Fashion Industry Terms

In the past, we’ve had in-depth discussions on the blog about some unfamiliar fashion industry terms (such as Flat Sketches, Grading and Technical Design Packages), but there are still so many words and phrases you’ll need to know if you want to really speak the language in this worldand we’re here to help!

As a fellow fashion industry newbie, I understand your frustrations, and if you’re anything like me, you expect to be an expert on your first day of trying something new (realistic, right?). That’s almost certainly not going to be the case, and that’s okay! The world of fashion truly does have its own language, but it’s really not as overwhelming as it seems.

Back in April, our friends over at Maker’s Row compiled a super-helpful A – Z Glossary on Apparel Manufacturing, and we’ve taken six of their top 15 must-know fashion industry terms and expanded upon them a bit to help you better understand them and start talking like a seasoned veteran in no time! So, are you ready for your vocabulary lesson?

1. Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ)

This is the minimum number that a vendor requires in order for you to employ their servicesyou must order at least X of something to work with that manufacturer. There are factories with high minimums for larger fashion brands, some with no minimums (like JLD-Studios!) for smaller independent brands, and factories with minimums everywhere in between. One of the great things about working with a manufacturer who offers zero minimums is that if you only need a certain number of units produced, you’ll only be paying to have that number of units produced.

2. Sourcing

Sourcing is the process of finding materials or services (fabrics, trims, labels, etc.) and it is an integral part of fashion design. You can source locally or globally, so your silk might come from China and your buttons down the street from your apartment. You can buy wholesale or retail, though it is much more cost-effective to find a wholesale supplier. StartUp FASHION has a great article about fabric sourcing for industry newcomers that you’ll be glad you read!

3. Computer Aided Design (CAD)

Computer Aided Design, or simply CAD, is a method of conceptualizing your garments using special computer software. As we get further into the digital age, the days of sketching out designs with a pen and paper are fading fast, and designers are relying more and more upon CAD software to create and develop their products.

4. Pattern

The garment’s pattern, in the simplest of terms, is the guide used to construct your product. Not to be confused with a print/textile design, the pattern is the model for each piece used to construct the garment. Paper patterns are the traditional method, but CAD patterns are more widely used today. Be sure to consult with your factory as to which method they would prefer; it is much easier to print digital patterns than it is to digitize paper patterns.

5. Cut and Sew (CMT)

Cut and sew (also known as cut, make, and trim, or CMT) garments are typically of higher quality, as the garment has been customized from raw fabric; knit fabrics are laid out and cut like a woven fabric instead of being full-fashioned.



There are so many more fashion industry terms to know, but now that you’ve got a head start on learning some of the key ones, you’ll be ahead of the curve before you know it. Make sure to Contact Us for more information about the services JLD-Studios provides. Good luck out there!