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13 Types of Garment Samples in Apparel production

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In the Apparel production, Sampling is an essential element that plays an important role in attracting buyers. It’s a trait of consumers that if they are satisfied with the garment samples, they are more likely to place an order. Moreover, from the buyer’s point of view, to ensure the quality of fabric coming from the supply chain, the buyers ensure that the products meet the requirements, designs, and materials quality and fit the criteria ordered by brands.

The buyers and manufacturers stay connected to the suppliers during every stage, from production to developing a finished product. At several stages of product making, sample development is a crucial element. This sample development is a standard process that is known by different names. Each sample serves as a different objective in several stages of product development.

Purpose of Garment Sampling

Stages of Garment Sampling

Different Types of Garment Samples

Several types of Sampling are done during the product development process. Here are all of them listed and defined below:

First Sample/ Proto Sample

This is the first type of sample being developed by the design sketch or by the concept of design known as a proto sample. This sample phase typically includes matching the fabric quality, the fabric type, and the fabric’s weight.

During the proto sample development, the actual fabric that is being used for development is not available. The first sample is made only in one size, and the number of first samples is based on the buyer’s requirements.

The best practice is to develop three samples. Two of them should be sent to the customer to review, The customer should send back 1 sample to the manufacturer, while the 3rd sample could be used as the factory’s counter sample of proto.

If any third party is involved in the manufacturing or sample development process, there should be one more sample.

Fitting Sample

The fitting sample is another important element in the Apparel design. The fitting sample process includes a spec sheet that contains all the measurements and design specifications. This spec sheet is used to develop a fit sample according to the needs and requirements are written on a spec sheet.

As the name tells, the primary purpose of this fitting sample is to see if the fit sample is coming fit over the human model or not. The measurements used over the fit sample are based on the height and requirements from the spec sheets. Likewise, the fitting sample is also developed for the middle size in the first sample. And 2 or 3 fit samples are developed.

Compared to others, the resubmission rate of the fit sample is greater.

Size Set Sample

Size set samples are used to inspect a selection of different size categories. Most commonly developed samples cover small, medium and large size sets according to customer requests for manufacturing purposes.

During this sample development, if the production team finds out that some of the pieces are not giving the correct fit, they make the changes over the pattern grading to make a perfect fit per the requirements.
These samples are made by using the chosen fabric from the customer. An alternative material can be used in case of no availability of actual fabric.

Salesman Sample (SMS)

The SMS or the Salesman sample is manufactured using actual and original fabrics. These samples are developed to display the retail stores. The primary objective of showing the product to the retail store is to forecast sales and order volume. These are also known as marketing samples, as these are displayed to the customers.

The Photo Shoot Sample

As the name tells it already, photo shoot sampling refers to capturing a photo and using it for marketing purposes on billboards or for e-commerce websites to build product catalogs. The photos of the dress are taken over the model or the dress alone. The photoshoot sample is a common practice in fashion samples.

Preproduction Sample

The preproduction samples are made up of using the actual fabrics. These are also known as pp samples manufactured in the factory, and all the samples are developed in the sample room.

The preproduction sample is constructed with all the specifications, design requirements, measurements, embroidery, and other required details. The pp sampling is like a test the factory runs to check if they can proceed with the bulk production only and only if the brand or clients are satisfied with the sample.

Gold Sealed Sample

When the sample is approved for bulk production, it can be called a gold-sealed sample if the buyer has sealed the pp sample. The buyer seals the sample with the help of a color tag that can’t be removed from the sample without damaging it.

A unique code is given to each sample by the buyer to differentiate it from others. The sample is sealed to avoid tampering with the approved sample.

Counter Samples

When creating a sample to send to brands and clients for sample approval, the manufacturer makes two or more additional samples for their reference. These samples are known as counter references. These samples are like the original products that can be used as a reference in case the approved samples are unavailable.

Shipment Sample

The sample ready for shipment is completed with all information like packaging details, measurements, and all the details attached to the sample that will be presented in the stores.

The factory creates 03 pieces for shipment samples, 1 for the buyer, 1 for factory reference, and 1 for the housing merchant.

The factory keeps the sample shipped to the buyer to use as a reference to create bulk production or make changes if a customer wants it.

GPT Sample

GPT stands for Garment’s Performance Test. In this type of Sampling, one of the pieces from the bulk production is picked and sent into the testing lab to test the performance of the Garment. In GPT, the garment performance test has undergone tests like trying strength, seam slippage, button pulling with strength, chemical testing of metals, print quality, and dyeing and printing colors.

The list tests are performed in the lab to test the situation from buyers’ and customers’ points of use. Usually, brands and businesses don’t ask for GPT sample reports. Sometimes they just need reports on some desired parameters.

Development Sample

These are the samples that are made after the bulk production and got the bulk production approved. The first sample, size and fit, is also considered the development sample.

Sealed Sample /Red Tag Sample

The sealed sample and red tag sample are alike. The red tag over the sample products indicates the final product, making it ready to sell after the bulk production. A red tag is applied or attached to the sealed sample.

Digital Garment Sample

Any garment sample that is made over computer software or displays the 3D form of the Garment is known as a digital garment sample. In the digital garment sample, the brand or business can have a direct view and digitally see all the details like fabric fall, pressure points, measurements, and fitting guide.

Technology has advanced to the current levels. For example, most manufacturers use digital garment samples to reduce approval and processing time. In addition, the customer can make changes to the product by adding comments and feedback over the sample displayed on their screen, and users can be considered a physical sample.

Why are garment samples necessary for your clothing line?


The sample development requirements depend upon the specification and requirements that the customer wants. The customer’s demands are variable. Some of the customers want fit samples prior to the preproduction sample, while on the other side, some of the designers require SMS (Salesman Sample) rather than photoshoots samples. At the same time, some of the buyers don’t ask for top samples.

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Tom Brady
Tom Brady

Tom Brady is the weekly publisher of fashion blogs and articles. He is devoted to providing his readers with a fast-paced story, whether a blog or an article. What began as an undergraduate hobby of writing about the fashion industry has now become a top blog and full-time role for him. His interest is simple, anything that attracts readers about the fashion industry.

Tom Brady

Tom Brady

Tom Brady is the weekly publisher of fashion blogs and articles. He is devoted to providing his readers with a fast-paced story, whether a blog or an article. What began as an undergraduate hobby of writing about the fashion industry has now become a top blog and full-time role for him. His interest is simple, anything that attracts readers about the fashion industry.