How Fabric Consumption affects Unit Costs

How Fabric Consumption affects Unit Costs

In this article, we'll let you know how to design cost-effectively in small production runs to keep your unit price as low as possible…

If you’re like most startup fashion brands, you’re probably not going to manufacture your clothing in huge order quantities to begin with. So if you’re looking to produce your own clothing collection in low units and save money in the process, this article is for you. 

The Impact of Low Units on Fabric Consumption

If a garment is smaller and uses less fabric, then it should be cheaper, right? Technically, that is correct, but only if you’re ordering in units of over 100 per design/color. When manufacturing in low units, fabric consumption becomes a significant factor that affects the unit cost.

Here’s why…

Manufacturers do not stock fabrics. Instead, they have several trusted suppliers that they purchase fabrics from for each design they want to create. It’s just not practical, or good business sense, for them to stock thousands of fabrics just in case someone decides to design in it. Fabric suppliers are the ones that stock the fabrics, and they have a minimum order quantity (MOQ) of at least one roll of fabric per fabric/color. A roll of fabric is usually 100 meters.

This means that if you're designing a smaller item and your units are lower than 100 units on that item, the additional fabric wastage cost still has to be paid for and split over the units. Therefore, in low units, the actual unit cost is higher.


The Solution: Clever Clothing Design

The best way to combat fabric consumption in low unit design is to use all of the fabric up by designing several garments with the same fabric/color. It just takes a little knowledge to design in the most economic way.

As you can see in the image above, there are so many base garments that can easily share the same fabrics. In our tech pack and design sessions, we can help you design in the most economic way possible!

To ensure you get the most out of your fabric and reduce the unit cost, it's essential to design several garments with the same fabric/color. For example, a hoodie, joggers, and sweatshirt all out of the same fabric, or a vest and tee-shirt from the same fabric. This cuts out waste and lowers costs!

Tech Packs are Crucial

It's worth mentioning that good Tech Packs are the cornerstone of a good clothing collection. Getting these done correctly at the outset will save you so much time, frustration, and money further down the line. Here's a handy guide to getting your Tech Packs done properly. Alternatively, if you'd like some professional help with creating your Tech Packs, click here to book a Tech Pack & Design Session with us


If you're looking to design your clothing collection in low units and want the lowest possible unit cost, it's crucial to design in a clever way.

By using the same fabric for multiple garments, you'll lower your costs and minimise waste.

Also, don't forget about your Tech Packs. They are an essential component of your clothing collection and it really pays dividends if you get them done correctly.

If you'd like some guidance from us on your next clothing collection, we'll be happy to help. Just drop us a line on WhatsApp.


Love, Joss H&E xx

P.s. Don't forget - if you'd like to know about how to price your next collection properly - ask us to send you our 'Estimated Pricing Guide'. In this guide we tell you an estimated production price based on brands like Stussy, Palm Angels, Fear of God and Represent along with a RRP and estimated profit level - it's mega useful!