Checklist to Buy Surplus Garments (Avoid Purchasing Defective One)

Are you a fan of export surplus garments?

Read this checklist to avoid purchasing a defective or a fake surplus garment.

Most of the garments sold in the export surplus stores are leftover garments or defective garments as per the buyer’s quality specification, or excess quantity produced by export garment manufacturers. In a nut cell, a surplus garment made of quality raw materials but might be having visible or hidden defects.

Export surplus stores sell original branded garments that may contain defective part(s) and/or defective trim(s). Garments with hidden defects and that do not hinder in the functionality of garment is okay to many wearers as they choose to buy surplus products.

Two kinds of defects you may find in surplus garments - Defects in functional trims and aesthetic properties.
By Mirza Ferdous Alam via Flickr

Following are few guidelines to purchase original export quality garments and to know the defects lie in the garments.

1. Check Brand label - Exporter garment manufacturers don't suppose to sell surplus garments with original labels. So, they cut labels prior to selling surplus goods to whole sellers and retailers. If you find a cut label it might be original products.

2. Check Shade Variation - Check if there is shade variation between garment parts, like sleeve to body, front to back shade variation.

3. Check backside of the garment where the label is attached. There might be a needle hole or cut.

4. Check Timings - check all rivets and buttons are attached securely (for jeans).

5. Don't miss to check joins at the crotch area. There might be broken seam[1] or skipped stitch (Jeans and bottoms).

6. Wrong placement of logos or distorted logo - Due to wrong placement of embroidered logo or distorted logo, the garment is considered as a defective product. But as a surplus customer, this is not an issue.

7. Check cut and hole - For knits products, there might be needle cut in stitch lines. Check needle cut by stretching stitches. Just check bottom hem and armhole stitches to ensure needle cut is there or not.

8. Check broken seam in waistband - If you are purchasing boxer pant, track pant or bottom with elastic at waistband. Check the stitch lines on waistband thoroughly. If you find stitches are not secured or loose thread on the seam line avoid buying that piece.

9. Check garment size – There might be mismatch of actual garment size and size mentioned in the size label. So, don’t believe on the size label only, check garment width and length by opening folds.

Also remember, some sellers make customer fool by selling inferior quality garments attaching duplicate labels of international brands. Fake garments might look same in designs but raw materials of the fake garments are not as good as the branded products.

How to ensure if you are buying a shirt of original brand?

10. For full sleeve check and stripe shirts - Just check the sleeve underarm stitch line. If check patterns are symmetric then it is an original product. If you find one side of the seam line is straight and other side is diagonal stripes then most probably that shirt is made locally. Don't buy that piece because the low quality fabric is used for making such garments.

11. Check shirt front placket - if you find fabric selvedge[2] is used in front placket then it is not a branded shirt. In fake shirts, you would not find button in sleeve plackets.

Do you any bad experience purchasing of surplus clothes? You can share it with us.

[1] Seam - A seam is a line where two or more layers of fabric are joined together by stitches.
[2] Fabric selvedge: A selvedge (selvege) is a self-finished edge of the fabric. The selvages keep the fabric from unravelling or fraying.

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