Shirts are sourced and sewn all over the world. The US is one of the leading producers of cotton. However, the largest producers are China and India who together produce 31% of the world’s fiber. In total more than 100 countries produce cotton worldwide.
The sewing or construction of garments vary depending on the brand. The largest apparel companies primarily sew offshores while recently many US companies have moved sewing back, mostly in California. This is great news as many companies are moving toward fair wage apparel creation. Allmade apparel and Bella + Canvas are leading the charge.
Unfortunately, underpaid production and slave labor is still very common in countries outside the US. (This is why we recommend choosing a US company for your apparel sourcing!) Many textile companies in Haiti pay their workers less than $3 US dollars per day. It is important for you to research who is making your apparel and what life is like for them, so you can help provide a positive impact in the world. There are several very ethical companies to choose from to help make the world better for everyone!
There are many great blank shirt brands out there. Just beware the not so good brands out there that aren’t helping people.
One of the most common requests we get is “I want a good quality t-shirt that is not too expensive”. Unfortunately like most things in life, you get what you pay for. We have some options to recommend that will offer a decent quality that are affordable and some brands that are premium quality that will cost a little extra.
The first step in apparel sourcing is how the blank tee fits. Depending on your customer base or demographic, the way the shirt fits should dramatically influence your choice of brand. You want people to actually wear your shirt right?
It’s important to gauge the consumers wants and needs and use that knowledge the right way. The easiest way to break this down is by interest and age group. The most commonly sold shirts for a younger demographic – 35 and younger is the fashion cut blank. Most traditional and old school brands such as Gildan, Hanes and Fruit of the Loom are going to have a more standardized fit that’s a bit wider and more boxy. These brands are also typically made out of a cheaper material or carded cotton which is a bit rougher than an ultrasoft fashion blank. Again, it’s super important to know your customer and understand their wants and needs to source the proper brand.
Commonly used fashion blanks include Bella + Canvas, Next Level Apparel, Alstyle Apparel, Ei-lo and many others. We understand pricing can be one of the most important factors. Just remember that it’s important to understand what brands you work with and why the prices cost what they do.
Knowing what and who comes at the cost of cheap is very important. There are still many brands that are mass producing apparel and not providing a living wage to the ones making it. There are also horrible consequences to the environment when mass amounts of cotton are produced due to the water consumption and pesticide usage.
It take over 500 gallons of water to produce just one conventional cotton shirt. Over ⅓ of the garment weight is the amount of chemicals used to treat the cotton. If the environment is important to you then there are some great sustainable and eco friendly options out there.
Our favorite brand for sourcing apparel is Allmade. Allmade is a brand driven by quality and fueled from integrity. The shirts are made from organic cotton, recycled plastic and modal which is a cleaner alternative to rayon. All of the the materials are sourced, grown and dyed in the US and the fabric is sewn in Haiti providing 3 to 5X the countries minimum wage. This is a great alternative to conscious apparel sourcing and an important move to break the cycle of unethical apparel manufacturing. Certainly a product you can feel good about. To learn more about this visit our page on Allmade Apparel or The Allmade Website
There are several places where you can purchase wholesale or bulk rate T-shirts. Most apparel distribution companies allow you to set up a wholesale account if you are a legitimate business in the apparel market. The first step is to provide your resale or tax ID number and follow the proper steps outlined by each company.
Garment wholesalers will offer you wholesale rates once you are an approved vendor (saving you $$$). However, typically your rates are determined by the volume that you order. Historically vendors would offer you a discount rate specific to each order vs overall volume. This system would have 3 different tiers. Piece, Dozen and Case (72 units) these would based on an order to order basis and are per garment style, size and color. This model has been replaced by most companies and instead they have a formula base on historical ordering volumes to determine your pricing.
Since most startup clothing brands do not yet order large volumes, its common to use your screen printer to order the goods for you.
Most of the time they are able to offer you the same rate as going direct to the supplier. This is especially true for larger companies who regularly order tens or hundreds of thousands of blank garments per year.
Still, it is important to be honest and transparent with your printer about the prices you are currently offered. That way you both can make the decision as to whether or not they order the goods or you send them direct. Either way it should be a mutual decision from both parties. There are some circumstances where a printer will not offer to work with you unless they supply the blanks. This is usually because their print pricing is low and money is made off of the sale of the blank vs the production.
Currently, Allmade is only available through a few print shops including Superior Ink! Check out Allmade here.