Archives for category: Uncategorized

Info Share Courtesy

Year to year, season to season, fads go in and out of style faster than turning pages in the latest issue of Vogue. With over $500 billion being spent every year on advertising, it’s no wonder that the fashion industry has been able to sell the idea that happiness can be bought in the form of a new, trendy outfit.

Spurred on by the strong urges of consumerism and flashy marketing campaigns, many people all over the world eagerly buy into this concept. This has resulted in a constantly churning cycle of fast fashion supply and demand. In order to make room in their closets for the latest styles, consumers tend to discard the preceding styles even if they’ve only worn the garment a handful of times.

While some consumers try to recycle their clothes by either donating them to charities, upcycling or using them as cleaning rags in their home, the vast majority of these garments do not see a second life. According to Global Fashion Agenda, an organization dedicated to various fashion sustainability efforts, 73% of the world’s clothing ends up either incinerated or in landfills.

When deposited in landfills, natural and semi-synthetic fibres like cotton and rayon break down and produce the harmful greenhouse gas methane as they degrade. In order to make the fabrics, these fibres are often processed using toxic chemicals like dyes and bleaches, which can potentially seep into groundwater. Burning unwanted clothing isn’t really a better alternative, as it distributes these toxins into the air we breathe. Synthetic fibres such as polyester present the same problems but have the added downside of taking hundreds of years (or more) to biodegrade.

The crazy part is that most of these materials are easily repurposed or recycled. Although most frivolous waste occurs at the end of a garment’s lifecycle, many leaders in the fashion world are determined to do something about it.

Closed Loop Couture

The concept of closed-loop fashion has grown in popularity in the past few years, increasing the industry’s overall interest in circularity and garment recycling. Major fashion organizations such as the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation have been instrumental in bringing the issue to the forefront of the fashion industry.

There’s also the Copenhagen Fashion Summit, an annual event organized by Global Fashion Agenda. This event brings fashion industry leaders and sustainability experts together to discuss sustainability practices, as well as develop strategies for implementing these practices. At the 2017 Summit, Global Fashion Agenda implored brands and retailers to sign their “2020 Circular Fashion System Commitment” agreement.

The goal of the agreement is to precipitate a wave of meaningful action toward accomplishing more sustainable recycling systems through education, knowledge sharing, collaboration, and public declarations of commitments to closed-loop fashion systems.

As of May 2018, 94 fashion companies ranging from commercial retailers like Target and H&M to designer brands such as Tommy Hilfiger and J. Cavallo have signed the agreement. This number represents an astounding 12.5% of the global fashion market.

The first step of the commitment stipulates that signees must set circularity targets for themselves to achieve. These targets are allocated across four action points:

  1. Circular design
  2. Material collection
  3. Reuse
  4. Recycling

Furthering increasing the stakes, Global Fashion Market also publicly lists the companies that have signed but haven’t followed up the specified requirements.

Substance Over Style: Circularity in Practice

Circular design is accomplished when all levels of a garment’s life cycle are considered and thoroughly analyzed during early planning phases; These cycles include the manufacturing, usage, and disposal of the garment.

New York-based company ADAY exemplifies this on multiple levels by adhering to minimalist principles and designing versatile garments in evergreen styles. They also work with engineers to locate and develop durable, technically advanced fabrics, many of which are derived from recycled materials. They create their designs with the intention of instilling a less-is-more mindset in their customers.

Other companies are focusing their efforts on collecting discarded garments in order to reuse, resell, or repurpose them. Some designers, such as French designer Marine Serre, are using sustainability and recycling as part of their creative process. Her design collection is comprised of hybrid garments with a futuristic flair using remnants of vintage scarves and shirts.

Eco-conscious H&M has even developed an incentive program for their customers: bring your unwanted apparel to one of their stores – regardless of condition or brand – and get a voucher. H&M then hands the clothing over to their business partner I:CO, which sorts through it all and separates the clothes to be resold as second-hand clothes, reused as other products like cleaning cloths or recycled into textile fibres for industrial applications.

H&M also partnered with the Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel (HKRITA) to invest in the development of processes that can separate the materials that comprise blended textiles and isolate them so they can be made into new yarns.

Wardrobe Staples: The Future Outlook of Sustainable Fashion

This series has covered only a few examples of the many ways that the fashion industry is working towards sustainability. Although the road ahead is long and fraught with many obstacles, the fashion community has been enthusiastic and ambitious in their pursuits. Ephemeral fads may come and go, but sustainability will soon be the most fashionable trend of all.


Image Credit: Mike Flippo/


Direct Current Manufacturing Inc. has a very specific process for in-house production aided by digital pattern services that in a decade ago were outsourced to a service provider. These companies like ourselves correctly identified with an evolution of domestic cut and sew that we expect will continue for many years to come.  The digital landscape indicating the best is yet to come.

In between 2000 and 2005 terms like globalization and the 100-mile diet would emerge to raise question guiding the decisions still to make are visible now to be recent add-ons to the social fabric of change that includes the widely accepted use of email, the retirement of our one fabulous fax machines and the introduction of blue box recycling. In the late 1990’s we had just started out on the vector pathway of digital design and pattern management. The Internet was very much a newfangled thing and the WordPress interface we use for this Blogspot wouldn’t even come to exist until around 2006, so the topic of the day has no answer, certain methods of production being used in this local region are changing too.

Labour and Technology are key to the concerns for environmental stewardship. Fuel surcharges and transparency of supply chain management are topics closely linked to the general enquiry for cut and sew services it becomes apparent that brand builders and product development managers have much more to think about than just the basic start-up info of days gone by but those questions remain in play.

The good news is we operate industry-wide, capabilities with an all-around lower Minimum Order Quantity. At DCMfg there has never been a minimum Order… was the purpose motivating our ambitions in 1999 that brought us to develop our management processability as leaders in the small batch niche market we see as expanding.

The concept that is now a priority to becoming more green benefits from not overproducing. Less surplus equals less waste.  A practice maintained since day one. Students of fashion design and marketing apparel who contact us with their questions add to the milieu of considerations we enjoy as apparel producers to respect. This way our process has more meaning as we repeat to ask always of clients we serve – why and for what audience is the garment or collections even being made.

This answers only part the question as to what “production process” is most appropriate to the need. The process standard observed as being best at this time involves workers receive a significant amount of cross-training as a necessary part of growing to advance the domestic modular, sometimes specialized workgroup approach tailored to local cut and sew on demand, for design and boutique size order fulfilment.

Our process that is crafty and creative may very possibly remain this way – more technology will be needed to mesh appropriately with responsibility for sustainability and ensure that job creation is value added should bring about “Production with Purpose” as being primary to the Process. Clear is the need – that there is some thinking to do.

There is no fixed quantity rule for minimum order placement.

The Brand or Project Manager normally determines this based on the project plan, budget and lead time.

Be practical. Samples are made when needed and normally this is because there is a production order in place to back up the request.

When requesting services, consider to also provide a summary of your needs. Opening inventory to support advance sales may suggest that placing a small batch production is a good way to try a styles sales performance when exhibiting direct to consumer or offering items online. take samples from the small lot to pioneer larger prospects.

This way if a buyer requests a sample you have some stock on hand or otherwise plan far in advance when Sampling for buyers and only the items that attract significant interest from qualified buyers or distributors become a production run.

Your Minimum Order really depends on method of sale, distribution and overall business model. If selling direct to consumer at events then make enough but not so many that all your cash is tied up and you have no ability to transact other needs.

Short Answer: Order what you need to be sustainable. More important that you plan in advance and can control the raw material supply. Fabric is key. The devil is in the details.

In a word: Resources.

Designers like Value… So, when a new designer arrives at our door with their plan for a new collection we often hear the desire to create a unique and interesting product “at a reasonable price”.

Reasonably priced organic Cotton Cardigan: $89.00 Bloomfield Clothing

Reasonably priced organic Cotton Cardigan: $89.00 Bloomfield Clothing

But what does that mean? By what standard do we gauge “reasonable price” ? It is a good question to consider as it opens the dialogue to Quality, Access to Market Share, Positioning, Distribution and Volume of Scale. These and other factors are going to determine the price charged. And these considerations are far away from the singular component of Manufacturing.

Mercedes Benz has a reasonable price for the quality they provide? Goods Made in Canada are typically thought to be of reasonable quality but does that translate into a reasonable price?

This is where we put the question back to the designer to solve their own business question.

What does it take to achieve a reasonable price?

For an Apparel design line you would have to have all aspects of your Source Supply, Manufacturing and Distribution confirmed in advance from the fabric raw material to a final, well branded customer fulfillment venue or retail outlet? Add to that your Administrative Structure and even financial situation and other strengths would also come into play.

It is a very involved undertaking to reach this type of end to end standard of readiness to produce a line focused on price.

Our facility does offer some of the components required to Design, Develop, and Make a dynamic product offering and depending on the other facets required to mass produce, market, and deliver a worldwide quality standard worthy the price charged.

For:  A) Design and Pattern Development

Leading to:  B) Prototype Development.

The Manufacturing, if in Canada, would require you investing in several seasons of commitment to secure your production.

At this stage our office would require a base retainer, with payment up front, to enter any sort of meeting discussion. This retainer is for the time and attention our office will have to pay towards focusing on your ambition.

If you would like to solicit us for support with your business development plan we would need to confirm the significant details of your “roll out” strategy and the associated costs required to reach your goal would be revealed.

Based on what most designers come forward with when establishing a Domestic Garment Manufacturing program there is a substantial capital requirement. In most cases we do not see our team becoming involved for less than $5,000 – $25,000 in preliminary-production services, as we have to direct significant amount of our resources to the task of converting illustrations to pattern and in that process, determine the garment construction questions involved in the task of developing a prototype and companion finished showroom sample.

And as mentioned, the effort to realize a “reasonably priced line” suggests some significant logistical challenges that are simply not attainable without major effort being applied.

the Brand has to be prepared to build some opening inventory and most likely will purchase in advance materials keystone to the product development plan and “reasonable price” objective.

Resources: Facility and Equipment, Time and Talent.

With AccuMark Software and Gerber Technology, patterns are digital, so calling up a style and making an edit saves time and money.

Using advanced computer software assists with accuracy when cutting multiple layers of cloth by automated positioning of the pattern pieces prior to ordering or laying cloth on the table.

With “markers” (as the blueprint) specific to a cutting order, errors are reduced and the yield is enhanced adding further benefit to every job customized to the fabric and style being made to maximize yield.

To reach this point in the process, original pattern creations are converted to vector lines using an electronic drafting table. Our investment in this technology helps make quality fashion garment apparel better, faster and in smaller quantities if desired.

Have a question?
Sending an email can be great way to get things started.