CMT vs FPP: Which is the Best Avenue for Your Apparel?

sewing machine in a factory

Choosing a manufacturer for your apparel line is a big decision. Your vision for the brand cannot come to fruition without knowing exactly who you are working with, and what their capabilities are. If you are new to the apparel “game”, or struggling to build your brand, take a step back and reevaluate your product development and manufacturing strategy.

Some things to consider:

When it comes to hiring a manufacturer in the fashion industry, there are generally two options to choose from.

  1. CMT (Cut, Make, Trim)
  2. FPP (Fully Packaged Product)

Each type of manufacturer offers critical services during the creation process. It is important to learn the differences between the two types to take advantage of their specialties and get your apparel out to the masses in an affordable and efficient way.

What is CMT?
A manufacturer who practices “Cut, Make, Trim” production is only involved in part of the apparel-manufacturing process. Usually, CMT manufacturers are utilized by fashion designers who already have a source for their materials and have already decided on patterns or designs.

So, what exactly does a CMT manufacturer do to realize your apparel line?

  • Map out the Cut – This important piece to the puzzle showcases some incredibly high-tech tools! Before clothing is cut, computer software is used to arrange patterns so that the garment is aesthetically pleasing, and any logos or embroideries are clearly presented.
    The software also maps out each piece of the pattern to determine exactly how much material is needed to complete the garment. After the fabric quantities have been determined, a computer-guided laser cuts through many layers of fabric to create several pieces of clothing at once.
  • Make the garment – Next, it’s time for the “cut’ pieces of fabric to be sewn together. This task may differ depending on the size of the manufacturer’s facility. It’s important to enquire about methods of quality control and how many individuals are involved in this process, as errors can halt production and delay apparel from being ready for market.
  • Trim the garment – The final step before shipping the clothing, is to add the finishing touches to make each piece stand out, like buttons, labels and cufflinks.

Who Benefits from CMT?

While it’s not right for everyone, CMT is a great option for those with already-established products and a firm understanding of the fashion industry. Before hiring a company to cut, make and trim a clothing line, it is crucial to understand their step-by-step process to ensure your expectations are met.


What is FPP?

A fully packaged product manufacturer guides clothing-line owners through each step of the apparel-creating process – from initial consultation to delivery, an FPP company is there for you.

In addition to completing the cut, make and trim processes, these are other services most FPP manufacturer’s get involved in.

  • Design – Typically, a clothing designer will only need an idea or sketch for an FPP company to bring it to life. They can completely design a pattern or offer feedback to turn a bland idea into an iconic, household name. A proven manufacturer will have a firm understanding on what works and excites consumers in the fashion industry.
  • Fabric – FPP manufacturers win big in this department. Finding a reliable and affordable source to supply fabric can be a struggle for designers. Fortunately, an FPP partner will take this burden off your shoulders and supply materials that fit your budget and vision.
  • One-on-One Guidance – The steps to creating perfect clothing can be a long process, and an FPP manufacturer will be there to guide designers every step of the way. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself in multiple meetings to ensure your ideas are correctly represented before the production stage.

Who Benefits from FPP?

While every clothing line can utilize the strategies and advantages of FPP, those who benefit the most are designers who are unfamiliar in the industry. The laws regarding the fashion industry can be complicated. Entrusting an FPP partner to complete the process with ethical and legal practices, helps designers keep track of their products.

Which is Right for You?

Choosing a manufacturer to create clothing which properly represents your brand can be a daunting decision. When weighing the advantages and disadvantages between CMT and FPP, consider how far you are into the process and where you may be struggling.

If clothes are already selling well, but the demand is causing a need for mass production, your line can benefit from CMT while saving a little money over a full-package product manufacturer.

While FPP may cost more than a partner who is only involved in a portion of the process, the advantages are numerous. Designers who lack education on creating epic apparel can learn a lot about the industry while allowing an expert to focus on the production, while you dedicate your time to promoting and representing your brand.


Apparel consulting is just one facet of Stars Design Group.About Stars Design Group: Founded by industry experts, Stars Design Group global fashion design and production house that helps clients bring their apparel to market. We consult, design, and facilitate production and delivery.

Understanding that the apparel industry is about evolution and not revolution, we continue to refine the way the industry does business. Embracing the latest 3D design and development software, we help to refine the design and approval process in a digital landscape, paving the way for rapid decisions and execution of programs while reducing mistakes, improving fit, minimizing returns, and increasing profit margins.

With a network of 67 factories in 14 countries worldwide, our relationships are generations deep. Being diverse in our manufacturing locations, we are nimble in an ever-evolving landscape and provide ethically manufactured apparel and accessories.

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