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Your Key to Success: Fashion Tech Packs

What is a tech pack and why is it important

Fashion Designer desk with moodboard on wall and tech pack software on screen
Photo by Ella Jardim on Unsplash

Hello, I’m New Here

Being the brilliant, creative Queen/King you are, you’ve come up with the concept for your dream design.

You’ve spent many sleepless nights redesigning each detail in your head.

You’ve done some research and found the perfect manufacturing partner. And finally worked up the courage to reach out to them and get the ball rolling. Woohoo!

While you may be new to the fashion industry, you’re not new to being a creative boss and you’re ready to jump into this new chapter with both feet.

But then your factory asks you for a tech pack...

“A Tech what?” you think as you act nonchalant and make a mental note to Google “What is a Tech Pack” the second you get home.

And here, my friend, is where the product development process really starts.

Welcome to the wonderful world of Fashion Tech Packs.

Tech Packs: The Blueprint For Garment Production

So... what is a tech pack in fashion?

Clothing tech packs are a *complete* guide to how a garment is manufactured (keyword here: COMPLETE!). Every single detail of the design, from the fabric and trims to the construction details and even down to the packaging, should be clearly laid out in the tech pack.

Someone you’ve never spoken to about your design before should be able to pick up your tech pack, read it like a manual and know exactly how to make your garment.

Many suppliers won’t even get started without a tech pack!

Make Tech Packs Simple With Tech Pack Wizard

Red neon sign of symbols on a black background
Photo by Matthew Brodeur on Unsplash

Oh The Horror!

“But I’ve met with my factory. They know exactly what I want! Surely I don’t need a tech pack…?”

It’s easy to think that your factory or your design is different. That you might not need a tech pack. That you can get away with it, because what could go wrong?

But it’s always better to be safe than sorry!

Imagine this: you show your factory the flat sketch of the pants you want produced and discuss with them the type of fabric you want.

Due to your tight budget, you decide to forgo sampling (which we strongly discourage) because the factory has shown you samples they’ve made for other clients that look comparable to your design. You think, if they can do that, they can definitely do this.

With full faith in your factory, you go to production without seeing samples and without a full tech pack. Just a flat sketch and high hopes.

You have a very specific idea of how the garment should look (I mean, hello! You wouldn’t be doing this if you didn’t 😉) and you are so excited to receive your bulk production.

However, because you didn’t have a tech pack, your factory didn’t realize those gathered lines on the sketch were actually an elastic waistband.

Black and white technical sketch of pull on elasticated pants
Flat sketch of pull-on pants with elastic waistband

Without a BOM (Bill of Materials) spelling out the fabric and trims necessary to make your garment, they didn’t know you required 5cm wide woven elastic in the waistband.

And with no callouts page with a big red arrow pointing to the waistband with the text reading “Encased elastic waistband”, this detail was easily missed.

See where I’m going with this?

Now you have 500 pairs of pants that no one can get on! Not ideal and definitely not what you were imagining in your head.

But, mistakes like this can easily be avoided with a detailed tech pack.

Pink peg board sign with white letters spelling out "Don't Panic"
Photo by Tonik on Unsplash

How to Avoid Manufacturing Mistakes with Tech Packs

A proper and detailed apparel tech pack ensures your product is created how you want it. After all, we don’t want any expectation vs. reality fails here (like these online shopping failures! So cringey!).

Spelling out every detail of your garment will help your supplier produce and deliver the goods exactly as you see it in your mind.

As good as many factories are, they can’t read your mind (I wish!). And you know what they say about assuming… 😉

Give your factory all the details from the beginning in order to have a successful product development process. This will save you time, money, and resources.

Fewer samples mean less wasted time and money.

Keeping Everyone Accountable

Your tech pack will also hold your manufacturer (and you!) accountable by acting as a visual contract.

If you request a 28mm 4-hole button but your jacket is delivered with a covered shank button, you have grounds to stand on proving you asked for a specific button but did not receive that.

Keep in mind this works the other way too. Ensure your tech packs are completed and very detailed. Avoid confusing, IKEA manual-like tech packs (no shade on IKEA, but we want our TP’s to be easy to follow!).

Bonus tip: As changes are made along the way (which we can almost guarantee you changes will happen in the design phase), make sure to update your tech pack to reflect these changes.

Psst… The Tech Pack Wizard plug-in makes changes like these a breeze by linking all the sketches in the file. You only need to update the main master sketches once and all other linked sketches will automatically reflect the change.

It’s basically magic 🌟

Screenshot of clothing tech pack software tool
Screenshot of Tech Pack Wizard plug-in Construction Callouts tool which enables users to create detailed callout pages in half the time!

Top 5 Reasons Why Tech Packs are Important

1. Helps avoid miscommunication

Tech packs clearly explain all details of the design including fabrics & trims, design features, artworks, labels & packaging, etc.

2. More accurate costings and lead times from the beginning

Giving your factory all the information from the beginning allows them to more accurately quote the cost and lead time for your design. This gives you more transparency in the process and allows you to plan accordingly.

3. Fewer samples

Having a good tech pack reduces the number of samples you have to go through before you nail the design.

4. Quality Control

Acts as the end-all-be-all for QA to compare the goods to. If your tech pack specifies a 3cm twin needle turn up hem, QA will check to make sure your garment has a 3cm twin needle turn up hem.

5. Saves you time and money

Fewer samples and less time spent going back and forth with your supplier means time and money saved. It’s a win-win!

Meme of Rihanna looking pleasantly surprised with the words  "When the first proto sample looks just right"
The face you make when your 1st proto matches your vision

Prefer An Easy Tech Pack Creator?

Why do so many fashion entrepreneurs go into production without a tech pack then?

They’re tedious to make and intimidating to someone who doesn’t know what to put in it.

But don’t worry, the Tech Pack Wizard plugin for Adobe Illustrator takes the tediousness right out of the process!

With automation and easy-to-use tools, TPW plug-in can cut your tech pack time in half!

Now, what does a tech pack cover? Stay tuned for more information about clothing tech packs to come.

Make Tech Packs Simple With Tech Pack Wizard


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