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How to Manufacture a Swimwear Line

Not sure how to develop and manufacture your swimwear brand? Before you start a swimsuit collection, go over this 8-step checklist.

How to Manufacture a Swimwear Line

The swimwear business is one of the most competitive within the fashion and textile industry, and it can be challenging to differentiate yourself from other brands.

So, before you go on to manufacture your swimsuit line, dig into our guide — it covers the main eight steps of the process to create a hot-selling swimwear collection that stands out:


1 - Understand your Customer

First things first, do your research. Your market research will guide you in choosing the right target customer. Researching your target market to understand what designs and textile trends your customers will most likely invest in can make this process easier. Next, is your design research, which feeds off of your previous market research. The key takeaways are: knowing who you are selling to and understanding what trends your audience likes and rejects.


2 - Do Fabric Research

Truth be told, swimwear is highly technical, so, if you are looking for a good quality bathing suit, there are a few qualities fabrics must have in order to function properly. With the need to be durable and stand up to several elements like water, chlorine, or other beach conditions, it’s essential to do fabric research prior to prototyping or sampling.

In particular, sustainable swimwear materials are somewhat hard to find since stretch is such an important component, as well as properties such as UV protection or quick-drying. Generally speaking, swimsuits are made primarily of recycled polyester, nylon, or polyamide and mixed with elastane. Be aware that while polyester is going to be cheaper, nylon tends to be a lot stronger.


3 - Design a Prototype

It's critical to have an idea of what your beachwear product will look like (even if it's just an initial sketch) prior to finding a manufacturer. Start by sketching out rough designs on paper or with the help of digital tools. Consider taking a generic product and putting your own spin on it, or forming pieces of fabric together.


4 - Custom-made vs. Massive Production

Whilst it may seem like swimwear only requires a few fabric squares, it’s realistically just as complicated as producing dresses or purses. In fact, of all the seasonal summer apparel, swimwear tends to be the most costly to produce due to its high degree of complexity — especially if you rely on fashion and textile technologies to create a lasting swimwear line.

Will the swimwear be worn by athletes or beach visitors? Which blends are you looking for? How about the weight? Will you need ecological textiles? Are you looking for chlorine-resistant bikinis and one-pieces? What are the sizing options? These are some of the questions which define the parameters of your requirements and will help you decide whether you go with smaller, custom-made companies or industrial, mass facilities.


5 - Create a Tech Pack

You must have a clear tech pack ready to go at the manufacturing level. A tech pack collects all your requirements needed to take your pattern from nothing to a finished garment. This includes any accessories, stitching, measurements, fabric types, printing, cuts, meaning all the production information that a designer, pattern maker, manufacturer, or product developer requires to professionally produce your suits.

Having a tech pack reduces human error, enforces a greater degree of quality control, and allows a manufacturer to give you an exact quote. Nearly every single manufacturing company will require you to have a tech pack to use as a reference and begin the manufacturing process. The more thorough you are with designing your pack, the easier your articulation of requirements will be to your manufacturer.


6 - Reach out to Manufacturers

Access to important market information that isn’t available to just anyone can be attained with the right manufacturer’s assistance. As a matter of fact, a manufacturing partnership is one of the most critical decisions any swimwear brand owner could make. Learn more about how to find the best supplier to develop and manufacture your swimwear collection made in Portugal.

Manufacturers can range from sourcing materials to monitoring labor compliance. If you need some guidance with the fabric selection, don’t be afraid to reach out to manufacturers, as they can also help you with fabric sourcing. The best manufacturers work with a network of certified suppliers so that they can help you source the highest-quality and most compatible materials.

Plus, because of their expertise, manufacturers can recommend the best finishes and construction techniques to apply your designs. Not to mention, they’ll have the proper equipment for the best execution.


7 - Sample Development

Before going any further, and to safeguard results, we always advise making molds. That is, to get the fitting right for the perfect product shaping. Although it may not be 100% final, it is an approximation of the end-product and will help guide the sampling process.

To make sure everything flows smoothly, always ask for samples first. This gives you the chance to give feedback to the manufacturer in advance. Most manufacturers provide you with either SMS (salesman samples) or PPS (pre-production samples).

Since the most crucial part of swimwear’s entire production process is probably the spreading and cutting stages, if fabrics are not handled properly, it may result in high shrinkage or slippage (regarding its polyamide content). Once your designs are developed into samples, you can better assess fabrics, fits, colors, prints, and other details.


8 - Set your MOQ (Minimum Order Quantity)

We advise you to keep clear lines of communication and express your expectations, given that most factories will have a minimum order quantity (MOQ) requirement — which could be higher than what you anticipated.

In FLM Textil’s case, our minimums vary according to the type of project you want to develop. Yet, if you have a swimwear brand, we will ask for a minimum of 150 pieces per style/color.

In order to come up with quantity orders, make sure you know your audience, and estimate how much you’ll actually sell. Knowing how much to manufacture will help you understand your total costs and have clear expectations when you reach out to technical swimwear suppliers, Brazilian swimwear manufacturers, or any other kind of swimsuit manufacturers.

When starting a swimwear line, this 8-step swimwear checklist will guide you through the major eight things to consider when planning your next collection.

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