Implementing and documenting a quality management system, or a QMS for short, is an important part of boosting quality control in fashion product sampling and production. A QMS takes a look at all the policies, procedures, and processes for your company that help improve overall efficiency and organisation. In the fashion industry, quality control is essential as clothing and apparel generally need to meet a certain level to be appealing to consumers, and to not be a waste of your money and time.

While the most directly manageable stage of quality control for fashion designers is usually the inspection of samples and the final product,  you can usually use a well-thought-out QMS to get in front of quality issues ahead of these more logistically involved production stages. Understanding the relevant elements of a QMS and truly utilising those advantages to meet your company’s goals are what every business in the fashion industry should strive for.

Woman browsing clothes

QMS elements for fashion designers to consider and adopt

The elements of a quality management system will vary according to your business needs. However, there are some general elements that can work effectively in a fashion-oriented business. These  are primarily:

Quality policy and objectives - As a designer, you will need to define what quality standards apply to the products your company creates. Then, define your materials and defective product objectives based on these standards. Keeping a quality manual is a good way to manage these.

Procedures and instructions - A how-to guide will help both your current employees and new ones hired later to follow protocol on a variety of different practices. An example of this would be providing instructions on what steps to include in the sample quality assurance phase.

Records - Seeing how you have worked with previous projects can help you test and improve your sampling and production processes. For fashion businesses, records will include quality assurance forms, procedure sheets, and quality checklists. Having detailed documentation that covers every aspect of fashion apparel will help make sure that no element of the piece is overlooked. Some aspects to check to see if fashion clothing or apparel is high quality include: fabric material and content, stitches and even seams, patterns and colours, and lining.

Data management - Any data that provides value to your business should be accessibly structured and stored. You can use various, user-friendly tools like Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, and Dropbox to manage this.

Customer satisfaction - Strive to get feedback from every client you work with. This will tell you how to improve your products and designs in the future and will make improvement opportunities more visible. Having a structured process in which the customer is able to leave a review or rating in some way after they purchase a product and then storing the data in your records is the best practice for your QMS. Additionally, there are many ways to receive customer feedback including monitoring your social media channels, offering rewards for feedback, and sending out surveys to your customer base.

Inspection - The previously mentioned documents should be accompanied by some sort of inspection method that is thorough and assigned to experts for completion. Some broad aspects of fashion apparel that can be inspected are things like stitching, seams, and fabric quality. Some common tests you can perform on your samples in the inspection phase include fit tests, seam strength tests, dry and wet crocking tests, fatigue tests, and stretch tests.

Tech Packs - A tech pack is the best tool to communicate your quality standards to your production partner. It is important to make sure your tech pack is detailed, concise, and clear.

Advantages of implementing a quality management system for your fashion label

Customers are drawn towards businesses that put quality at the forefront. This trend and the added process improvements that a QMS brings to a company are the primary reasons to implement one. Some other advantages include:

Improved product quality - Since you will be able to manage the quality of your products with clear definitions of what you are striving for, the product quality will inherently improve, whether you design and sell clothing, accessories, or any other fashion apparel.

Increased productivity and reduced costs - Set standards and protocols bring about more organization and efficiency. Having various steps and requirements set out for everyone can help increase productivity and reduce costs.

Increased customer satisfaction - As mentioned earlier, consumers are drawn to businesses that prioritise quality products. As a result, having a detailed process in place will help assure that you delight your customers with high-quality products in-hand.

Simplified training for new employees - Any new employees will be easier to train if the definition of what quality means to your company is conveyed early on.

Increased competitiveness - The fashion world is full of competitors that strive to deliver high-quality products. A QMS will allow you to also remain competitive against them.

Man browsing shirts

At the end of the day, quality management systems can change the organisation of a fashion company for the better. Choosing the right elements for your brand can lead to various benefits, most notably, maximum quality control. Ultimately, implementing these elements will help your fashion business in both the long and the short-term by adding structure and establishing quality benchmarks ahead of defective or disorganised operations.

This article has not been edited by Fibre2Fashion staff and is re-published with permission from