verbal croquis

the cost of clothes

Posted in DE stuff by verbalcroquis on June 2, 2008

One of my least favorite industry-related things to do is run up cost sheets, but it’s not because I hate math.  I actually love math.  I took an extra math class in college for kicks.  I hate cost sheets because of the inaccuracy of the math.    It’s all “so if freight for 75 yards from New Jersey to Los Angeles is $X, and let’s project (! that word! ick!) that we’ll need 500 yards more, with the volume discount, and shipping ground instead of splitting 20 yards 2-day and the balance ground, then freight should be approximately… um… what?” and “if it’ll cost $X to grade this pattern, then how much should I charge per garment if I don’t know how many units I’m going to sell yet?”  Yeah. So. Much. Fun.

Calculus was hard enough with 2 variables, but basic algebra with 150 variables is just crazy-making.

In order for a dress to get from random idea to you as a finished garment you want, you have to pay a lot of people.  You pay:

    • the guy who designs the dress
    • the guy who helps the guy design the dress
    • the guy who specs out the dress
    • the guy who orders all the inputs for the dress, tracks all the vendors down, make sure things are delivered on time
    • the guy who sells you the inputs
    • the guy who inspects the inputs and makes sure they’re what you ordered
    • the guy who drapes the dress and/or drafts the pattern
    • the guy who cuts the sample
    • the guy who sews the sample
    • the fit model
    • the guy who fixes the spec
    • the guy who fixes the sample
    • the guy who cuts a new sample
    • the guy who sews the new sample
    • the guy who makes the linesheet
    • all the guys who make the lookbook
    • all the guys who put together the runway show, tradeshow booth, sales pitch, etc.
    • all the guys who follow up with stores to get the sale

      Now if you’re lucky and get some sales, you have the privilege to pay:

        • the guy who puts together the cut tickets
        • the guy who alters the pattern to make it “production friendly”
        • the guy who runs around to get the inputs for the production
        • the guy who inspects your inputs
        • the guy who grades your patterns to make all the sizes
        • all the guys who make size run samples to make sure your size 14 works as well as the size 0
        • the guy who makes the marker according to the cut tickets
        • the guy who lays out your fabric
        • the guy who cuts out the pattern pieces
        • all the guys who sew the garments together
        • all the guys who iron the dresses and package them
        • the guy who packs up the shipments and sends them off
        • the guy who follows up with stores
        • the guy who has the happy, happy task of collecting money from the stores
        • the guy who figures out what sold and what didn’t so they can use that information to design better things next time

          Then, in order to take the garment and take it to the consumer, you pay:

            • all the guys in PR
            • all the guys in advertising
            • all the guys in the store that unpack the boxes and hang them on the racks
            • all the guys who hunt down a different size and bring it to the dressing room
            • all the guys who work for the store, from the CEO to the janitor to the guy who designs the cute little bags people take their purchases home in

              And then you pay:

                • all the guys who pays all the other guys on these lists so they’ll want to do it for you again next season

                  Now think about all those guys the next time you pick up a price tag.  Or if you prefer, you can think about me in my office, beating my brains out, making a list of all these guys.

                  12 Responses to 'the cost of clothes'

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                  1. Kathleen said,

                    Can I use this? lol

                  2. […] here and you’ll understand why sometimes, people would rather make pret a […]

                  3. RachelMM said,

                    Fabulous! Love it!

                    Congratulations on the launch of your line. It’s gorgeous!

                  4. Marialexandra said,

                    SO TRUE! I think thats what makes it so funny! The sad reality behind it all.
                    Congrats on your new line! Wishing you the best and all the success!

                  5. Karen C said,

                    Ain’t that the truth! And mostly that “guy” is me.

                  6. HelenB said,

                    So many mouths to feed! Great post…

                  7. […] related: There’s a hilarious entry on her blog about the cost of clothes (making […]

                  8. […] Verbal Croquis on the Cost of Clothes […]

                  9. Jessika said,

                    Hi Zoe
                    I saw the post about your launch over at FI…looks great! Best wishes! Jessika

                  10. gilda said,

                    hello zoe, i sorta just surfed on in here and am reading everything with much interest. hopefully i can have my own label one day too. but this post you did about costing, sounds like it would give me a headache!! gosh!

                    by the way i love the leather collection you have on your website. and the way the photographs are done too.

                  11. Nicole said,

                    Hilariously informative! I never thought of the process a garment must undergo to make it to a dept. store! Definitely an enlightening article! xoxo

                  12. […] The cost of Clothes […]

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