What is the Real Cost of Manufacturing Clothing?

Establishing a clothing line is every fashion designer’s dream. However, it’s one thing to fantasize about a collection and another to complete it.

Designers will quickly realize that there is a monetary investment required to have a tangible fashion collection. The actual cost of clothing manufacturing relies on multiple factors.

To stay within budget, you need to be well aware of costs. We are here to help you navigate the ins and outs of apparel manufacturing costs and where to find professional and prestigious manufacturers to complete your project.

How Much Does it Cost to Manufacture Clothing?

Domestic, high-quality clothing manufacturers do business differently. One of the most apparent contrasts between manufacturing in the United States and manufacturing overseas is price. Like The Evans Group (TEG), American manufacturers can cost slightly more, but for excellent reasons.

Designer Manufacturing Clothing

Employees are paid living wages and treated in accordance with fair labor practices set forth by federal guidelines. Manufacturers in the U.S. are typically more conscientious about their environmental impact. And, last but not least, quality is paramount among most American manufacturers.

In addition to location-based rate changes, other elements factor into the overall cost of manufacturing clothing, including easily overlooked details. Known as “garment costing,” this step determines the financial investment needed to manufacture your clothing line. It includes textiles, trims and finishes, labor, labels and packaging, shipping and logistics, and more.

Fabric Type

When establishing a clothing line, the area that accounts for the majority of your budget lies in your textiles. According to Fibre2Fashion, “the fabric cost constitutes 60 to 70 percent of the total garment making cost.” The quality of your fabric plays a pivotal role, but so do a few other characteristics.

Fabric for Clothing

As with all garment production, there will be excess materials. The types of fibers, the fabric manufacturing process, grams per square meter (GSM), and minimum order quantity (MOQ) will factor into the shrinkage and wastage that is commonplace in the industry.

Fortunately, much of this can be estimated and accounted for during the garment sampling step.

Choosing your fabrics wisely will be an instrumental part of your production total and can be made easier with a member of the TEG team.

Our full-time sourcing manager offers sourcing services to deliver a customized source list and start-to-finish sourcing for each style, depending on your needs.

Do you want to create a sustainable fashion line with ethically-sourced fabrics? Consider these questions when choosing your fabric options.

Trims & Accessories

Fabric costs are part of the big picture, but we can’t forget the small details. Trims and accessories are essential components of all garments, even something as simple as a T-shirt.

Why? Because all garments require sewing thread, and others call for trim and accessories that go beyond the basics.

Items like zippers, buttons, elastics, labels and other additions and embellishments are trims that need to be calculated into the cost of manufacturing clothing.

It also points out that the “quality and quantity” of the trim and the labor required to apply them will affect the cost. The more intricate, detailed, and unique your trim and accessories are, the higher your apparel manufacturing costs will be.

Labels & Packaging

Your clothing line is more than just a collection of garments; it’s an experience for your clientele and an opportunity to reinforce your brand. Take full advantage of your company’s logo and aesthetic when planning and determining costs.

A brand label is a small piece of fabric featuring your company or personal details and can include something simple like a logo or some wording. Because they’ll sew woven labels into your clothing, they are likely to include sizing, care instructions, and other pertinent details.

Additional packaging, like bags, cartons, and price tags, should be factored into the overall cost of creating your clothing line. Paper labels, tags, or brand directives placed outside your clothing for display in retail stores should also be on your mind.

The Cost of Manufacturing Clothing

How much does it cost to manufacture clothing? That very question is often one of the most circulated in an emerging designer’s mind.

The majority of us are not operating on an unlimited budget and need to know the investment to see a collection through to fruition.

Closeup of sewing

Garment costing must also factor in labor costs which, as we pointed out earlier, will be a bit higher for domestically made clothing.

As unusual as this might sound, that’s a good thing for all involved. The quality is higher, it’s more ethical, and your customers will be pleased to be purchasing a made-in-the-USA item.

There are methods for calculating the time it will take to manufacture each of the garments in your collection, down to the exact specifications.

One such way is the Standard Allowed Minute (SAM). This option is to measure a task or work content of a garment.

The type of data you use and the allowances provided will depend on your collection’s unique needs and can be decided with an expert from the TEG team. The more complicated your garment, the more you should expect to pay.

Shipping & Logistics

Just because your collection has been cut and sewn to your specifications does not mean the process is over. You must still figure out how to get those garments from point A to B.

If you’re using a production and manufacturing house like TEG, then your items might be shipping to other destinations within the U.S.

If you are in another country, then shipping costs will likely be higher. Regardless, the transporting and logistics details need to be calculated and factored into your clothing line cost.

Other Expenses

Costs may differ depending on whether you are an emerging or established designer.

Emerging designers are likely to need more direction, require more consultation time, and need additional help sourcing materials for their collections. These service-oriented extras need factoring into your overall costs.

Clothing Manufacturing process

You may also have overhead costs, like employee wages, rent, utilities, and operating expenses that need incorporation. You can’t overlook these factors because your budget will need modifying accordingly to stay in the black.

How to Find High-Quality Clothing Manufacturers

If you want to work with an award-winning, full-service fashion and development production house, then TEG is the high-quality clothing manufacturer you’re seeking.

We take pride in assisting independent designers to see their collections through from beginning to end. Our vertically integrated sewing factory in Los Angeles and couture atelier in San Francisco cover all of your design bases.

Establishing a Clothing Line

We want to help you establish a clothing line on time and on budget while exceeding your expectations for quality and knowledge. One of our most sought-after services is our collection packages.

Completed Designs

Created specifically for emerging designers, these inclusive packages set you up with patterns, samples, patternmakers, fit adjustments, production-ready patterns, and duplicates, as well as the expertise of the TEG team.

There are also optional, fee-based add-ons, like design and sourcing meetings.

We want established designers to turn to TEG for assistance with scaling their brands. With more than 15 years in the industry, we have learned a thing or two about custom-tailored solutions and creating experiences for discerning designers that will keep you coming back for more.

Final Thoughts on The Cost of Manufacturing Clothing

Establishing a clothing line doesn’t have to be daunting. Now that you have a greater understanding of the actual cost of clothing manufacturing, you can move forward more confidently. 

If you’d still like assistance from TEG’s experts, choose one of our collection packages or invest in our efficient and personalized garment creation services. 

Emerging and established designers both get the opportunity to experience our unique mix of skills and expertise, state-of-the-art facilities, and genuine care for our clients. There is no better time to bring your collection to life with budget-friendly, no-minimum factory-level production in the United States.

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