Tech Pack tips: don't draw

Tech Pack tips: don't draw

Most people starting their clothing line find technical stuff boring and overwhelming. And drawing their ideas just terrifying.

But instead of throwing your hands in the air, get off your phone and go look at actual clothes!

Competent designers working at the cool brands are not creating "best of the season" looks by sitting all day between Pinterest and a sketch pad: they're draping fabrics on a mannequin, visiting vintage stores, cutting and altering pieces from thrift stores...

So get rid of any lame excuses and try these tips:

1. If you have to draw, keep it simple

Don't send a manufacturer this
The drawing on the left may look nicer, but it can be confusing. Stick to the technical drawings (aka Flat Sketches)

Tutors at Fashion school (or new clients, if you're a freelance Fashion designer) love the artsy-fartsy touch, but apparel manufacturers will get confused:

  • Did you add wrinkles because you want a special type of fabric?
  • Does the shading represent stone washing?
  • Why are the edges wobbly?

2. Take pictures of actual clothes (then get off your phone again)

This was a Tech Pack with a total of 28 pages, no coloured sketches, and the larger sketches are only on the final 3 pages, but yours don't have to look anything like it:

Tech Pack for mass production
Also, if the factory you contacted is being too precious and says they can only work with this format, they're not the factory for you.

A much simpler way to start discussing a new development with a manufacturer is this:

Notes for apparel manufacturing - t-shirt
Take a picture of an actual garment and write over it.
Notes for apparel manufacturer - bodysuit
Or this (not my work, so I've blurred most of the comments and style details)

It's best if you print out the pictures and write over them by hand: this will prevent you from spending too much time trying to write pretty notes on your phone or iPad, because you think that'll look more pro.

3. Write shorter emails, more often

Manufacturers don't really care about your concept or how your brand is going to grow 1000000% in the next 2 years, they just want to know if you're bringing in good business.

Nothing wrong with being new on the scene, but this combo of rambly email + random picture from Gucci screams: "I don't know what I'm doing, have unrealistic high standards, and  will blame you if anything doesn't go my way."

Be nice and introduce yourself, of course, but be brief and give them information they can actually work with, meaning:

  • What pieces you want to make, as in "a printed t-shirt with a higher neck - see picture with notes attached";
  • What's your final order quantity for mass production;
  • Do you have a sample already? Or a similar piece they can copy?

Stick to show and tell, and if you're confused about what they need from you, just ask for recommendations: about fabric, about designers to help you out, websites to research the technical information they need - then send another email to confirm with them.

What if you still need flats and Tech packs?