Last weekend I went to the Imprinted Sportswear Show (ISS) in Long Beach, CA. According to their website:
ISS is the largest trade show dedicated to the decorated apparel industry. Located nationwide, attendees that primarily screen print or embroider on t-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, baby apparel and bags, will find the best selection of vendors for supplies and screen printing equipment.
This event is 3 days long. During that time you can browse all types of equipment, from your basic manual silkscreen press to laser engraving machines. Also in full representation are the wholesale apparel companies (American Apparel, etc.). While I was drawn to the array of equipment and machines, getting a little more insight into how these apparel companies work with major brands is what I found the most interesting.
If you’re starting a lifestyle brand and you want to make shirts (like a lot of people do) all you need to do is get a wholesale account with an apparel distributer. Once you have that account, and some shirts, just screenprint them or pay a printer to slap your logo on all those bad boys. Easy right? Well, what if you’re a brand that wants to be the next Obey or RVCA and sell jackets, pants, or even bags with your custom labels sewn in that sweet spot behind the neck (or ass)? Still easy! What you’re looking for my friend is a private label manufacturer. They simply take their blanks and sell them to you as-is or with slight alterations to fabrics and fits, and with a custom label sewn in of course. They can also add hangtags and folding and bagging services so that new stuff is all ready to go.
Hopefully my simplified description of private label manufacturing helps you begin to understand this very popular method, but remember it’s not the only method. Here at MI we’ve been determined/lucky/dumb enough to find a different model (building bags and wallets ourselves). This method has worked out well for us and gives us the ability to experiment easily and sell our products for far less than we would have to if we had gone another route.
Anyways, enough shop talk for now, here's some entertainment...
-The Modern Industry team