Where to buy textiles?
9th February, 2022, Anna H.
Today we will look behind the scenes. And we will talk about textiles and materials. Do you like sewing and search for tips on where to buy beautiful fabrics? Or do you want to know the origin of your clothes? Keep reading!
Choosing the right material is a beautiful, fun, but also a very responsible task. We specifically mention material, not just fabrics. For example, for a simple button-down shirt, in addition to fabric and threads, you also need support for the collar, buttons, labels, sometimes even zippers or rubber bands. It depends on the design and the required quality of the final product. Let's narrow it down to the textiles and we can talk about other components next time.
When you are sourcing textiles for your own designs, you have several options. These options basically depend on the amount of material you plan to purchase. We would definitely like the most to have the fabric made to measure directly. Of course this possibility exists. If you consider this option, you will probably encounter two facts. The minimum quantity of ordered material and the delivery date. The minimum amount for the production of textiles is often as much as1000 meters and the whole process will probably take several months (if you want samples etc.). Generally this option is unattainable for a small brand. First and foremost financially, and secondly, you need to have a clear plan long in advance of what and how much you will produce. Which, if you start and you have no experience and a loyal clientele, probably do not know.
Unfortunately, in the Czech Republic today, textiles are no longer produced in the same volume as in the past. Large factories such as Tiba and Mosilana no longer exist today. However, we still have several textile factories. At Appre, we are always very happy when we manage to find beautiful materials made in the Czech Republic. For example, the chambray and denim we use in our collections come from a Czech manufacturer.
China, India, Pakistan, Brazil and Turkey are among the largest producers and exporters of textiles today.
The second option is to buy textiles that are normally in stock in wholesale or directly from the manufacturer. This option is already quite available for smaller brands. At Appre we often choose this way as well. The minimum amount of fabric you have to buy is usually one roll, which is mainly between 50 - 100 m. And the delivery times are normally within a few weeks. Here, even as a start-up company, you are able to plan what you will produce from one roll of a fabric. But it takes some experience in choosing the material. You can't make a few samples from the purchased roll, and if you don't like it, send the roll back.
If you are at the very beginning and you do not have much experience, or if you do tailoring to order, you will probably only need a few meters from a specific material. At this stage, you usually choose regular retail. You can choose between visiting a local store or do the shopping online. From my own experience I must say that if I have the opportunity, I always take the trip to the shop, because I need to see and touch the material myself. Buying at a local retail store has the undeniable advantage that you do not have the limit of minimum quantities or have to wait for the long delivery times. On the other hand, it is necessary to count on a higher price. Retailers most often buy stock fabrics from the manufacturer, and because their store must also function, they naturally sell the fabrics at a margin. This is one of the reasons why custom or small series production will never come close to prices from large chains. We at Appre use the services of retailers for some of our small limited collections, where we make a maximum of 5 pieces from one model (usually one in each size).
Where should I look?
And where do I find all those manufacturers, wholesalers or brick-and-mortar stores? Well there is no clear answer to this. Unfortunately, there are no "Yellow Pages" for all fabric manufacturers and stores. When I worked in the fashion industry in Los Angeles, there was one such publication. You can order this guide here, but I don't think it will be very useful for the Czech environment. If something similar exists for manufacturers and suppliers in the Czech Republic (or the EU), then unfortunately I have no information about it. If you know about something like this, contact us!
So eventually you have to start Googling, making calls, testing and trying. And gradually build your own database of suppliers. And it is good to attend various textile and fashion fairs (for example in Munich), where you have a great chance to establish business relationships and meet suppliers.
Appre tips on local stores in Prague
If you are looking for a local shop, Textile Mountain is definitely worth visiting. They offer "deadstock" materials. These are, for example, materials from closed factories or various production surpluses that would otherwise be destined for disposal. You will find the store in Prague at Truhlarska 6.
The Materialistic store is located in Prague's Letna. In addition to fabrics and components, they also offer sewing courses and a shared sewing workshop, which is great news for complete beginners. You will also find a selection of environmentally friendly materials, such as EcoVero viscose.
And what is your favorite local fabric shop?