Sampling Stages in Apparel Manufacturing

Garment samples are categorized as development samples and production samples. Samples that are made in the development stage are as follows -
  • Proto Sample 
  • FIT sample 
  • Salesman Sample/Photo shot Sample 
  • Size set Sample 
  • Pre-production Sample 
In the production stage, the factory needs to submit a few more samples that include
  • Top of Production Sample 
  • Shipment Sample 

1. Proto Sample:

These samples are a prototype of a new design created by designers. This is the first sample in product development stage. Proto sample is made to communicate the design of a style or a line or to present garment structure. In proto samples fit and fabric detailing is not been considered.

Related post: 14 different types of garment samples

2. FIT Sample:

Once the proto sample is approved, FIT sample is being made with the actual measurement. Modification of the pattern is done to get the desired fit of the garment. FIT is one of the most important factors to be considered during sample development. A Fit sample is being tested on a live model or on a Dress form for to verify garment fit and fall.

3. Salesman Sample:

Salesman samples are made to put on display in the retail showroom. Salesman sample (SMS) are displayed for assessing customer's feedback and according to customers response, buyers forecast demand of a particular style. Sales samples are made with actual fabric and trims and accessories. Buyer pays for salesman samples to the developer.

4. Size set Sample:

The purpose of the size set is to check the fit of the garment in different sizes. In this stage, factory develops samples in multiple sizes. Generally, buyers ask size set sample in jump sizes, like S, L, XXL. Buyer check size set sample and give feedback to factory if anything needs to be corrected.

5. Pre-production Sample:

All the above samples are made in sampling department. A buyer wants pre-production sample (PP sample) to be made in the actual production line so that operators know what are they going to make. This sample is made with actual fabric, trims, and accessories and made by sewing line tailors. PP sample must be approved by the buyer or buying house merchants (technical persons) prior to proceeding actual production.

Also see: Counter Sample

6. Top of Production Sample (TOP sample):

Once bulk production is started, few garment pieces are taken out in the middle of the production. Production pieces are sent to buyer as the T.O.P sample. All buyers do not ask for the TOP sample. The purpose of the TOP sample is to cross-check whether the factory is following PP sample specification or not.

7. Shipment Sample:

When style is being finished and packed for shipment, 2-3 finished and packed pieces with all packing details are kept for future reference. Shipment sample is kept by factory merchants and buyer's merchant. The approved shipment is sent directly to warehouse and merchants at the buyer do not get garment out of the shipment. That is why they keep shipment sample for future reference.

Also Read: How to study a reference garment sample?

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