Garment Sample Types have specific functions during product development stage. But do you have to produce all types of garment samples?

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High quality samples is integral in attracting buyers

In the stage of development sample in garment industry, there are at least 14 known garment sample types and an FPP clothing manufacturer is definitely able to make all of them. But actually, only 3 are actually essential during the Garment Production Process Steps.

1. Fit Sample

Of all the garment sample types in garment industry, the Fit Sample is the first one developed by the company based on the buyers requirement. This sample in garment industry is developed just to see how the garment would fit (how it would it look like) on human model(s). It is normally made of cheaper but matching fabric quality (weight and fabric types).

Due to lack of knowledge about development of sample in garment industry, owners of some start-up labels could have an inaccurate perception of what a fit sample should look like. They expect the sample to look exactly like the design that they imagined. They are unaware that fit samples are made from cheaper fabrics and the purpose is just to see how the design fits in the actual human body. We can tell you this based on our experience working with start-ups since 2007.

On the other hand, some Start-up Labels might be tempted to skip this process. They think they could save money by doing this and that it expedites the production process. They put their trust in pattern making software like Clo 3D because they are happy with what they see on the 3D images. They believe that if a design looks good on a 3D image, then any decent clothing manufacturer should be able to produce it. They are not entirely wrong.

However, as good as a 3D pattern making software gets, sometimes the images don’t really show you everything. The choice of fabrics might look good on 3D images, but it doesn’t really look good in real life due to some technical reasons. It could depend on the skill of the operator of the pattern making software.

Due to its nature as the very first sample, any fashion labels ordering a fit sample from a clothing manufacturer could and should expect free revisions. A professional clothing manufacturer normally give 1 – 2 free revision(s), which costs have been included in the price for the sample. This is one of the reasons why the cost of making samples are normally 2 – 3 times the cost of the actual production. The revision it self could include alteration to the design, change of sewing techniques and the use of different fabrics.

Other garment sample types similar to Fit Sample:

  • Proto sample: practically the same as fit sample in garment industry; just with different name. In the 21st century, proto sample is slowly being phased out from garment industry.
  • Size set sample: used to check the garment fit of the multiple sizes. Pattern grading is checked with this sample.
  • Pre-production Sample (PP sample): made in garment factories prior to starting bulk production. PP sample in garment industry is made with actual fabric, trims and accessories of the style.

2. Size Set Sample Salesman

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This type of sample is developed using the actual fabrics. Of all the garment sample types, this is the one to be used as marketing tool, and it should be integral to the the clothing line marketing plan. This sample contains various sizes of the same style.

Using this sample, the customer can get important feedback that can be used to forecast the order volume that he/she should submit to the clothing manufacturer.

Similar garment sample types:

  • Preproduction sample: developed using the actual fabrics. The purpose of this sample in garment industry is to test the style, functionality, construction, etc.
  • Photo shoot sample: developed using the actual fabrics and being worn on live (human) models. The purpose of this sample is to be used for photoshoot for promotional activities; be it catalogues, flyers, social media posts, etc.

3. Production Sample

What is approved sample in garment? the answer is production sample.

This type of sample is developed right before the bulk production. It is made of the actual fabrics. The purpose of this sample garment is to test the pattern, to make the production cost estimation, and to ensure the consistency in the production process.

Once this sample get the approval from the customer, it would be kept together with a Tech Pack that contains samples of fabrics, trimmings and everything else used to make this sample.

This Production sample then given to sewing operators and cutters.

Similar garment sample types:

  • Gold seal sample: the approved sample which is sealed by the customer. The purpose of this sample is to make sure that the garment is produced exactly with the agreed technical details and no alteration.
  • TOP sample: stands for Top of Production sample. This sample is picked randomly from the first production run then being inspected to check if everything is following the Production Sample.

Other garment sample types

The followings are also known as garment sample types. However, not all clothing brands and clothing manufacturers use these garment sample types on a regular basis:

  • Counter sample: a copy of the original samples used by the factory for internal reference
  • Shipment sample: the garment kept by the buyer as well as by the factory for future reference if any complaint raised by a customer regarding deviation of the product design and product detailing in the sold garment.
  • GPT (Garment Performance Test) sample: sent to testing lab to determine the strength of the seam, seam slippage, button pulling strength, print quality, chemical tests of metals, etc
  • Digital garment sample: a 3D form of the sample with which a customer can see the garment fit, fabric fall and pressure points (tight fitting) on the selected digital model.