Serving Bel Air, Benedict Canyon, Beverly Hills. Brentwood, Laurel Canyon, Los Feliz, Malibu, Pacific Palisades, Melrose, Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Topanga, Canyon, Westwood & Hollywood Hills.



facebook Canyon News twitter Canyon News

Canyon News

Bel Air News

Beverly Hills News

Brentwood News

Hollywood Hills News

Laurel Canyon News

Los Angeles News

Los Feliz News

Malibu News

Melrose News

Pacific Palisades News

Santa Monica News

Sherman Oaks News

Studio City News

Topanga Canyon News

West Hollywood News

Westwood News

Woodland Hills

Celebrity News

State News

National News

World Headlines

Deaf News





On the Industry

Star Gazing

St. John's Confidential File

Theatrical Musings

Life & Style

Event Listings

Tech Talk

Looking Good For Lots Less

Spirit & Creativity

Miller Time


View from the Hill


Chrystal's Recipe Corner

Career and Life Coaching

Gardening With Tony

Life According To Lenson

Real Estate Realities



Marathon Running

Keeping It Bruin: A Look Into UCLA Athletics






Vi's Corner

Pet Tips

Point of View

John Armor

Message to America

Critic At Large... Ruta Lee

Labor Week


10 Degrees Cooler

McConnors corner

Edge of the west

The Physics Wizard


Kyle's Kars


Susan Michelle's Compass


Ask Deanna

Dear Lily

Ask Oona


Dancing with Earthquakes


Sports Schedules

Traveling Beyond the Canyon

Edge of the West

Law Man

Ask Us

Nathan Tabor

The Angry Economist

Truth Probe

As I See It


Truth Conquers

The Live Wire

Notes from Exile

Letters to the Editor

Dog Training by Anthony

Canyon Mews



America's Most Wanted Dogs

World Recipes

Vegetarian Lifestyle


News Briefs

Local News



Canyon Fodder

Bad Movie Night

Critical Projection

Ed's on the Town

Fitness Quests

Flashback Films

Stories of the Strange

Gourmet Grandma

He Said/She Said

Home Matters with Yvonne

L.A. Etch-a-Sketch

L.A. Ruminations

McConnor's Corner

Mommy Minute

Musically Speaking

My Back Pages

Publisher's Pages


Scene and Heard in L.A.

Silly...But Wise!

Sunset Diaries

Table Options

The Paws Cause

TV Stuff

Cartoon of the Week

Looking Good For Lots Less

The Business Of Clothing: Part I
Posted by James F. Brown on Apr 18, 2009 - 4:31:07 PM


— Dress Like A Fortune 500 CEO On A Mailroom Budget!


Clothing is an enormous business that’s global in scope and generates billions in revenues for design houses, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers. Although, like any commercial enterprise, it has ups and downs, attire will always be an inexhaustible market because everybody needs clothing.  Clothes are consumables; they wear out and must be replaced. Plus, as kids grow and adults enlarge or shrink, they must purchase new sizes. Knowing a bit about the business of clothing confers power and can help consumers buy smart, buy right, and buy cheap. In this column and ones that follow, we’ll explore how this vital business operates.



The first step in the clothing business is the design phase. Before any item of attire is made, it’s necessary to have a blueprint, a road map, a concept of what that item is and how it will be made. A clothing designer initially sketches out his or her idea on paper. It can be well developed and standardized, with a long history such as t-shirts, jeans, socks, underwear, and outerwear. It can be traditional such as suits, sport coats, and dress pants and shirts. Or it can be something fresh for a new fashion season such as skirts, blouses, dresses, and accessories.


After the sketch, a pattern is developed for cutting fabric and assembling the pieces into the item. Fabric content, weave, weight, colors, and patterns are decided. Clothing sizes are also an important factor in pattern making. Prototypes are made and fine tuned for sizing, durability, and fit.


All of these hand-made prototypes are gathered together by the design house and modeled in runway shows and buyer fairs. These venues take place nine months or more prior to when the clothes will be offered to the public. Buyers from major department stores, boutiques, specialty shops, and other retailers place orders for the clothes they select. Large department stores and clothing chains may also place orders for their house labels, acting as their own design house. These orders state how many items of attire will be purchased, what colors, styles, and how many of each size will be delivered to the retailer.


The next step is manufacturing. Design houses and labels are in the business of designing, specifying, and marketing their wares. They are NOT in the business of actually making clothes. With few exceptions (Levi Strauss is one), manufacturing is contracted out to jobbers. Most of these are in Third World countries (such as China) where labor costs are low. One exception is Peerless Clothing in Montreal, the largest clothing manufacturer in North America. They make clothes for many designers, including Ralph Lauren, CHAPS, Calvin Klein, DKNY, IZOD, Michael Kors, Sean John, Joseph Abbod, and FUBU. If an item of attire says “Made in Canada,” it probably came from Peerless.

We’ll continue with more about the manufacturing process in the next column.


James F. Brown is a business consultant and expert on professional attire.


Cliffside Malibu




Serving Bel Air, Benedict Canyon, Beverly Hills. Brentwood, Laurel Canyon, Los Feliz, Malibu, Pacific Palisades, Melrose, Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Topanga, Canyon, Westwood & Hollywood Hills.