A tech pack is a critical tool used to facilitate a fashion product’s journey through the production process from concept to physical product. Think of it as a blueprint created by a designer with components and instructions for a manufacturer to turn a design into a finished product. This includes technical sketches, the bill of materials (containing fabric, label, trim, thread, colorway details), construction specifications, measurements, tolerances, grading, and packaging requirements. Missing, non-specific, and inconsistently communicated tech pack information puts brands at risk of receiving inaccurate cost quotes, not having products produced correctly, driving up development costs due to excessive sampling, or not even being considered by manufacturers.
When apparel brands are first starting out, it is tempting to overlook the resource-intensive process of building tech packs. However the manufacturing process is labor intensive, consisting of workforces in the thousands using paper documents printed out and checked against. This manual process means that it is very complicated to fix a single error once the process has begun. Not to mention, additional complications are created when tech packs are distributed to global offices and updated through multiple fit rounds. As such, while it is tempting to skip steps and save time initially, in the long run this approach can come back to haunt brands.
At SILQ our factory teams and technical designers work through our Tech Pack Tune-Up service together; to solve this tech pack dilemma. Our process ensures a complete garment spec for the factory. This includes augmentation of construction specs, BoMs, and sizing charts as well as geo-specific product and pricing intelligence. We empower brands to do what they do best -- design great products for their customers -- while ensuring manufacturers have a process and baseline of technical information to execute against. We share five best practices to build the perfect tech peck:
- Know the fundamentals. All tech packs should include technical sketches illustrating design details from all angles, construction details, bill of materials (BoM), fabrics and colorways, stitches and seams (stitch type, stitches per inch), sizes, and measurements. Information such as company name, date, style name, category, season, and version should also be indicated (ideally on each page).
- Know your audience. A tech pack first and foremost is a centralized communication tool. It can be tempting to create a unique way to communicate measurement specs and over generalize or completely omit information on a tech pack. However, a tech pack is an important communication tool which will be passed from a merchandiser, to a technical team, to a sample room, and finally to a production team all of whom may speak different languages with the end goal of creating a physical product. Detailed technical sketches versus long descriptive paragraphs are the way to go. Putting in the effort to communicate in a standardized way with complete information will help you deliver a better product at a lower cost in less time.
- Know rules and regulations for product labeling. One size does not fit all. In the United States, imported products must have a visible label indicating the country of origin. Products must be labeled to identify the company responsible for marketing, usually through a Registered Identification Number (RN). There are specific requirements around care and content labeling. These label details and placements need to be communicated to manufacturers on a tech pack. If they are omitted, you could find yourself in a tough situation with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or US Customs and Borders Protection (US CBP).
- There is no substitute for technical expertise. In order to successfully execute a design, you need human resources who understand pattern making, tech pack creation, and garment construction. This does not mean you need to hire an in-house team. Our approach at SILQ bridges the gap to ensure you have a production ready tech pack to pass to a manufacturer. We go a step further with personnel on the ground communicating regularly with manufacturing partners and providing geo-specific market insights.
- A pattern is worth a thousand words. Most manufacturers can make a pattern from a tech pack and measurements. A pattern is the actual template of your design. It can be drawn by hand or created digitally using software. If you send a pattern with a tech pack, you know your design can be made and you control the design process from end-to-end. This can reduce the margin of error resulting in a better first fit sample and fewer sample rounds.
We hope you found this helpful and you’re now well on your way to creating the perfect tech pack. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about our Tech Pack Tune-up service.