Fashion Terms Every Designer Needs To Know

Draping? Drafting? Haute Couture? What does it all mean? Knowing specific fashion terms when starting a clothing line or even perfecting your design with a clothing manufacturer is beneficial. Not only does it help with your fashion journey, but it improves your level of communication with garment manufacturers.

Which fashion terms do you need to know when launching a fashion brand?

Famous Fashion Terms

Clothing model exposing the inside lining of a black and white houndstooth jacketThe jargon used by fashion experts the world over is extensive, and it’s not a failing to admit that you don’t understand everything. It’s helpful to know some of these terms to avoid any potential fashion mistakes, too.

That being said, let’s examine some of the most essential fashion terms to get you started in your fashion education.

Haute Couture

You may hear haute couture thrown around when talking about famous fashion lines. Haute couture, which stands for ‘high sewing’ or ‘high fashion,’ is a precise term used to describe custom garments created by a fashion house. Plus, it signifies that the garment manufacturer has undergone a strict set of criteria.

This set of French laws, overseen by the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode, helps determine which production houses can officially consider their products ‘haute couture.’ In short, when a production house can legally state they craft haute couture, you know they earned it.

There also exists the base term, ‘couture.’ This refers to bespoke clothing made for runways, specialty stores, and personal use.

For example, The Evans Group specializes in creating couture for emerging and established independent fashion designers.


Fashion-forward clothing refers to looks and styles that may not exactly be in style right now. However, a unique style may be in fashion next season or next year. Studying trends could help you craft a fashion-forward brand. At TEG, we’re always looking to help experienced and inexperienced designers tap into their creative potential, helping them shoot for a fashion-forward brand.

Fast Fashion

Fast fashion is a dirty word in the industry. In short, fast fashion is the cheap mass production and distribution of lower-quality clothing. It’s easy to make, but it results in numerous issues, especially regarding the environment. Fast fashion takes advantage of lax labor laws in the Global South and creates clothing that can be easily disposed of. To sum up, fast fashion is all about convenience and not enough about environmentally or ethically-conscious production and distribution.

Clothing Sample

Clothing sample‘ can refer to a few different aspects of fashion. The basic definition is a piece of clothing that makes up part of a collection.

Others use ‘clothing samples’ to describe the entire clothing manufacturing process. There are different types of clothing samples. For example, a production run starts with the muslin, a piece sewn using more inexpensive fabric. This acts as the foundation for the subsequent clothing samples. Eventually, a clothing manufacturer will produce a top of production (TOP) sample, a clothing sample singled out of the finished production.

Fashion Mood Board

A fashion mood board is a creative planning tool used in the very first stages of clothing production.

When starting a clothing line, it’s always important to plan. Fashion isn’t exactly something you can execute on the fly. That’s where planning materials like a mood board enter the process. It’s a creative process where designers think of and compile terms, colors, ideas, thoughts, and more into a collage. Ideally, a fashion mood board will help guide the creative process, bringing out the fullest potential of a fashion brand.

At TEG, both emerging and established designers meet with a creative services team and craft a fashion mood board. At the start, the creative design team uses a mood board as a valuable supplemental design tool to help fashion designers nail down their future clothing lines’ overall look and feel.

While a designer may come into the TEG studio with a firm idea in their heads, by exploring the creative potential by using fashion mood boards, you can think up even more creatively powerful ideas.


What is a MOQ? MOQ stands for minimum order quantity. While minimum order quantities exist in numerous industries, they’re especially important in clothing manufacturing. A minimum order quantity is essentially the minimum number of items that a company will accept to commence production. For example, some larger fashion production houses will have minimum order quantities of 300 to 500 clothing samples.

The problem for emerging designers and large minimum order quantities is a lack of resources. If you’re making your first foray into fashion, you likely don’t have the same capital as a veteran designer. As you can imagine, higher minimum order quantities result in higher prices.

At TEG, there are no minimum order quantities. As a low MOQ clothing manufacturer in Los Angeles, TEG promotes creativity, freedom of expression, and, most importantly, flexibility. TEG believes that resources shouldn’t dictate how successful your clothing line will be. Whether it’s an order of one to ten clothing samples or 500, TEG works with emerging designers to find their manufacturing sweet spot.

Pattern Drafting

A Los Angeles pattern maker using an iron to help in pattern drafting

Fashion drafting, a favorite method of expert pattern makers, is one of the most important parts of clothing design. A clothing designer starts fashion drafting by taking a piece of fabric and styling it to fit a model appropriately. By creating material without any seam allowance, that’s called a ‘sloper,’ the pattern maker uses the fashion draft as the foundation for the future clothing line.

Pattern Draping

Fashion draping is when a pattern maker takes the developed fabric and drapes it over a mannequin. Obviously, it’s much more nuanced than merely laying the fabric over a stationary model.
The pattern maker carefully monitors the myriad ways that fabric falls and lays on the model, making measurements and notes to add to the fashion tech pack.

Fashion Tech Pack

The fashion tech pack is the blueprint from which the clothing production team derives the clothing samples. A good fashion tech pack should always contain meticulous notes, any comments from members of the design and production teams, and revisions. Any inconsistency in the fashion tech pack can easily result in costly and needless mistakes in the final product.

At TEG, the fashion tech pack is called the ‘TEG Specification Sheet,’ and the pattern makers and textile workers follow it to the letter. The inception of the TEG Specification Sheet begins after planning out your initial creative designs.


Closeup of a Los Angeles clothing manufacturer using a sewing machineThis primer should be more than enough to help you ingratiate yourself into the clothing production world. Whether it’s knowing what a MOQ is to learning the methods of a Los Angeles pattern maker, fashion terms help you understand your next clothing line. To sum up, learning fashion terms has positive long-term effects on your products, working relationships with fashion designers, and the clothing manufacturer.

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