Remember that at its core, streetwear is about mixing comfort and practicality with self-expression.
Your ideal streetwear manufacturers should be able to create clothes that embody comfort, functionality, and self-expression. It’s easy to recognize these three core features of any streetwear piece once you see the finished product. But you as a brand owner have to find a way to recognize the ability of a clothing manufacturer to make such garments.
Here are a couple of clues that can help you learn whether or not a streetwear manufacturer has got what it takes to make comfy, practical, and original clothes.
How Streetwear Manufacturers Make Comfortable Clothes?
The answer is simple – they use soft and stretchy materials. Fabrics that come with a lot of fluff and buttery feel are brushed french terry and fleece and are most commonly used for hoodies and sweatshirts. Really great streetwear manufacturers should be able to offer you those fabrics in many different weights.
Connection Between Softness and Fabric Weight
Fabrics like brushed french terry will pack more of that fluffy inner part as their weight increases. Therefore, the equation is simple – heavier fabric means more comfort. The most popular fabric weight for hoodies and sweatshirts is 340 gsm but feel free to go higher if next-to-skin comfort is your main goal.
Having said that, your ideal streetwear manufacturer should have such fabrics readily available as well as the machinery to process them properly.
Cutting Heavier Fabrics the Right Way
The thing about 340 gsm soft brush french terry or similar fabric is that it takes up a lot of space on the cutting table. In order to cut it perfectly, clothing manufacturers must use
CNC fabric cutters. If they are to use manual cutters, bottom layers wouldn’t have the same shape as top layers. As a result, you might end up selling faulty pieces to your audience without even knowing it. And even if you notice the badly-cut pieces, you’ll surely lose time waiting for proper replacements to arrive.
Add Stretchiness for Better Mobility
If the design of your streetwear piece traces the body even slightly, make sure to ask for fabrics with elastane. Even 5% of it would greatly improve the mobility and comfort for the people wearing your brand.
Skin-Contact Area Comfort
Whenever you’re sure your clothing will be worn next-to-skin, one thing you must insist on is flat seams. The seam is a line where streetwear manufacturers sew two or more layers of fabric together. With special machinery, they can make them flat to prevent chafing.
How Streetwear Manufacturers Make Practical Clothes?
The practicality of a streetwear piece can be understood as something simple as its zippability. Also, depending on your brand voice, pockets of a specific size and position may be connected to practicality. A weather-resistant jacket as a part of your streetwear brand is also something very practical.
This basically means that a clothing factory you get in touch with should be able to make custom clothing. In other words, they should be able to work off your tech packs or samples. If they only offer white label, template clothing, steer clear of them, they probably haven’t set up their production for customization.
The full customizability of clothes is especially important for the self-expression element of your brand.
How to Achieve Self-Expression With Streetwear
Just like truly functional streetwear, truly original streetwear can be achieved through full customization of garment production. Streetwear manufacturers that can work with different tech packs, create a lot of samples and recreate prototypes can achieve it. Simple as.
Ask the manufacturers if their sampling department recreates other garments and/or work with clients’ tech packs. If they don’t, they’re not the right fit.
Unless you are achieving originality only through graphics. In that case, other things start to matter more. When you have incredible illustrations or other graphics that would look great on textile, then a variety of printing techniques from the manufacturers’ part can play a major role in your quest for brand originality.
Different Printing Techniques to Achieve Uniqueness
To get you covered fully, streetwear manufacturers that you are assessing should offer both screen printing and dye-sublimation printing. We say this because screen printing works great with cotton and natural fibres. On the other hand, dye-sublimation provides the best colour transfer on polyester fibres.
This way, you’ll be able to have your graphics and illustrations transferred to any fabric.
What Else Makes a Great Streetwear Manufacturer?
Other than being able to make comfortable and practical streetwear that stands out in a good way, clothing manufacturers should be ethical, sustainable, and transparent. You can take the easy way like so many modern-slavery-benefiting inhumane huge brands and flat out lie about being sustainable and ethical.
Or you can do the right thing and actually find a factory that ticks all the boxes when it comes to fair working conditions and a positive impact on the environment.
How to Spot an Ethical Streetwear Manufacturer
If the manufacturer is really ethical, their workers should have enough free time to have a life outside of work. Regarding the compensation, they should be paid at least the national minimum wage of their respective country. Also, they should receive bonus rates for overtime and work during weekends. That’s a bare minimum. You’d be surprised how often this isn’t the case.
This is where we as streetwear manufacturers believe to really stand out. All our workers:
- Earn at least 20% more than the Serbian national minimum wage
- Work eight-hour shifts
- Receive overtime bonuses (which is a legal requirement often overlooked or misrepresented in the textile industry)
- Receive birthday, childbirth, and marriage bonuses (not a legal requirement in Serbia)
How to Spot an Eco-Friendly Clothing Manufacturer
Ideally, the manufacturer would either have the ISO-14001 standard or a social compliance certificate. Standards and certificates are a guarantee that all the processes in the factory are carried out in a way that’s safe for the environment.
But even without certificates and standards, a streetwear manufacturer should still find a way to stay sustainable. They can handle wastewater safely and handle textile waste so that it doesn’t end up in landfills. Ideally, have an alternative source of energy like wind electrical systems or solar panels.
This is another field where we believe what we do stands out from the usual practices in the textile industry because:
- We handle our wastewater with a certified wastewater system
- A local company that makes boxing bags uses all our excess textile from the cutting room as fillings
- We have a solar power system in our factory in south-eastern Serbia
- We will soon operate under the ISO 14001 standard
Transparent Streetwear Manufacturers
There are many garment factories out there with all kinds of social compliance certificates and ISO standards that actually break almost every certification rule. If it weren’t like that, a tragedy like Rana Plaza would have never happened.
The thing is, many social compliance audits are carried out in a way that gives the manufacturers enough time to cook the books and intimidate and train the employees to lie during interviews in order for the company to obtain the certificates.
Once they do, they have a perfect smokescreen for whatever happens behind closed doors.
Don’t get us wrong, there are definitely clothing factories that deserved all their certification. Such a clothing factory would welcome visitors, be it existing or potential clients.
If a clothing manufacturer you get in touch with acts evasively to the mention of a factory visit, that’s a major red flag and you should run away from them as fast as you can. It’s likely they’re doing something wrong, even if they boast with shiny certificates attached to their name.
Factory visits at FUSH˚ are a common occurrence. What’s more, we have five apartments in the factory complex so you could spend days immersing yourself in the clothing manufacturing experience. Once we start cooperating, we’d even film the manufacturing process of your product so that your brand can really benefit from radical transparency that is an ever-growing trend in fashion.
In order to make comfy, practical, and original pieces of streetwear in an ethical and eco-friendly way, a clothing manufacturer must tick many boxes. Modern machinery, skilled and well-paid textile experts, sustainable factories, and radical transparency are some of the must-haves for any manufacturer that can actually help your streetwear line outshine other brands. If they lack one, that’s one too many so brace yourself when you decide to go manufacturer hunting, it might take a while.
Unless you want to give us a try. To do so, fill out the contact form below the FAQ excerpt. If you can, provide as many details about your potential order as possible.