Stop Extra Cutting and Contribute to Sustainable Garment Manufacturing

sustainable garment manufacturing

Extra cutting and making extra garments is a standard norm in mass garment manufacturing. Yes, there are genuine reasons for cutting extra pieces and making a 2-5% extra garment for each order. This practice can be changed by changing a few things which are discussed in this article.

When I was working in a garment factory, we used to cut and make extra garments than the order quantity. Extra cutting is done to meet the 100% shipment. When we cut the extra quantity, we are giving a chance to make defective garments, damaging some garments and waste some garments in the form of approval samples. In most cases, even we cut 5% extra garment, the factory not able to ship 100% of the order quantity due to quality issues and incorrect garment size ratio. After the shipment, the factory builds up surplus garments and sellout those surplus garments @Rs 50 per garment (t-shirts). Making extra quantity means adding production costs and expenses in materials. Why cut extra qty? Factories increase the manufacturing expenses just for making 100% shipment.

Producing extra garments but not shipping extra quantity has a negative impact on the environment. Many apparel brands have initiated many good steps and have shown their interest in making the fashion industry sustainable. Now nobody talks about fast fashion, which was a buzz word in two decades ago (during the years when I was studying in college). Today, we see articles related to the sustainable fashion industry. Conferences and events talk on sustainability. There are 101 ways we can make the fashion industry sustainable.

In this post, I have added another way of becoming a sustainable company and sustainable brand, by which we can make a difference to the whole apparel supply chain. Stop cutting extra garments! Source materials, cut fabric and make garments as per order quantity.

In my opinion, a buyer should stop charging a penalty if an export house (supplier) fails to ship 100% order quantity (full quantity). It is a fact that there will be some defective and damaged pieces. The buyer would not take those defective units - but the condition should be that supplier need to show that they have procured fabric for 100% order qty, they cut 100% and made 100% quantity. Due to unavoidable reasons, they can not ship the full order qty. This would be a way of doing sustainable business. You are not cutting the profit from a supplier. If your (brands) customer does not get the pre-ordered quantity or if the buyer does not make the profit from selling extra pieces - that is the part of a business- like you have deadstock from each season of each design. Make this habit and make the business sustainable. You can reduce the impact from all the way of the apparel supply chain. Form usage of fiber, fabric manufacturing, dyeing, garment processing, to finally filling the land with garment waste.

I would say, from the forecasted sourcing quantity - the buyer should order 90-95% of the forecast quantity for sourcing. This way apparel buyers and apparel brands can show their responsibility to the environment. This may be a tiny part of making fashion business sustainable but have a huge positive impact on the environment.

Related post: Making Zero Waste Garments - The Latest Approach to Sustainable Fashion

Prasanta Sarkar

Prasanta Sarkar is a textile engineer and a postgraduate in fashion technology from NIFT, New Delhi, India. He has authored 6 books in the field of garment manufacturing technology, garment business setup, and industrial engineering. He loves writing how-to guide articles in the fashion industry niche. He has been working in the apparel manufacturing industry since 2006. He has visited garment factories in many countries and implemented process improvement projects in numerous garment units in different continents including Asia, Europe, and South Africa. He is the founder and editor of the Online Clothing Study Blog.

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