Blanks vs Cut-and-Sew | Benefits of Choosing Blanks
What are Blanks?
Historically, “fashion” was not available to the mainstream. It was reserved only for the elite, and everything was made custom, and by hand. At the turn of the century, when innovation and machinery changed the landscape of apparel production, ready-to-wear products were able to be more accessible to the public. Once apparel was able to produce en masse, t-shirts quickly became the most demanded style.
The rise of streetwear in the late 80s and early 90s created a demand for customizable products for underground audiences. Streetwear brands and personalities customized blank t-shirts to use as identifiers. Today, blank apparel comes in many different shapes and sizes. Blank garments are identifiable and made to be customized. The whole point of blanks is that they are identical and can be bought in large quantities.
Blanks are plain garments that are made to be printed and customized. They are usually sold in large quantities for brands to sell to their customers. Blanks are usually kept in stock and readily available to be selected by the brands in need. They offer a variety of different styles that fit companies with a specific customer base. From tote bags to streetwear, there are many different options to choose from. Blank apparel is a staple in the design world. Many companies rely on them and utilize the ease and convenience of blanks suppliers to build their own companies.
What is Cut-and-Sew?
The alternative to blanks is a process referred to as “Cut and Sew”. This is when the company itself creates their own custom garment and all specifications are designed and sourced by the company. Because cut and sew apparel production starts from scratch, this process has longer lead times to source fabric, make the patterns, and approve the samples. By the time the goods are delivered, it can be well over a year since the order was placed and the styles were approved. With how quickly trends and consumer preferences change, cut and sew can be a huge financial investment and commitment for a brand.
Not all Blanks are Created Equal
Many brands choose to use blanks simply because of its convenience. An often-overlooked factor when sourcing blank apparel is the quality; when a customer receives the final product, the quality will be forever inherent to the brand they purchased it from. The quality of your brand will be associated with the blank apparel you choose to sell. If you go for a cheap blank then your product is cheap because that in and of itself is from the customer’s perspective, your product. This is when your branding stance matters because you have to pick what you want to be seen as. If you want to be seen as a sustainable brand or eco-friendly brand then the blank you choose must also embody those principles. The same applies if you want to be seen as a high-end brand. So once you decide your own stance you can start sorting through the different blanks available. To brand yourself as sustainable you must look for the right certifications and an ethical supply chain.
Benefits of Buying Blanks
Saves Time and Money
The main reason people steer towards blanks is that it saves so much time and money. Custom production can take up to a year to see a real product. It also requires a substantial investment to be able to begin sampling and sourcing. If a brand is simply looking to offer garments such as hoodies, t-shirts, pants, etc it is much easier to use a wholesale blanks company that has gone through this extensive process and can specialize in those garments. You can choose certain specialties such as eco-friendly/sustainable blanks, high-end blanks, etc, and start your brand with those specialities as your base garment.
No MOQ Requirement
A very common phrase in apparel production is the term MOQ which stands for Minimum Ordering Quantity. In other words, MOQ stands for the minimum amount required to purchase. Original Favorites does not have any MOQs. Many factories have high MOQs that must be met before even starting production. This can lead to an overcommitment of inventory and capital. The factories require this as they operate best at high-volume orders. So, having a reliable blanks company be able to front that inventory and capital so that individual brands can have freedom of specific product quantities. This allows for more types of garments a brand can offer their customers.
Adaptable Styles and Colors
Brands choose to use blanks because of the ability to offer seasonal products and adjust to an ever-changing customer base. This allows a brand to be able to adapt to seasonal styles and/or colors. Customers love seeing different variations become available. It keeps a brand fresh and prevents it from getting ‘stale’ to its customers. Brands can utilize this convenience by using blanks and select samples to try and really figure out what fits their brand the best. For example, if it's approaching fall and you want your winter line to be ready you can sample different wholesale sweatshirts to really pick the one your brand would most identify with.
As stated above, a brand that chooses to use blanks has the freedom to sample different style variations. Once a company has sourced a product they like, it can turn into a trusting relationship. Honing in on one to a few blanks company can also save you time when you are looking because you won’t have to exhaust your time researching different factors like lead times, certifications, and quality.
Which Production Style is Best?
If you are looking to position your brand through quality and use reliable, classic pieces then blanks would save you a ton of time and money with the assurance that there are enough blanks options to satisfy what you would like in a base garment. However, if the goal of your brand is to offer a completely unique garment then a cut-and-sew approach would do you well as you would have complete control over every detail of the garment and create your own.