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Essential Fashion Industry Terms

Are you thinking about embarking into the fashion world, but not really sure of the lingo being spoken. Don't worry I got your back and the terms to make you sound like a pro. Below are a few terms to have you sounding like a pro in no time. So you can feel confident in growing your clothing line. That way the next time someone asks you about your weave, you wont think they are talking about hair!




1. A decorative item that supplements one's outfit. 2. Articles such as jewelry, scarves, hats, handbags, and shoes to complete a look.

Active Wear

Refers to any type of clothing that is designed to be worn during an active sport.


A dress or skirt silhouette that is narrower at the top, flaring gently out to make an ‘A’ shape silhouette. Flattering on most figures but in particular pear shapes.


Is a garment in which one side is longer than the other. Asymmetric cuts are common in necklines, collars and hems.


A private workshop or studio where designers, seamstresses and assistants work to create garments and other fashion items.


Big four

The four fashion weeks – New York, London, Milan and Paris – are known as the big four. The big four are the most notable among fashion weeks to set major fashion trends, usually consist of the most number of fashion shows and some of the most popular fashion


A merchandising executive responsible for planning, buying, and selling merchandise.


Casual wear

A type of clothing or accessory that is worn during daytime or a casual occasion. Casual wear includes jeans, light-weight fabrics, tee-shirts, etc.

Color forecasting

The process of predicting what colors will be popular in fashion in the coming season(s) through thorough analysis of fashion weeks, historical data, industry trends, etc. is called color forecasting.


The French word for dressmaking. A collection of clothing that is completely hand-sewn and uses high-quality sewing techniques, exquisite fabrics and unique designs is called couture. Typically used by high fashion houses to describe their collections presented twice a year – Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter on the runway, consisting of formal, evening and wedding wear.


A group of garments designed for a specific season. (Fall/Winter, Spring/Summer, Resort, etc.)


A textile producer that buys greige goods from mills and dyes, prints, and finishes it before selling it to a manufacturer.


Means “sketch” in French. Croquis is a quick sketch of a fashion figure.


Apparel made to a customer's special order; cut and fitted to individual measurements; the opposite of ready-to-wear.


Design brief

Design brief is a document containing a set of requirements set by a buyer, consumer or company head for the fashion designers that help guide the designing process. Design brief may contain requirements for the budget, consumers, sizing, season, etc.


A person who creates ideas for garments or accessories in the fashion industry.


A method of making a pattern by draping fabric on a dress form.


A sewn in fold designed to give garments shape. In particular around the bust, waist and hip areas.


An area of fabric that has been artificially aged or worn. Commonly used on denim.


Ethical Clothing

Clothing that’s produced keeping in mind the welfare of animals and the workers is known as ethical clothing.


Method of decorating fabric with designs stitched in colored thread or yarn.



Any material made by weaving, knitting, crocheting, or bonding yarns or threads to form a textile.

Fashion Cycle

Fashion change; refers to the introduction, acceptance, and the decline of a fashion.

Fashion Forecast

A prediction of fashion trends.

Fashion House

A company or entity that designs and/or makes garments and/or accessories and sometimes also beauty products is called a fashion house.

Fashion Illustrations

Used often in fashion design portfolios, are fashion figure drawings.

First Pattern

The trial pattern made in the design department for the sample garment.


Fits, or garment fittings, is the process of making sure a sample garment meets all necessary measurement and detail specifications to achieve the desired fit. Conducted by technical designers, the apparel fitting process involves measuring a sample garment, checking all hardware, topstitching and details, and communicating any necessary comments or revisions with factories.


Flat sketches, better known in the fashion industry as “flats”, are black and white fashion technical drawings that show a garment as if it were laid “flat” to display all seams, hardware, and any other design details. They are always included in design packages and tech packs, they serve as an important reference for patternmakers, merchandisers, production and manufacturers.



The process of making a sample size pattern larger or smaller to make up a complete size range. When the fit of a sample garment is approved, a size grade will be sent to the factories to begin production. A size grade is a chart containing measurements for the ordered size range of an approved style.

Greige Goods (Gray Goods)

Unbleached, unfinished fabrics bought by converters.

Gross Margin

The Difference in dollars between net sales and the net costs of merchandise during a given period.



A term used to denote a fashion product, designer or company that is of high quality, and/or appeals to sophisticated customers. High-end products are almost always pricier than mass-market goods.

Haute Couture

Exclusive custom-fitted fashions that are the pinnacle of the fashion industry. French for high sewing or dressmaking.


The edge of a piece of cloth or garment folded up and sewn down in order to enclose the cut edge so that it cannot unravel.

Hang Tag

A branded label that is present on all garments and represents a company cohesively and consistently



The seam in a trouser/pants or short that runs from the crotch to the hem. Leg length is measured based on the inseam. Most often refers to the inside seam of pants. It also refers to the measurement from the pant crotch down to where the pant leg falls on the shoe; the inner seam on the legs of a pair of pant



A size range of female apparel; in odd numbers, 3-15.


Stretchy fine knitted fabric, used in t-shirts and sportswear and figure hugging garments; especially good for draping



A type of clothing that is created by manipulating a yarn to create the fabric is called knitwear.



An apparel manufacturer's collection of styles; also, visual direction in a design caused by seams, details, or trimming.


1. The trademarked name of a fashion house or designer is called a label. 2. A piece of fabric sewn to a fashion product that has the name or logo of the fashion house or company is called a label.


Lab dips are conducted by factories to provide a visual aid of how a color will look when it is dyed. Since the lab dip is produced in a beaker and is not an actual production run, the actual production sample will vary from the lab dip that is provided. When the goods are dyed in a real production run, the conditions are dramatically different from the laboratory. Production does not begin on fabric unless a lab dip is approved, or the customer waives the lab dip process.


The two triangular pieces of cloth that extend from the collar of a suit jacket.


Man-Made Fibers

Fibers made from cellulose in plants or from chemicals derived from petroleum, gas, and coal.


A pattern layout put on top of the fabric for the cutter to follow.

Mass Production

The production of merchandise in quantity.


An item that is designed and created according to the body measurements of a wearer or customer is called made-to-measure.

Mood Board

Used often in fashion portfolio layouts, a fashion mood board is placed at the beginning of each design group and contains images, fabric swatches, trims, and other findings, which express the mood, inspiration and color story for the collection of apparel designs that follow.


The use of a single color.


Natural Fibers

Fibers are from plants and animals that can be spun into thread such as wool, silk, linen, cotton and hemp. Fibers that nature provides, including cotton, wool, silk, flax, and ramie.


A durable man-made fiber made of long-chain synthetic polymer.


A man-made fabric, used for wetsuits and other water sports attire. Has a stiff, body hugging quality that seals body heat in


Offshore Assembly

Fabric purchase and cut in the United States but sent to other countries for sewing.


Performance Fabrics

High-tech durable and flexible fabrics that use interesting fiber blends and finishes.

Piece Goods

The trade term for fabrics.


The most widely used man-made fiber, made of long-chain synthetic polymer.

Piece Dyed

Fabric that is dyed in a vat by the bolt (full piece) after it is woven.


A repeated decorative design that can be printed, stitched or woven into a fabric.



Padding technique enclosing a layer of wadding between two pieces of fabric, held in place by sewing a diamond pattern over fabrics


Resort collection

A mid-season collection that comprises clothing primarily meant to be worn on vacations is called resort collection.


The repetition of a print in fabric design.


A knit pattern that produces vertical stripes of stockinette stitch alternating with vertical stripes of reverse stockinette stitch.


Fabric gathered and sewn into a seam shorter than the length of the fabric. Often used for trim but also used to create draping and texture within the body of the garment


Sustainable fashion

Sustainable fashion refers to the practice of manufacturing clothes in such a way that it does not harm the environment.


The trial garment or prototype.

Sample Cut

A 1-10 yard length of fabric used by the design department to make up a trial sample garment.


The outline of a garment.


The worldwide search for the best available fabrics or garment production at the best price.


A test sample of printed fabric made to show and verify color and pattern before entering production on larger quantities.


The join line formed when two pieces of fabric are sewn together



Production in which garments such as suits are completely original and made to the measurements of the specific client.

Tech Pack

Also known as design package, tech packs are vital to the garment production process. Usually they contain fully detailed fashion flats and specs, topstitching and hardware details, any necessary artwork layouts, and basically any other information required to produce a sample garment. Tech packs are sent to factories to make apparel samples for approval.

Trend Forecasting

The process of predicting what fashion trends will be popular in the coming season(s) through thorough analysis of fashion weeks, historical data, industry trends, etc. is called trend forecasting. Also see fashion forecast

Textile Design

Quite often in the apparel industry, fashion designers are involved in the process of creating textile designs, which is artwork for prints, plaids, or stripes to be used in fabric development and production.

Trunk Show

A show of designer clothes that moves from store to store, often accompanied by a personal appearance by the designer.


U- Shaped Neckline

A deeply scooped neckline shaped like letter "U", where it derived its name or shaped like horse shoe.



Modifications of basic generic fiber compositions for special applications.

V-shaped Neckline

A neckline shaped or cut like letter "V", where it derived its name.


An opening in the fabric that allows for greater movement.


Garments originating in, or whose design is inspired by, a previous era.



The pattern of interlinking threads or yarns called the wrap and weft created during the cloth production process on a loom.



A fabric cut that is seamed across the top of a shirt, trouser, or skirt.


Zipper Pull

Refers to a metal accessory that allows for the opening of a zipper; usually in various shaped and sizes.



If you are trying to start up a fashion line and don’t know the right steps to take — I offer virtual and private coaching sessions that will help you take your ideas and turn them into a fully produced clothing line. You can book a 20 minute FREE Consultation here.

For the last 8 years, My company Jaclen Milo-Waite Fashion & Event Consulting Services has helped tons of fashion companies start, launch, and grow the right way.

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