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How to Have Your Own Brand of Jeans Made in Italy

Aug 17, 2007
The hottest and fastest-growing trend in fashion is that of private labels, also known as private brands or OEM.
It used to be that only large fashion houses could have their lines of clothing manufactured with their brand name on it, mostly due to the large number of garments which were required for manufacturing. Modern technology, distribution and competition are now making it easy for any designer or marketing company to have their brand name line of clothing manufactured as quantities are as small as 250 pieces per order and as a host of manufacturers have geared up to serve this growing and profitable market.

Private label and private brand is very successful and well suited to the modern fast paced global economy. In fact, through private labeling the brand owners can do what they do best: designing fashion and marketing them, while the manufacturers can concentrate on what they also do best: manufacture, without having to hassle with their own line of products or run a marketing department.

As designer casuals and jeans in particular are experiencing an unprecedented success, obviously there is high demand for private label jeans. Now, while everyone immediately thinks of Asia for manufacturing their jeans, we see more and more labels "coming back" to Italy for their manufacturing.

This is mostly because the most profitable market is that for high quality private label jeans, the ones that retail for $ 150 and up.
With an average manufacturing cost of around $20 in Italy, obviously profits are still very handsome without all the hassles and disadvantages connected to manufacturing in Asia. In particular, in Italy one can source the world's best Italian denim as well as very skilled labour both for production and prototyping. Best custom labels and hardware such as custom engraved buttons and rivets can also be obtained in Italy.

Prototyping in particular is crucial to a brand's success and in Italy scores of talented craftsmen are trained just for this even by Italy's specialized fashion schools. A skilled prototypists will ensure that your designs will be succesfull and will also "industrialize" them; that is turn your sketches into all the cutting ans stitching patterns necessary for production.

Compared with Asian countries, manufacturing in Italy also has the advantages of dealing with well established firms, often decades in the business and whose personnell is easy to communicate with. Also quantities are as small as 250 pairs per style in the size range of your choice. Delivery of production orders is usually within twenty or thirty days.

Finally, Italian manufacturers are masters at the truly sophisticated touches which often make the most successful and trendy brands. These include complicated washes to achieve any colour finish, wear and ageing, hand made cuts and stitches, embroidery, gems and Swarosky applications. We have even had a request for jeans with real gold rivets!

Following are some recommendations to successfully manufacture your private label jeans in Italy:
1) Place all your inquiries, project details and orders through a reliable broker in Italy. While it will cost you between three and five percent of your order, it will save you much more in time saved. Also a good broker can immediately point you to the right manufacturer for your project and translate your needs and wishes into a format easily understandable by the manufacturer. The broker will also perform quality control and assist you through all the stages of your project until delivery.
2) Workout your project thoroughly, provide all possible details and samples. Nothing can beat an actual sample or a photograph to get your specifications across. Get familiar with the more than twenty measurements required for a pair of jeans and send them all to the manufacturer along with your project.
3) Work ahead of time. While the actual manufacturing time can be quite short (20-30 days), prototyping takes the longest time, especially if samples have to be shipped back and forth across continents for your approval. Also consider freight times for delivery. In general it is best to work the schedule of the fashion houses.

Here is an example of schedule for Spring/Summer collections: designs are ready in May, samples finalized in July, production completed in October/November and delivered around the end of the year so it can be on the stores' shelves by the beginning of the new year.
About the Author
Dr Marino Caliterna is a professional broker of Made in Italy products. Find out more about manufacturing your private label jeans in Italy at http://www.italia-consultant.com
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