Short run production can allow for local sourcing closer to market needs, but also presents a number of challenges that can be addressed through TCBL.
We can identify three groups:
Textile manufacturers willing to produce short run capacity, e.g. during down time, or wish to broaden their offer or have leftover fabric to sell. This might include textile manufacturers which may “over-produce” on purpose with large orders in order to diversify their business positioning, something they are keen to do.
Garment manufacturers who range from the at home sewer to the small Cut, Make & Trim (CMT) unit. This could include the larger scale garment manufacturers who need to down-scale because of pressures to reduce numbers and through skills shortages.
Designers who want to design and sell small lots, potentially by grouping together to increase buying power.
Firstly, TCBL can create an environment where European based designers and manufacturers can find each other and do business. Mostly, we expect that these businesses won't know of each other's existence and there is an important role for TCBL members here to bring together, create and facilitate business transactions.
Secondly, match making opportunities can be engineered via an online platform created or adapted for this purpose. Such a platform will allow for the development of two options: firstly, CMT manufacturers to bid for jobs posted by designers; secondly, for manufacturers to post any excess stock to sell. Quality standards and kite marks held by manufacturers will be included in an element of quality assurance but the process will be essentially self-moderating and can be achieved using TripAdvisor style feedback. The same model applies for those manufacturers wishing to offload stocks of excess cloth, which could also offer opportunities for designers to aggregate demand.
Who's involved and what's happened so far?
TCBL members from the UK, Denmark, Italy, Slovenia, Greece and Romania have participated in a number of different projects to date, all of which are ongoing. All projects are intended to be replicable elsewhere.
UK:Rita Britton / Nomad Atelier - http://www.nomadatelier.co.uk/
Nomad manufactures and sells clothes and accessories for ladies. Rita’s store, The Tobacco Warehouse, has been fully restored as a 21st Century luxury emporium, showcasing the Nomad collection of cashmere, silk, and leather accessories. Sourcing fabric in small quantities is a barrier to production.
Stephanie is a start-up company of Performance sportswear for ladies to be sold online and as a concession to large stores. She needs to source technical sports fabrics and specialist sportswear manufacturers as well as technical trims and a manufacturer who can make functional bra tops. She would also benefit from support for fits-development stages.Italy:
Trafi Creatività Tessile - http://www.trafi.it/
Trafi gives the fashion world the opportunity to go beyond the old traditions of the textile industry by offering treatments that allow the creation of innovative textile products. Trafi works with recycled waste and offers dyeing and needle-punching expertise amongst other areas.
Prato Expo (Italy)offers an ecommerce platform selling short runs of fabrics from Italian manufacturers via http://www.pratoexpo.com/.Slovenia:
Tatjana Kalamar Fashion http://tatikalamar.com/
Tatjana is a textile design expert with special graphic skills (portraits) and interest to innovate new textile products. She has more than 20 years of experiences in big textile industries and fashion, she has knowledge on textile materials and also works for medium sized Slovenian textile industry producers.Komet d.d. http://komet-metlika.si/
Komet d.d. is specialized in the production of women underwear. Komet is present in Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Germany and Israel. They have two subsidiaries in Croatia and Serbia, actively contributing to the success of the Komet brand. The company's main activities are design and marketing of women's underwear. They are up-to-date with the latest technological innovations when choosing and working with modern materials. Komet Underwear is designed in accordance with the latest trends and aims to please a wide range of customers. From those who believe in elegance and functionality to those who want to follow the latest trends. Today Komet is a synonym for high-quality, functional and fashionable women's underwear, which tries to satisfy the demands of a woman who is confident, fashionable, elegant, and proud to express her femininity.
Dali sport d.o.o. http://www.dalisport.com/
Dali sport is specialized in the custom-made textiles. Their services include but are not limited to: embroidery, t-shirt & textile printing, sport suits (rowing, ski diving...), promotional apparel (earbands, rollis, hats...), –flags, banners, and windsacks, hiking pants, jackets, and other apparel. They produce FIS and non-FIS ski jumping suits as well as other ski jumping accessories including undersuits, gloves, and souvenirs.
Beti Metlika d.o.o. http://beti.si/
Beti d.d is one of the leading European manufacturers of dyed polyamid yarns. More than 90% of sales created by exports on the markets of USA, EU Russia and the Middle East. The company employs more than 150 people and is among the largest employers in Bela krajina. Beti preja d.o.o. is the producer of polyamide, polyester raw and dyed textured yarns, and wrapped elastanes. The company has a long tradition in the production, in the past for the needs of hosier’s industry, fabrics.
Netherlands based Sqetch provides a means of putting textiles and clothing brands and manufacturers in touch with each other via https://sqetch.co/. The site has a European focus so is ideal for TCBL members.
Goals and targets
Thirty-five steps between clothing conception and design and actual sale have been identified and characterised below. It provides a simple, but effective depiction of the many stages, including pitfalls and opportunities, that aspiring designers should be aware of when developing their creations for market.
Of the several projects ongoing two case studies have been produced so far with others in the pipeline. You can read all about these short run production case studies elsewhere on the TCBL website - linking designers and producers and costing samples.