all, that’s not their job.

It’s your job to know which fabrics you’re looking for before you reach out to a supplier with a serious inquiry.

So how do you do that?

This is my second “designer hack” for people who have an idea for a clothing brand but don’t have a fashion background.

  1. Go to your closet or a nearby retail store.
  2. Glide your hands along the garments and start to feel their different textures. Look for the fabrics that feel similar to how you’d like your own product to feel. (Soft? Silky? Structured? Raw?)
  3. When you find a garment that matches what you’re looking for, try it on. Notice how it drapes, where it may cling, and the overall feel of the fabric on your skin. You may find a winner right away or you may need to try a few more times.
  4. When you find the right fabric look at the inside tag. The fiber content of the garment will be written somewhere on the neck tag or the side tag. (It’s required by law.)
  5. Write down the fiber description (for example, it may say: 100% silk or 95% cotton / 5% spandex or 50% cotton / 50% polyester, etc.)
  6. Come up with a list of fabrics and different fiber blends that could work for your own product(s).

You now have a list of fabrics to use as a baseline for your search.

Is it as simple as that?

No, it’s only your first step. But it’s a really important one.

The trick to a good fabric inquiry is to be as specific as possible. You’ll also want to include the weight that you’re looking for in ounces or GSM, as well as a HEX code example of the color you’re looking for.

And that’s what we cover further in the Factory45 program.

Through my online business school that takes sustainable fashion brands from idea to launch, you’ll also get access to a database of over 100 suppliers who sell the fabrics and materials you need to create your product or clothing line.

Continue working on your sketches and give this fabric trick a try.

You’ll be one step closer to making your idea happen.



P.S. Last week, I shared my “designer hack” for those of you who have an idea for a clothing brand but aren’t designers. You can read it here.