Suggestion: Watch the 20 minutes video tutorial before reading this article
Planning to import clothing or other textile products from China? In this guide, you will learn what need to know to select the right clothing manufacturer, create a techpack, select materials, get samples made and much more.
Part 1: How to find a good clothing manufacturer in China
- 1. Product scope
- 2. Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) Requirement
- 3. Test reports
- 4. Fabric quality
- 5. BSCI and Sedex Audit Reports
Part 2: How to Get Your Clothing Designs Made in China: 6 Steps
- 1. Creating your Techpack
- 2. Garment sample production
- 3. Create a Production Manual
- 4. Book a Quality Inspection
- 5. Book material lab testing
- 6. Shipping garments from China
List of Clothing and Textiles Manufacturers
- Yotex Apparel
- Zhongshan ARLISMAN Garment Factory
- D&J Garment
- Shenzhen Doven Garments.
- Wuxi Kuanyang Textile Technology
- Jinjiang Changda Garment
- Hemp Fortex
- Buying wholesale clothing from China
- Alternatives to China for clothing manufacturing in Asia
- Clothing and textiles trade shows in China
- US clothing and textiles regulations
- EU clothing and textiles regulations
Buying wholesale clothing from China
Clothing and textiles manufacturers don’t keep products in stock. Instead, they offer production as an ‘on-demand’ service. Some suppliers don’t even keep fabrics, zippers and other components in stock – but procure materials as needed, for each new order that comes in.
The only exception is products made for the domestic market. Some Chinese textiles suppliers make their own products for their own domestic markets. The “problem”, for overseas importers at least, is that ‘domestic products’ are not labeled according to US, EU or Australian textiles labeling requirements. As a result, importing wholesale textiles is not even an option for most importers.
So why are importers still interested in clothing wholesalers? The reason is that manufacturers have a minimum order quantity (MOQ) requirement, while wholesalers don’t.
How to find a good clothing manufacturer in China
Not all Clothing and textiles manufacturers are equal. Making a random factory selection online, without verifying that the supplier is able to reach your quality requirements, is likely to end up in disaster. Below follows an introduction to the three main factors that really matter, when selecting clothing manufacturers in China.
1. Product scope
All suppliers are specialized in certain product categories s, and sometimes even materials. If you plan to import GOTS certified organic cotton t-shirts, you need to look specifically for suppliers manufacturing GOTS certified organic cotton t-shirts – not just suppliers making ‘cotton t-shirts’.
This also applies to print techniques and other technical requirements. If you intend to import DTG printed t-shirts, for example, it’s essential to only shortlist suppliers that already offer DTG printing.
2. Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) Requirement
All suppliers have a MOQ requirement. For example, if the suppliers MOQ is set at 500 pcs, you must purchase at least 500 pieces – or they cannot accept your order. In the textiles industry, there are 3 different MOQs to keep track of:
- MOQ per order: Normally 500 – 1000 pcs
- MOQ per fabric: Normally 250 – 500 pcs
- MOQ per color: Normally 250 – 500 pcs
- MOQ per size: Normally 100 – 250 pcs
Notice that the MOQ often reflects the minimum amount of fabric the supplier must purchase from their subcontractors. As such, you can reduce the overall MOQ by using the same fabrics and colors on more than one product.
Further, custom colored fabric (i.e., according to a certain Pantone) tends to have a higher MOQ, compared to the supplier’s standard fabric colors.
3. Test reports
Clothing textiles are regulated in most countries, including the United States, Europe, and Australia. Most applicable safety standards, such as REACH (Europe) and California Proposition 65, restrict chemicals, heavy metals, and pollutants.
- AZO dyes
Most Chinese manufacturers, especially the smaller ones, are not aware of the substance contained in their textiles.
It’s a deeply rooted issue that goes way beyond the manufacturer. All clothing manufacturers purchase fabrics and components from subcontractors. The number of material subcontractors can range from two or three to the hundreds.
Ensuring that non-compliant materials don’t slip through requires the supplier to test a large number of samples, which most small factories consider too expensive and time-consuming.
For importers based in Europe, America, Canada, and Australia, it’s critical to select a supplier that can demonstrate a compliance track record in terms of test reports, issued by an accredited third party such as SGS or Intertek.
Clothing test reports
For example, you can make a ‘compliance assessment’ based on the following documents:
- REACH (SVHC) test report
- OEKO tex standard 100
- California proposition 65
- Heavy metals test report
- Azo dyes test report
- Bill of substances
4. Fabric quality
In 2011, we were tasked with managing the product development process of a new polo shirt collection for a European brand. They’d already selected a new supplier in the southern Fujian province to manufacture their new designs.
It was a good supplier. Clean facility, long history, plenty of capital, modern machinery, and a strict quality management system.
The client received the samples and testing begins. A few weeks of usage and washing later, it was clear that the material quality was far below the client’s expectations. While they wanted to match brands like GANT and Ralph Lauren in terms of quality, this sample would go straight to an outlet.
Obviously, the client was upset about this, and we submitted a complaint to the supplier. They made another batch of samples. But the result was the same. This was when we realized that this may be a reliable supplier, yet unable to match our buyers quality requirements.
It turned out that they were indeed specialized in making low-cost apparel for discount markets, and good at it too.
Before you get started, you need to get your fabric specifications in order. Never assume that a Chinese clothing and textiles manufacturer is specialized in making items matching your quality requirements.
Source fabrics directly from material suppliers
One strategy that we have applied more often in recent years is to source two sets of suppliers:
- Supplier A: Apparel manufacturer
- Supplier B: Material supplier
Relying on the apparel manufacturer when it comes to selecting fabrics and other materials can be very time-consuming.
For example, it can be hard to communicate fabric quality requirements to a supplier, and it can take weeks or even months of emailing back and forth to get the correct fabric samples.
A better option, if you have specific fabric requirements, is to identify a fabric supplier and order samples directly from them. The fabrics supplier will then ship the materials to the apparel manufacturer in time for production.
5. BSCI and Sedex Audit Reports
BSCI and Sedex are membership organizations for manufacturers, performing regular social compliance audits in factories throughout the world. BSCI, for example, implements a protocol based on these core principles:
- The rights of freedom of association and collective bargaining
- Fair remuneration
- Occupational health and safety
- Special protection for young workers
- No bonded labor
- Ethical business behavior
- Decent working hours
- No child labor
- No precarious employment
- Protection of the environment
Apparel factories that already are BSCI or Sedex audited tend to be better managed than those that lack such audit reports. There are various reasons for this, but BSCI and Sedex (SMETA) audit reports are among the primary selection criteria we use when sourcing textiles factories in China, Vietnam, India, and other countries.
Where are most clothing manufacturers in China located?
Clothing manufacturers are not concentrated in a few clusters but spread out all over the country. That said, large garment manufacturing hubs are located in these provinces:
Can I buy wholesale clothing from a manufacturer?
Most clothing manufacturers only make products on-demand. As such, they don’t keep stock but only start production whenever an order comes in from a foreign or domestic buyer.
How much does it cost to manufacture clothes in China?
The unit cost depends on the material cost, colors, prints and labor cost (i.e. the time it takes to cut, sew and pack the product). There is no ‘standard’ pricing system in place for textiles. Take a t-shirt for example, which can be manufactured for less than $1 – or cost more than $20 – all depending on the material and other factors.
We often get requests to provide clothing price examples, but such data is meaningless without knowing the the actual specification of the product.
How can I get a price from a manufacturer?
You need to prepare a techpack before you can get a price from a manufacturer, you need to prepare a techpack.
Can I buy brand name clothing from China?
No, you cannot buy authentic brand name garments directly from Chinese manufacturers. Regardless of whether the brand in question does manufacture products in China, brand name goods are never ‘available’ for parallel importers.
How to Get Your Clothing Designs Made in China: 6 Steps
Once you’ve found a few clothing manufacturers, it’s time to see what they go for. In this part, you will learn how to create a techpack, order product samples and implement a quality assurance strategy.
1. Creating your Techpack
Clothing design drawings demonstrate the final product. It gives your supplier a solid design reference point when making appaerl samples.
The sewing pattern is a template for a certain part of the garment, such as sleeves and collars. It helps the supplier cut the fabric parts in the right shape, and according to the dimensions set in your size chart.
Bill of Materials (BoM)
The BoM is essentially a list of materials and components used to make a single unit. Further, you must also specify the quantity or amount of materials and components used.
Garment Bill of Materials Example
|Shirt, 1 pc||100% Cotton (180 gsm)||Color: Pantone 18-4247||shirt-design.pdf|
|Collar, 1 pc||100% Cotton (180 gsm)||White||shirt-design.pdf|
|Sleeves, 2 pc||100% Cotton (180 gsm)||Color: Pantone 18-4247||shirt-design.pdf|
|Buttons, 8 pcs||Shell Pearl||Natural white|
Diameter: 6 mm
|Care Label, 1 pc||100% Nylon||White||care-label.pdf|
A size chart details garment measurements and dimensions for each size (e.g. S, M, L, and XL). Each measurement is normally visually represented by a letter on the size chart. Notice that there is no universal apparel size system or even mandatory national standards.
That said, you can choose to base your size chart on one of the following ISO size standards:
ISO 3635: 1981, Size designation of clothes – Definitions and body measurement procedure
ISO 3636: 1977, Size designation of clothes – Men’s and boys outerwear garments
ISO 3637: 1977, Size designation of clothes – Women’s and girls outerwear garments
ISO 3638: 1977, Size designation of clothes – Infants garments
Another option is to base your size chart of that of another brand, such as Asos.com.
Size chart example
|a||Waist||(+/-) 10 mm||730 mm||830 mm||930 mm|
|b||Inseam||(+/-) 10 mm||810 mm||810 mm||810 mm|
|c||Front Rise||(+/-) 5 mm||200 mm||210 mm||220 mm|
|d||Length||(+/-) 5 mm||800 mm||810 mm||820 mm|
While the seam allowance must be clearly defined on the pattern, the size chart should specify the measurements of the final product.
Fabric cutting, sewing and pre-washing results in natural dimensional tolerances. That said, such differences must be contained within a clearly defined dimensional tolerance (i.e., +/- 5 mm) for each measurement in size table.
Can I tell my supplier to simply use standard sizes in my country?
No. There are no clearly defined ‘national size tables’. If you allow your supplier to take care of pattern grading and size measurements, you’ll most likely end up with pieces that are either too small or too big.
Logos, prints and embroidery
Printed logos, fabric prints, and embroideries must also be included in your techpack. In addition, you should also provide all necessary files to your suppliers in .ai (Adobe Illustrator) or .eps format.
Further, the supplier must also be instructed on the type of print, position, and color:
- Print position
- Printing technique
There are various types of textile printing techniques. Some of the most common follow below:
Screen printing is the most common textile printing type and can be used for both light and dark fabrics.
Digital textile printing (DTG)
An inkjet printer, with textile ink, is printing text or graphics directly on the fabric – based on a file uploaded to the connected computer. As such, you don’t need print tools, that can be relatively expensive – especially when you have many different prints.
Metal or wood blocks are cut to a certain pattern and then stamped on the fabric. This is a more traditional method but is still used for certain types of home textile prints, such as curtains.
Heat/thermal transfer printing
Heat transfer printing is a low-cost method that adds a layer to the fabric. This method is often used for printing numbers or text. The print may crack after washing several times.
Cotton is a plant fiber commonly used in all types of apparel and textiles. Cotton can be combined with synthetic fibers, such as polyester. Cotton fabric is breathable.
Polyester is a type of plastic, which fibers are also used to make fabrics. Polyester fabrics are generally cheap and durable and used for various types of apparel. Unlike cotton, polyester is not breathable. However, there are cotton and polyester blend fabrics.
Wool is a textile fiber obtained from animals, mostly sheep. Wool is generally more expensive than cotton. There are various types of wool, including cashmere and merino wool. Many suppliers sell ‘generic’ wool as cashmere and merino wool.
d. Bamboo Rayon
Bamboo fabrics are not purely made of bamboo fibers. Instead, bamboo fibers are melted and mixed with chemicals to produce bamboo rayon fabrics. Virtually all so called bamboo fabrics are bamboo rayon fabrics. Many workers are exposed to extremely dangerous chemicals and toxic fumes during the refining process. Carbon disulfide is one such substance, that causes heart attacks, blindness, and even psychosis.
Bamboo fabrics do have some benefits:
- Limited water usage
- No soil erosion (rather the opposite)
- No pesticides
Notice that most countries don’t allow that bamboo rayon is described or marketed as organic.
e. Organic Cotton
By definition, organic cotton is grown using methods that leaves a smaller environmental footprint on the environment. For example, organic cotton is only defined as such if the following criteria are met:
- No use of toxins
- No use of persistent pesticides (POP)
- No use of chemical fertilizers
- No use of GMO seeds
In the textile industry, organic cotton is the exception, not the rule. Further, the reduction of POP and chemical fertilizers reduces yields, and therefore results in higher prices.
Nylon is a durable polymer, that can also be used for textiles. Nylon can be blended with fibres or polymers such as cotton, polyester, and spandex.
Spandex (also known as Lycra and Estelan) is a synthetic fiber, with high elasticity. Spandex is often blended with cotton, or other fibers, and used in sportswear.
GOTS is the acronym for Global Organic Textile Standard, which is defined as follows:
1. Only fabrics that contain at least about 70% organic fibers can become GOTS certified
2. All chemicals such as dyestuffs and auxiliaries used must meet certain environmental and toxicological criteria
3. A functional wastewater treatment plant is mandatory for any wet-processing unit involved and all processors must comply with social criteria
A supplier can be GOTS certified if they pass a factory inspection performed by an accredited third party. There are only a handful of ‘GOTS accredited’ inspection companies with offices in China:
- CERES GmbH
- Control Union Certifications b.v.
- Ecocert Greenlife
b. OEKO Tex Standard 100
OEKO Tex Standard 100 is an international and independent testing and certification system for textiles. OEKO Tex Standard 100 ‘certified’ textiles meet various requirements, such as the following:
- Compliant with REACH (EU)
- Not containing Azo colorants, formaldehyde, pentachlorophenol, cadmium, nickel
- Compliant with US CPSC regulations
Fabrics are generally not defined by thickness, but by their weight, in terms of grams per square meter (gsm). Lighter fabrics are thinner, less durable and often cheaper than more heavy fabrics. A few examples follow below:
- Baby clothing: 120 – 140 gsm
- T-shirt fabric: 120 – 200 gsm
- Pique fabric: 200 – 240 gsm
- Hoodie fabric: 280 – 350 gsm
a. Fiber Composition
Some fabrics are made of a single fiber, such as 100% cotton. However, many fabrics are blended, consisting of two or more different fibers. A few examples follow below:
- 70% Cotton, 30% Polyester
- 95% Cotton, 5% Spandex
c. Color system
Fabrics can generally be dyed according to a Pantone color. It’s important that you always specify the correct Pantone code to your supplier. However, notice that ‘custom dyed fabrics’ (according to certain Pantone colors) often results in a higher MOQ, compared to if you buy fabric in one of the suppliers standard colors.
Garment labels are not optional but required by law. Importing products without a textile label, or without sufficient information, can be enough reason for the customs authorities to seize and destroy the products. As such, you must create the care label file as part of your tech pack, according to applicable labeling requirements in your country or market.
Notice that each country or market have their own labeling requirements. However, the following is generally required:
- Fiber composition (e.g, 95% Cotton, 2% Spandex)
- Care symbols or written care instructions
- Country of Origin
Note that additional labeling requirements may apply to babywear and children’s clothing.
How can I protect my clothing designs?
Clothing designs cannot be patented. At best, you can protect your brand name, logo and graphical artwork. That said, you cannot get a design patent for a generic garment design, even if it differs from what’s already on the market.
How do I protect my brand and logo?
You must register your brand and logo under a trademark in your country, and other target markets. You should also consider registering your trademark in China, as a way prevent ‘trademark squatters‘ to take it before you do.
Why can’t I buy ready-made apparel listed on Alibaba?
Chinese clothing factories rarely have standard designs, or even in-house designers, launching new collections. This is often confusing, as suppliers often list hundreds of ready-made designs on their Alibaba.com pages. What you normally see on Alibaba and other supplier directories can be categorized as following:
- Products made for other customers
- Photos are taken from a random website
- Concept design
That said, clothing manufacturers rarely have an archive of complete techpacks you can choose from. As such, you must still create a techpack prior to ordering product samples.
Can I send a reference sample instead?
Whenever possible, it’s recommended to provide reference garment samples to your factory. This method can greatly speed up the sampling process and prevent misunderstandings. That said, a physical reference sample alone cannot replace a techpack, as the latter is used in various stages of the process:
- Request for quotation (RFQ)
- Production manual
- Quality inspection
How do I select buttons, zippers, velcro and other components?
You must include all parts in the bill of materials. Further, you either provide images or a specific brand SKU (e.g. YKK 4EF)
How can I create a techpack if I have no design experience?
Perhaps you have a vision or concept but are not sure how to turn that into a workable pattern file. Rather than asking the factory for help, I recommend that you find a pattern maker on a freelancer website such as Upwork.com.
There are thousands of qualified pattern maker freelancers that can turn that vision into PDF pattern files that the factory can understand.
It’s not very expensive either, as most pattern makers charge less than $150 per pattern design – which generally include the following:
- Pattern file
- Logo files
- Size chart
- Material specification
2. Garment sample production
Once you have a complete techpack, it’s time to move on to sample production. The purpose of this stage is to both test the supplier, and confirm materials – assuming you have not already done so.
In my experience, roughly 50% of the suppliers fail to manufacture satisfying samples. They might lack the precision to get the seams the right way, provide low-quality fabrics or prove that they don’t have much care for detail.
As such, I recommend you to order clothing samples from at least two or three suppliers.
Garment sample limitations
The purpose of a garment sample is to test the supplier and confirm materials. That said, there are certain sampling limitations that you must be aware of:
1. The supplier can only use standard fabrics and colors, as you need to buy a certain volume before they can dye the fabric
2. Care labels are normally not included in the sampling process due to MOQ constraints
3. The supplier must also use standard thread colors, resulting in embroidery color deviations
4. Garment samples are always made using standard fabrics
How do I select fabrics and other materials?
Visiting a factory and selecting fabrics is the most effective method, as you can compare and feel hundreds of fabric samples. However, if you don’t have the budget or time to visit factories in China, you can also consider these options:
- Order fabric samples from your supplier
- Send a reference fabric to your supplier
How much do clothing samples cost?
Product samples naturally cost more than bulk production, on a per unit basis. Expect to pay somewhere between $50 to $150, depending on the complexity and material cost. Prints and embroideries also impact the clothing sample cost.
How long does the process normally take?
The first sample batch is normally delivered in 2 to 4 weeks. That said, it often takes two or more sample revisions before you can move forward and place an order.
How many samples should I order?
We recommend that your initial sample order only includes one or two sizes per garment SKU. Normally, clothing manufacturers only make one unit per size.
3. Create a Production Manual
Now that you have a set of half-decent product samples in your hand, it’s time to pull the trigger and place your first order. Whenever placing your very first order with a supplier, I strongly recommend you to keep the order volumes to a minimum.
However, before you wire the deposit payment, you need to prepare a production manual. This is a document listing all relevant requirements and order terms:
- Techpack attachment list
- Compliance requirements
- Shipping terms
- Export packaging
- Payment terms
- Quality control terms
- Lab testing terms
- Brand usage terms
The purpose of a production manual is to standardize the overall ordering process, which is why it covers everything from export packaging to payment terms.
The enforcement mechanism is based on a standard 30/70 payment plan. While you must pay the initial 30% deposit before production starts, the remaining 70% must be withheld until the following criteria are met:
- Quality inspection passed
- Fabric lab testing passed
You only maintain your leverage as long as the supplier has not been paid in full.
4. Book a Quality Inspection
Manufacturing is not a science. Quality issues are certain to occur, to a varying degree. While quality issues cannot be completely eliminated, but can be managed and reduced to a degree that it doesn’t affect your profit margins.
There are a number of defects that may occur when manufacturing clothing. Below follows a list of defects I’ve stumbled upon:
- Poor seams (e.g. not straight, loose threads)
- Skewed embroidery
- Incorrect dimensions
- Loose buttons and zippers
- Dust and dirt
Thus, a Quality Inspection must be performed in the factory, after production but before the balance payment
You cannot return defective units back to your Chinese factory, so you’ve only got one chance to ensure that the products match your techpack.
Creating a garment quality checklist
The quality inspection follows a clearly defined checklist, which can either be based on your own checklist – or a standard clothing and textiles checklist provided by the inspection agency. I strongly recommend that you first draft your own checklist, and request the inspection agency to add their own standardized tests. The checklist should include:
- Visual inspection
- Color comparison
- Export packaging
Booking a quality inspection online
Quality agencies such as Sofeast.com and Bureau Veritas make booking inspections online very easy. All you need to do is to create an account and provide the following:
- Tech pack
- Proforma Invoice
- Quality checklist
- Supplier name
- Supplier contact details (Name, email, and phone)
- Supplier address
Can all quality issues be discovered during an inspection?
Certain quality issues cannot be detected during a single factory inspection. For example, low quality fabrics may lose fitting, only after a few washes. This is why extensive sample testing, and actual usage, is critical before production begins.
How much should I expect to pay for a garment quality inspection in China?
The standard price is normally USD 300, per inspection. The number of inspections needed depend on the order volume. That said, one is normally sufficient if you order less than 3000 pcs per order.
What should I do if the quality inspection fails?
First, what you should absolutely not do is to pay the remaining 70% balance. Instead, you should give the supplier 1 or 2 weeks to correct the quality issues and book a follow-up inspection.
Which companies can help us with garment quality inspection services?
Here’s a list of companies offering garment quality inspection services in Mainland China:
- Sofeast limited
- Bureau Veritas InSpec
- Asia Quality Focus
5. Book material lab testing
While existing test reports can be used to assess if a supplier has the capability to manufacture or procure compliant fabrics, ‘old test reports’ cannot be applied to fresh batch of garments. The only way to be sure is by booking third party compliance testing.
Lab test options
You can either book a lab test to verify compliance with a certain regulation, or a standard. You can also book testing to only check whether the product contains specific substances, such as lead or formaldehyde.
- OEKO text standard 100
- California Proposition 65
- Heavy metals
Note that third-party lab testing is mandatory for most non-children’s garments. That said, it’s the only way to verify if the material is compliant, which comes in handy the day a retailer or government agency ask for a test report.
Preferably, the Quality inspector collects batch samples and submits them to the testing company. You should, to the extent possible, not allow the supplier to submit samples.
There is a risk that they will, for their own benefit, submit compliant samples (made specifically to pass lab testing) – while your products are non-compliant.
Furthermore, ensure that they affix the Booking ID / Sample ID on or inside the envelope. Otherwise, the testing company cannot identify the samples.
Lab test report
Once the test is performed, you will receive a test report telling you if the products passed or failed. This test report (PDF) can later be used to prove that your products are compliant with relevant safety standards and chemical regulations, such as REACH and CA Prop 65. Note that the customs authorities, other government agencies or Amazon may require that you provide a test report at some point.
How much do textiles lab tests cost?
The testing cost is based on the number of fabrics, colors, and tests. On average, our customers in the textiles industry pay between USD 400 to 800 to test up to 5 different fabrics.
Do I need to test every single order?
Our recommendation is to book lab testing when you place your first order with a supplier, or when you change materials. Ultimately, it comes down to cost of compliance versus risk.
Which companies can help us with garment testing services?
Here’s a list of companies offering textiles testing services in Mainland China:
- Bureau Veritas
6. Shipping garments from China
Once the products have passed both the quality inspection and the lab testing, it’s time to wrap everything up. First, however, you need to wire the remaining balance payment of 70% to the supplier’s bank account.
Balance payment checklist
1. Don’t send the payment until all quality issues are resolved. Once paid in full, the supplier can’t be made to remake defective or damaged items.
2. Make sure you pay the right bank account, as explained at the beginning of this chapter.
3. Send a payment record to the supplier as soon as you’ve wired the funds.
I recommend that you book shipping through a platform such as Flexport.com. That way, you can keep track of the full door-to-door shipping cost and make sure that your cargo is insured. I strongly recommend that you don’t let your supplier take care of the shipping process, even though it may seem like the easiest alternative.
Airfreight or sea freight?
Airfreight is both faster and more cost-effective for smaller shipments. As a rule of thumb, I recommend air freight if the total cargo weight is less than 150 kgs. However, that is rarely the case when it comes to textiles. As such, sea freight or normally the best option when shipping clothing or other textiles from China.
Transportation damages, such as broken cartons or mold-covered items, are common. If your goods arrived damaged, you can only receive compensation if you bought shipping insurance before the goods depart from the country of origin. Shipping insurance is not included by default, so you must specifically instruct your forwarder that the shipment should be insured – from the moment they collect the cargo at the factory, to the final delivery.
The insurance cost is calculated based on the cargo value, normally between $50 to $150. Whatever you do, make sure that you got insurance. That said, shipping insurance doesn’t cover the following:
- Quality issues caused by the supplier
- Lost sales caused delays
- The shipping cost
Incoterms specify how and when the cargo is transferred from the seller to the buyer. I recommend that you buy according to FOB terms while booking a DAP shipment directly from the forwarder. Do not buy according to EXW terms, and do not book shipping according to CIF terms.
Many manufacturers use cheap and substandard export packaging, which often results in severe cargo damage during transportation. Hence, you must provide explicit instructions for how the cargo should be packed.
- Inner cartons: 3 layers or 5 layers
- Outer cartons: 5 layers, wrapped in plastic sheets and strapped to the pallets (if any)
- ISPM 15 Pallets: May be required (if heavy cargo that cannot be manually unloaded)
- Styrofoam frame: May be required
- Plastic cover on all cartons (prevents mold)
Below follows a summary of the door to door shipping process:
1. The supplier receives the balance payment
2. The products are packed and loaded on pallets
3. The freight forwarder sends a truck to the factory to pick up the cargo
4. The cargo is transported to the port of loading (e.g , Hong Kong). The forwarder shoudl confirm the final cost, based on the actual weight and volume.
5. Pay the shipping cost directly to the forwarder
6. The cargo is loaded on the vessel and shipped to the final destination
7. The cargo arrives at the port of destination and is cleared through customs
8. The forwarder transports the cargo from the port of destination to your address
Textiles import licenses
You normally don’t need an import license or permit when buying clothing and textile products. However, the customs may ask you to provide a Country of Origin Certificate. This can be issued by your supplier or freight forwarder.
What are some alternatives to China for clothing manufacturing in Asia?
While China remains the world’s largest textiles exporter, the industry is not confined to one single country. There are thousands of garment factories in other Asian countries, primarily in Vietnam, India, and Bangladesh. In the last year, we’ve listed a few of them:
- Clothing & Textiles Manufacturers in Bangladesh
- Clothing & Textiles Manufacturers in Cambodia
- Clothing & Textiles Manufacturers in Vietnam
- List of Clothing Manufacturers in India
- List of Clothing & Textiles Manufacturers in Malaysia
- List of Clothing & Textiles Manufacturers in the Philippines
- List of Clothing & Textiles Manufacturers in Indonesia
- List of Clothing Manufacturers in Thailand
That said, Chinese textile factories tend to offer lower MOQs than those in neighboring countries. In addition, they also tend to be a bit more open to working with new and smaller brands without a track record.
List of Clothing Manufacturers in China
Yotex apparel is a sportswear manufacturer based in Shanghai, China, providing ODM & OEM one-stop full package service for the US, Canadian and European market since 2015. Some of their products include seamless leggings, Bikinis, swimsuit, and sweatshirt, etc..
YOTEX is a combination of two founders – Yova and Terry, “X” means a lot of other stakeholders and partners such as university professors, textile quality experts, and overseas partners, etc. Terry, one of the founders of YOTEX, originated from Fashion design engineers who specialize in garment quality inspection for many years among Shenzhen, Fujian and Shanghai area.
For importers, any ready-made sportswear and activewear clothes can be found in YOTEX. They provide apparel to schools, sporting events, club meetings, etc.. They also accept custom design requests with their silk-screen printing, DTG, heat seal printing technology.
- Running shorts
- Biker shorts
- Waterproof pants
- Location: Jiading, Shanghai
- Certificates: Not mentioned
- Year of registration: 2015
Zhongshan ARLISMAN Garment Factory
ARLISMAN was founded in 1999 as a typical garment factory for clothing customization, garment processing, and mapping services. Lin Guoli, the founder of ARLISMAN, entered into the garment industry in 1988 till now.
With 20 years of development, ARLISMAN has started cooperation with other international brands such as US.POLO,H&M,BHS etc. The main product of ARLISMAN included Men’s t-shirts, Polo shirts, Knit sweater, and Jeans, etc.
ARLISMAN provides a full range of services from design to shipment. During the whole process, they have standardized supervision and management for the quality of products. In recent years, they also established their own brands like AVANZAR and ARLISMAN to improve the ability and service level of processing.
On the other hand, you can find the blog on their website. Industry-related articles published from time to time. For example, “How to choose the right technology to customize your clothing logo”, and “how to select fabric for customized T-shirts”.
- Knit sweaters
- Knit scarves
Location: Zhongshan, Guangdong
Certificates: Not mentioned
Year of registration: 1999
D&J Garment Co., Ltd.
D&J Garment was established in 1995 as a Women’s Garment Manufacturer in Guangzhou. Over 20 years of experience focusing on high and medium quality fashion brands, D&J had been working with brands and clients from Europe or North America, for example, TOBI, QUIZ, FORMAT, and DABUWAWA, etc.
The location of D&J is close to the biggest fabric market in China – ZhongDa Fabric Market, which gives them the advantages to source some hot trending fabrics and accessories to create new fashion styles. This advantage also gives D&J the capability to make samples to their clients in a short time to adopt fast fashion changes.
The material D&J mainly used are cotton, polyester, nylon, spandex, viscose, etc. They have a modern manufacturing process and quality control system for their every product. D&J also offers 300 pieces per min order, 7 days for the garment samples and 3 weeks for bulk production.
- Jackets & Coats
- Knitwear & Cardigan
- Playsuits & Jumpsuits
- Location: Guangzhou, Guangdong
- Certificates: ISO 9001
- Year of registration: Not mentioned
Huaxiang is primarily a knitwear production house with almost 2000 employees in factories based in China & Bangladesh. Back in 1991, it was all started in a local market in Shanghai. Mao Ping Hua, the founder of Huaxiang, sewed woolen sweaters and sold them in the market. It was successful and Mao bought more sewing machine and started the company in the same year.
HTX is a subsidiary of Shanghai Huaxiang Woolen Co., a wool and knitwear clothing manufacturer. With 26 years of experience in the fashion industry, they have been working with many international brands, for example, H&M, Victoria’s Secret, Coach, and Burberry, etc.
On their website, you can find many articles regarding the fashion industry. They have provided guidelines for people who want to start their own fashion brand. For example, how to market your fashion brand and the systems of wool manufacturing.
Unlike other factories, they do not have a minimum order quantity for orders. As they tend to learn more about your brand and work out a reasonable solution that will work. And this strategy has helped many small businesses to grow.
- Location: Pudong, Shanghai
- Certificates: Not mentioned
- Year of registration: 1991
Shenzhen Doven Garments Co., Ltd.
Doven was established in 2013 as a supplier listed on Alibaba.com. They mainly manufacture functional clothing, sportswear to promotional clothes including T-shirt, polo-shirt, jacket, and shorts, etc.
During the six years of development, they have attended different exhibitions such as Asia World-Expo exhibition and obtained different certifications such as OEKO-TEX, ISO9001, and BSCI.
Both OEM/ODM orders are welcomed in Doven, especially for the promotional event, supermarket, company work clothes, and school uniforms. Their products have also been exported to Europe, Australia, North America all around the world.
As a 4 year Gold supplier on Alibaba, Doven also keeps their typical turnaround time on 30 days in order to improve productivity. They offer a full line of apparel that they can customize to fit your needs.
- Yoga wear
- Location: Shenzhen, Guangdong
- Certificates: BSCI, Oeko-Tex standard 100, REACH test report
- Year of registration: 2013
Shenzhen Global Weiye Clothing Co., Ltd
Weiye is a manufacturer specializing in T-shirt, Polo shirt, Vest, Football wear, Hoodies, Sportswear, babies’ and Children’s garments, etc. since 1998. For people who are looking for one-stop service, they operate the whole process from design, weaving, dyeing, printing, sewing, packaging to shipping.
You can also find a lot of videos on Weiye’s website. They upload videos about the procedures of the production. For example, how weave machines or dying machines works, and how to fastness the material. This could be interesting to know every procedure when you order from Weiye.
Weiye can provide the certificate of ISO9001, BSCI, Oeko Tex 100, SGS and other test reports. All of the products meet Europe and the United States standard. In fact, some of Weiye’s long term customers include Coca Cola, Pepsi, Nestle, Gap, Walmart, etc. Here notice that they work on OEM orders only, and they do not have stock products for sale.
- Polo shirt
- Baby clothes
- Location: Shenzhen, Guangdong
- Certificates: ISO9001, BSCI, OEKO Tex Standard 100, and other test reports
- Year of registration: 1998
Wuxi Kuanyang Textile Technology Co., Ltd.
Kuanyang is a textile product venture, which specializes in transfer printing and printing materials since 1995. They have been working with China’s largest printing ink producer Wuxi Hongbao special Dyeing and Printing Ink Co., Ltd., and they have been providing the one-stop services for customers from design to shipping.
Kuanyang focuses on the environment-friendly and toxin-free printing ink. The ink has passed the test of quality authoritative organizations such as ITS, SGS and Oeko-Tex. Their main products including textile fabric and transfer printing, such as curtain, shopping bags, cosmetic bags, luggage and so on.
For partnership, they have been working with some international brands such as Envy, Coach, Adidas, and Billabong, etc. The market covers Southeast Asia, Europe, and North America and more.
Kuanyang also emphasized the impact on the environment during the manufacturing process. You can find some reports on their website regarding environment protection. Also, They announced some data of wastes in order to monitor and reduce the impact on the environment.
- Swimwear fabric
- Sport fabric
- Towel fabric
- Softshell fabric
- Location: Wuxi, Jiangsu
- Certificates: ITS, SGS, Oeko-Tex standard 100
- Year of registration: 1995
Jinjiang Changda Garment Co., Ltd.
Changda was established as an OEM/ODM supplier of casual wear, sportswear and children’s wear since 2005. Changda is located in Jinjiang city, Fujian province with factory size over 10,000 square meters.
Chanda’s product has been exported to Italy, Spain, the US, Germany, France, and Australia. In order to comply with different standards from different countries, their raw materials and products were sent to SGS, ITS, and STR for third-party inspections.
While their main product is sportswear, you can find a variety of sportswear on their Alibaba website. For example, Basketball, soccer, volleyball, Yoga and racket sport. The minimum order varies, however, most of their products are limited to 10 pieces only, which is good for sports game order. More importantly, they have products in stock for sale if you do not need any custom design. Therefore it can shorten the time to get your product delivered.
- Yoga wear
- Running wear
- Sport Jacket
- Location: Jinjiang, Fujian
- Certificates: BSCI, ISO9001
- Year of registration: 2005
Hemp Fortex was founded in 1999, focus on eco-friendly and sustainable textile production. They have a unique position as a vertically integrated manufacturer. Hemp Fortex source the fibers and spin the yarn, knit and weave fabrics in fashion product.
Hemp Fortex mostly works only with its own manufacturing facilities or other audited facilities to maintain their standards. For example, they use only EU approved dyes and chemicals in their dyeing and finishing. They have their own knitting facilities, weaving facilities and garment lines for their product.
You can find a few garment products on their website, however, they focus on selling material such as Pure Hemp, Organic cotton, Yarn, Recycled material for customers. Also, notice that Hemp Fortex does not offer custom fabrics for new customers. They work with many international brands such as Patagonia, prAna, Kathmandu, Outerknown, etc.
- Organic Cotton
- Organic recycled blend
- Organic linen
- Location: Qingdao, Shandong
- Certificates: Not mentioned
- Year of registration: 1999
H&Fourwing has been a women’s clothing manufacturer since 1998. They have been supplying mainstream high-end fashion brands for years. They offer style research, design, fabric sourcing, and manufacturing process for customers. The main product of HFW included Women’s dresses, tops, blouses, and shorts, etc.
The factory has passed a couple of third party audits such as BSCI, SGS, BV, ITS. In fact, the QC team leader of HFW is from SGS, and they also offer an inspection report before shipping. For better quality control, they also provide full inspection from in-line to off-line, which includes fabric tests like colorfastness and fabric shrinkage.
HFW is an OEM supplier but they also deal with ODM production. They do not have a large amount of stock for sale, however, small units are still acceptable. Also for customers who are still struggling with the design, HFW offers a team of designers to help you develop your product.
- Location: Ningbo, Zhejiang
- Certificates: BSCI, SGS, BV and ITS issued test reports
- Year of registration: 1998
Clothing Regulations Overview
Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA)
All children’s products, defined as ‘products intended for children aged 12 years or below, must comply with CPSIA. This also includes children’s clothing. The consumer product safety law regulates various aspects of products, including substance restrictions, physical properties and labeling requirements.
Compliance testing is mandatory, and importers are also required to issue a Children’s Product Certificate.
Federal Hazardous Substances Act (FHSA)
FHSA requires products containing certain substances to carry warning labels. One such substance is Formaldehyde, a chemical (sometimes) used for fabric treatment. The scope of FHSA also covers other substances, some of which may be used during fabric production.
Flammable Fabrics Act (FFA)
The Flammable Fabrics Act regulates flammable fabrics for apparel, furniture and other products. Products and fabrics within its scope may require compliance testing with an appropriate flammability standard.
California Proposition 65
CA Prop 65 restricts more than 800 substances in consumer products. That said, compliance is only mandatory for companies based in, or selling to customers in, California.
In the United States, labeling requirements are often as comprehensive as product safety regulations. While CPSIA and CA Prop 65 has their own respective set of labelling requirements, the following applies to apparel as a whole:
- Country of Origin (e.g. Made in China)
- Fiber content (e.g. 100% cotton)
- Care labels (ASTM D5489).
- Importer or manufacturer identity
REACH restricts substances in all consumer products sold in the European Union, including textiles and apparel for all age groups. To ensure compliance, a product must not contain SVHC (Substance of Very High Concern) above the set limit. As an importer, you don’t need to keep track of every single SVHC that your product may contain.
Instead, compliance testing companies, such as Intertek and QIMA, know what to check for.
Worth noting is that third party testing is not mandatory, at least not yet. However, many small business owners remain unaware of the fact that consumers in the EU may require a seller to present compliance documents (e.g. a test report) without any specific reason.
If such a request is made, the seller then has 45 days to present the relevant documents. This certainly puts a lot of pressure on EU based importers to verify the compliance of their produce early in the process.
Ensuring compliance is not free, but the implementation of EU wide substance restrictions offers at least one benefit: REACH compliance is far more common among Chinese apparel manufacturers, as compared to regulations in other countries. In fact, we often use REACH compliance as a benchmark when selecting manufacturers for buyers in other markets, including the United States.
A supplier that is able to ensure REACH compliance is, in most cases, able to ensure compliance with FHSA and California Proposition 65.
The European Union textiles labeling regulations apply to products containing at least 80 % by weight of textile fibers, and “products treated in the same way as textile products”. If your company is based anywhere in the EU, you must ensure compliance with the following textiles labeling requirements:
- Fiber composition (e.g. 100% cotton)
- Language: EU member state language
As of today, there is no mandatory sizing system in the EU. However, importers are recommended to apply one of the following: EN 13402-1:2001, EN 13402-2:2002 and EN 13402-3:2004. Unlike the United States, there are no mandatory care label symbols in the EU. However, importers are advised to apply standard ISO labels.
Ready to to launch your own textile product?
It can be hard to go from a design drawing to finished product. To help you manage the entire process – from creating a specification to sampling and quality control – we created a Starter Package for clothing:
a. Clothing Manufacturer Lists
b. Product Specification Templates
c. Clothing Label Samples
d. Tutorials, Video Walkthroughs and Task Lists that guide you step-by-step through the entire process
In addition, you can also book quality inspections, lab testing and shipping directly from the platform. Click here to learn more.