Denim Garment Design Process
When designing denim apparel, the designer will usually start by hand drawing or electronically rendering sketches of the clothing to create a collection. A collection usually has several pieces of clothing that share common characteristics and tell a story to both the buyers and customers.
After this, the designer orders cheap mock-ups of the designs so that he can see the garment characteristics in real life. He will show these rough sample garments to others in the company who handle washing and detailing so that they can begin to plan fabric dyes and treatments for the apparel. They will also nix any designs that they do not wish to manufacture.
Mega-retailers like The Gap, who only sell products internally, will at this point compile a "look book" for store owners with hand-drawn pieces so that they may start buying. Non-chain denim-wear lines allow buying after the second set of polished, finished samples is produced.
Denim Clothing Manufacture
Once the garments have been finalized and selected, the pattern maker creates manufacturing patterns for production. These are then sloped, or sized, to accommodate various body measurements. Often, a jean or denim garment will use an old pattern that has sold well, rather that creating a fresh pattern.
The denim fabric is brought into the factory, and the cutting process begins. From there, the jeans are stitched by hand, or completely by machine. Interior labels are added before the waistband is stitched. The denim garment is still the old-fashioned indigo jean fabric with no conditioning or distressing. It reaches the conditioning stage of the assembly process, where the apparel is battered, beaten, painted, scrubbed or acid-treated to achieve the desired wash. After this, machines then add rivets, outer branding labels, or any other specialized trims.
Tagging and Distribution
At the end of the process, the denim garment is tagged with pricing and brand identification information, folded and packed in a plastic bag. These finished denim products are shipped out to stores for sale or stocked in warehouses for future distribution.
Depending on the company, distribution can be a simple process or may be tightly controlled. Premium jeans companies often label individual garments with serial numbers and can tell right away if apparel is authentic or has been stolen because of this code. Often, production creates an overstock of apparel that can be sold to discount store jobbers; alternately, surplus denim clothing might sell at a sample sale or outlet center.