If you’re a fashion entrepreneur seeking the right partnership with a custom clothing manufacturer, you already know that keeping up-to-date with all your options can be a daunting task. The Indie Source team makes it a point to be an open book for our clients, but not every manufacturer values an informed decision like we do. So here’s our breakdown of some basic manufacturing concepts that will help startup fashion brands know where to start.
There are two primary avenues in the fashion production line: CMT manufacturing and FPP manufacturing. Let’s examine what they mean, the differences, and when to use one over another.
What is CMT vs FPP Manufacturing?
CMT Manufacturing stands for Cut, Make, and Trim.
If you already have patterns and materials for your products and primarily want to produce your existing garments on a larger scale, you may want a CMT Manufacturer. These factories will produce start-to-finish products made to specs that you provide, essentially giving you extra hands without the overhead of growing your own in-house production.
Things to note: CMT production primarily depends on its client to provide fully-realized blueprints for products and materials since the only task performed by manufacturers is to cut, make and trim what you give them.
The downside of CMT Manufacturing: you must have your products already built out and be able to provide technical specs for how to make them. If you don’t have pattern-making experience, or if you need more hands-on help planning your garments, you might benefit more from an FPP manufacturer.
FPP Manufacturing stands for Full Package Production.
FPP Manufacturers are often the best option for startup designers who need more assistance throughout the production process. Even if you have the technical skills to make patterns and produce garments, there are many ins-and-outs of full package clothing production that can be difficult to navigate your first time out. FPP manufacturing partners will work with you to source materials, determine stitching and details, create patterns, and ultimately plan everything that needs to happen to bring your clothing line to life.
Things to note: In FPP manufacturing, you’ll have more guidance throughout the development process of your clothing line. It may feel like you have less control in some areas, but ultimately it’s a collaboration with your manufacturer. Many new designers treat this as a learning experience and gain valuable insights that help them design better for future large scale production.
The downside of FPP Manufacturing: this process can often take longer and cost more due to its collaborative nature. You may also find that details you want may not be possible, and your manufacturer may recommend changes to a design to make it possible to produce within your budget or their capabilities. So it’s important to enter any FPP partnership with an open mind and a willingness to learn.
When should you use a CMT manufacturer?
While CMT is not the best option for every brand, it’s right for an already established product and a well-versed brand within the fashion industry. However, before you hire a CMT company, you should know their step-by-step process and production capabilities. It’s important to understand whether they can meet your needs or not, and you can often establish this by visiting their factories and/or discussing your tech packs in detail to ensure they have experience working with similar materials.
When should you use an FPP manufacturer?
FPP is the best choice for fresh designers with little to no garment-production experience. Some people might not have the skills to evaluate if a garment is appropriately done, make patterns, or produce technical drawings. FPP manufacturers can fill those skill gaps for you and still ensure you receive quality products that fit your brand, while you gain valuable knowledge about every step in the clothing production process.
Choosing between a CMT or FPP manufacturer for a fashion line is a huge decision. To fully realize your brand vision, you need to choose production partners capable of filling the roles you need. For newcomers, or if your brand is struggling to elevate, you should reevaluate the product’s manufacturing and development strategy.
Both garment production approaches are critically essential; the choice you make will rely on your personal business needs, budget, and, of course, the production stage of your product.