Why Can't I Buy Fabrics from Mood?


Inspirational Display at the 2016 L.A. Textile Show (Fall/Winter 2017).


I cannot tell you how many times I get asked:


"Do you buy fabrics from Mood? Have you been to this one fabric store called (insert name)? They have some awesome stuff."

"Oh, can you make me a dress with this fabric for a party this weekend?"


Let's address just the first question — 


Like every other industry, the fashion industry has trade shows too. For fabrics, there are textile trade shows where fabric wholesale vendors display thousands and thousands of fabric samples they are selling or producing for next year.


I just got back from the L.A. Textile show, which is showing fabrics for Fall/Winter 2017. They show it almost a year out because it takes about 9 month for companies to go from designing concepts, sourcing fabrics, prototyping, fitting, and showing prototypes to retail buyers, buyers placing order at clothing trade shows, fashion companies producing clothes per orders, shipping them to the store to displaying them at physical or online stores. All before end consumers can order them. 

Fabric Samples Displayed by Some of the Show Exhibitors

So Why Can't I Just Buy Fabrics from Mood?


Project Runway has made Mood famous. It also makes people think that fashion designers can just go to a fabric store, buy some fabrics, make some clothes, and sell them. It seems very straightforward and logical.

Because my customers are smart and informative people, I feel that it is my responsibility to share with them the insider details on why I cannot just buy fabrics from Mood.


Yes, I can definitely buy fabrics from Mood (or other fabric stores), but only if I am making a one-of-a-kind piece or very limited number of pieces.


What most people don't know or think about are the risks involved in sourcing fabrics from a fabric store from a business stand point. When I buy fabrics from a fabric retail like Mood:


  • I have to pay sales tax. That means I either have to pass the extra cost of sales tax to you, end customer, or make less by absorbing the tax.


  • I run the risk of may getting the identical fabrics I have once bought and made prototypes out of. So if you happen to order for my design and I need to make more, I run the risk of not having that fabric anymore for you anymore.


  • Yes, I can always find alternative fabrics. But that alternative fabric may behave differently (more or less stretchy, different print size, different thickness, etc.). So the garment made end up not fitting you the same way.


  • My customer may return and complain about how the sizing is off. I lose money from the fabrics, the labor and time in making the garment, shipping and handling, packaging.


These are just the some of the steps involved. If you are interested in knowing more about process of making a garment, Alexandrea Anissa shares a quick read on her process of making one bra in her "Free Bras for Everyone!" post. It's a quick read and she makes it fun to read.  



Posted on 30 September 2016


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