The fashion manufacturing business is really a very small part of the larger industry that is more correctly known as sewn product manufacturing. Terms such as fashion industry, apparel industry, clothing manufacturing, and fashion production are all part of the sewn products industry.
The reason that fashion design is included in sewn product manufacturing is because it relies on the same materials, tools and processes (such as sewing machines and fabrics) as any other kind of non-apparel items like handbags, backpacks, tablecloths, baby diapers, or hot air balloons.
It doesn’t matter whether you are a boutique fashion designer (high or haute fashion designer); you will need to know where to find wholesale fabrics, industrial sewing machines — and probably someone who can manufacture apparel for you.
By the way, if you’re looking for someone to provide production sewing services — an industrial sewing factory — you are looking for a business known as a sewing contractor. If you have not used the term “sewing contractor” in your search, you will have found very little information that can help you.
To learn the correct industry terms and definitions you need to know, see “Job Descriptions in the Industry” in chapter 2 of The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Sewn Product Manufacturing.
Similarly, you’ll need to find more than sewing supplies, wholesale fabric or sales representatives. You’ll need to hire businesses you probably don’t even know exist; businesses that provide services such as pattern making, pattern grading, large-scale fabric cutting, makers of buttons, thread, zippers and elastic. You may also need a laundry service, a shipper and even, someone to lend you money!
But what you need first and most of all is EDUCATION because you’ll never find someone to teach you about industrial sewing (or industrial sewing methods) unless you know where and how to look.