- Product development is the process of producing product from concept to creation. While the term product development refers to the procedure that retailers adhere to in creating product or private label merchandise, the process is somewhat the same for designers in the design and manufacturing side of the fashion industry. The process begins approximately one year in advance of the season for which the merchandise will be sold at retail (or "on the floor"). The larger the store or company, the bigger the volume, therefore the more lead time is needed to manufacture product. Designers, design directors, merchandisers, and textile and color specialists will begin by researching what the predicted colors, textiles, prints, and trends will be for that particular season using available color and forecast services. The team will also attend trade shows for color, fabric, yarn, and trend directions from Europe, America, and Asia. Once this information is gathered, concept or theme boards are created establishing the design direction for that season. The design team then makes a presentation to the product merchandisers (in the case of a retail organization) or to the sales team (in a wholesale manufacturing scenario). Samples of the collection are made either in a design room or "tech packs" are compiled and sent to factories where first samples are made. Tech packs include the original sketch with a technical drawing, which provides specific fabric, color, trims, size specifications, and any other pertinent design details. Target prices are agreed to before the product sourcing team chooses the appropriate fabric mill and sewing contractor. Once the first samples are sewn, they are reviewed and fit on a fit model for any necessary changes or adjustments. The editing process takes place before production patterns are executed, then labor and material prices are finalized, fabric and manufacturing contracts are signed, and cutting tickets are written. Once the product goes into production, it is delivered in the fastest turnaround time possible. Production managers are responsible for production scheduling and flow, quality control, and meeting delivery due dates.
Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry. Francesca Sterlacci and Joanne Arbuckle.
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