When you decide to develop any new bag in China one of the key things to get right is the fabric and general raw materials for manufacture. Last week we visited the fabric markets with staff from our buying office in Shanghai. This is part of the product development process of the Sarobag.
Once you have a design concept or trend in mind, you can choose fabrics that communicate these. Generally, it is the designer’s responsibility to shop for fabrics but our merchandisers also get involved here.. Fabric salespeople can be very helpful so even if you are not an industry professional you will be able to learn a lot on your visits – do not be put off..
Here are some key questions to think about before your trip in order to mentally prepare yourself and be in better negotiating position.
- Material composition for the fabric?
- When do you need the fabric?
- Where will you manufacture?
- How much fabric will you need?
- Which colours to associate with your brand or designs preferred?
- What weight you are looking for?
- What width you need for the production?
- Technical specs or characteristics required for this fabric?
- What is your budget?
Next step, we must pick up some sample yardage at this stage. This is an extremely important step in the fabric selection and production process. It is the time for you to see if your item, or items, works in this fabric. For the Sarobag, given there are 2 functions (garment as Sarong / carrying device as a bag) this is quite a critical step.
Sample yardage involves ordering a small amount of yardage, generally 3 to 5 yards / meters. With this sample you can cut and sew a sample bag. Doing this allows you to see if the fabric works well and hangs well with the styles you had in mind.
At the markets you may also find more complex materials such as Interlining for the construction and other accessories which add to the overall quality of your bag.