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Sourcing Textile And Fashion Merchandising

As a result of globalisation, the whole garment and fashion value chain has had to adjust its approach to textile sourcing and distribution. In order to save money, several companies in the fashion industry have moved their operations abroad or are buying materials from countries with cheaper labour. To source fabric or anything related with fashion is to “decide how and where produced items or components will be purchased.” One of the primary drivers of sourcing apparel and textiles is the need to maximise customer happiness at the lowest possible manufacturing cost. In order to increase profits, modern companies are relocating some of the lower-value parts of the garment value chain to countries with lower labour costs.

Textile And Fashion Products Sourcing 

For garment export house fabric and trimmings are the raw material which has to be outsourced. Sourcing is the process of identifying and engaging the most economically advantageous provider of raw materials, intermediate products, or final items that also meets the required quality and service standards. It is a vital aspect of the role of a clothing merchant and is strongly related to the previous point. Parts and pieces of raw materials are what will ultimately become the clothing. It is not enough that the fabric be suitable for the garment’s intended use and construction; it also has to be readily accessible when it is required. Thus, lead times play a crucial part in the sourcing and placing orders for the materials necessary for the manufacturing.

Depending on the source, lead times might be as short as two weeks or as long as nine months. Trims are all the materials other than the component goods that are necessary to build up a garment. Findings demand the same meticulous consideration as the component items. After the fabric has arrived at retailers, only then can the thread be sourced, since the colour of the thread must fit the specifications of the buyers. The arrangement of the threads must be complete by the time. This makes cloth cut ready to be feeded to the sewing lines.

The sourcing team, in collaboration with the merchandiser of garments, is crucial to the successful completion and dispatch of export orders. Merchandisers are responsible for coordinating with the sourcing department within a certain time limit to get the necessary permissions for fabrics and trimmings. The primary responsibility of the fabric sourcing department is to plan the most efficient and economical means by which the company’s product (the fabric) may be acquired.

Things to Keep in Mind 

In order to do their jobs properly, sourcing managers need to be well skill in all materials  in garment construction. The many aspects in sourcing i.e. lead time, process of fabric and trim clearances, cost of logistics and inconvenience need to be keep in mind when determining the sourcing methods for specific export order.

Sourcing Strategy 

These techniques are employing for procurement of fabric by the export businesses. The most widely usable way is either locally produce fabric is applicable to satisfy the demand. Offshoring and global manufacturing are common techniques for sourcing fabric when local production costs are high or when sufficient infrastructure is lacking. If you own a clothing export business, you need to carefully consider your sourcing strategies. A major part of the responsibility for this strategy falls on the shoulders of the merchandiser. With the input from the fabric sourcing division. The production merchandiser is familiar with the buyer’s specifications for both fabric and processing time since he or she is responsible for export order processing.

Role of Production Merchandiser in Textile Sourcing 

The sourcing and merchandising has the same aim to achieve i.e. to acquire appropriate fabric/trims at the right location at the right time and with the right price. Because of the importance of the role of the merchandiser in the whole order fulfilment process, sourcing is an essential aspect of the role of the merchandiser. A merchandiser’s function in the sourcing process may be stating as

  • The merchandiser of a small export company is often responsible for all product procurement.
  • The sourcing staff of big export businesses works with the merchandisers to find the raw materials.
  • The merchandiser works closely with the sourcing team to determine the amount of fabric and trim needed for each outfit.
  • The buyer must sign off on all fabric specifications in a timely manner, including lab dips, desk looms, print strike-offs, dye lots, and thread runs.
  • The merchandiser is responsible for receiving the buyer’s approval of the artwork and trim card.
  • The merchandiser is accountable for keeping the Time and action calendar with the appropriate buffer.

Process of Trim Sourcing 

The process of fabric procurement is quite dynamic, it varies with the fabric type, pricing given by fabric supplier, lead time, buyers demand. An export company’s typical fabric-sourcing procedure includes the following steps:

Flow of Material And Information 

The material and information flow in sourcing is from buyer to either to purchasing house or garment maker. A home or clothing maker will share this data with their fabric and trim suppliers. Fabric and trim providers provide the raw materials to the garment industry, so the story goes. Sometimes a buyer will have a preferred fabric or trimmings supplier in mind and will communicate directly with that person. And other times the buyer may ask the merchandiser to get such materials. In this scenario, the customer shifts all responsibility for issues like delays, colour variations, and quality checks on to the fabric and trim provider.

Factors Affecting Sourcing Fabric 

Lead Time 

Approvals for the fabric, the trim, the artwork, and the finished product (FPT) might take a lot of time. An additional 30-60 days are require to account for the time it takes to source the fabric. It takes around 45 days for yarn-dyed fabric, about 30 days for piece-dyed fabric. And about 55-60 working days for fibre-dyed fabric. Merchandiser has to choose the provider of the fabric supplier on the basis of the kind of fabric. Also, time stays in hand to fulfil the export order. Fabric supplied from another nation will add additional time to the production schedule due to transportation delays.

Also crucial is the proper handling of trim sources. It takes about 30 days to get trimmings in-house. That also is dependent upon the kinds of trimmings and the sources from which they are coming.


The sourcing of fabrics is profoundly impacted by logistics. There are various aspects. Duration of travel time Logistics infrastructure Third, supply chain expenses. When making an order for fabric or trimmings, a merchandiser must take these considerations into account. Realising a precise lead time for fabric/trims procurement depends heavily on the time needed for transportation. Absence of suitable infrastructure would lead to delay in fabric procurement. Merchandisers, before ordering fabric and trimmings, should have a thorough understanding of the logistics involved. And also the how much they will add to the final garment price.

Bottom Line 

With this information about the textile sourcing process you can make the logistic function easy. Here you can modify the entire process as per your opinion and requirement. Still if you are hunting potential textile sourcing platforms for your business then fabriclore’s timeless collection is just for you. We have the best textile choices with us through which you can source fabric without giving much effort. Further, our  textile expert would help you throughout the process of getting design from idea to production. 



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