4 Terrifying Manufacturing Horror Stories


From mismatched zippers to bloody tech packs, we have compiled four spine-tingling tales of terror from the world of fashion manufacturing.

For these designers and entrepreneurs having these nightmares come true was worse than meeting Freddy Krueger in the flesh. Learn from their stories so this doesn’t ever happen to you.

The The Grossgrain Ribbon Jumpsuit Massacre

When Mandy Kordal, Founder and Creative Director of Kordal Studio, decided to add a grossgrain ribbon to the backing of the straps of a beautiful knit, alpaca/silk blend, jumpsuit she was sampling, she never imagined it would turn into a week of hell.

“The draping and weight of the knit fabric was taking a toll on the straps,” she said. So she thought adding the ribbon would give them extra support.

Mandy was psyched when the shipment of jumpsuits finally arrives from Peru, and as she confesses, “I was secretly wanting to keep one for myself.” Just out of a curiosity, she decided to try one on she discovered that they did not go past the hips! The grossgrain ribbon did not allow for any stretch room whatsoever.

There it was, a pile of faulty 50 jumpsuits due to be shipped to her customers that very week. “The next 4 days consisted of my sweet intern and I slowly taking off the grossgrain ribbon from each strap.” She recalls they got through it watching 5 seasons of “The Office” while slowly seam-ripping every single strap (100 of them to be exact).

Moral of the story: “This was a huge lesson for me to always try a pre-production sample before you commit to all of the production

Preparing to Dye

Katherine Schildmeyer of KS Apparel Design & Consulting remembers the days when she was a colorist and had a physical color library for all of the labdips for every fabric. As she and her team built the tech packs, they put in the color swatches and color information. Everything was set and good to go —or so she thought— until a horrifying chromatic modification would change the fate of the production for the worse.

As Schildmeyer recalls, the trims color specialist modified the dye color for zippers after the tech pack sent to production. The result was terrifying, “we ended up with hundreds of yards of zipper tape that were several shades lighter than the product.”

Moral of the story: “From that point on the company had the head colorist review final production packs before submitting to factory.”

The Tale of The Decomposing Buttons

For Daniella Samper, founder and Creative Director of Ajaie Alaie, it all began when a store called to say that buttons were falling off one of the most coveted dresses of her line.

Her suspicion starts to grow as she remembers her sister trying on one of the sample dresses which encountered the same problem, but Daniella thought it was just that one piece.

Daniella started checking all of the dresses in stock and made a terrifying discovery...

All of the dresses’ buttons were breaking off! About 5 out of the 40 buttons each dress carried. She almost had a breakdown as she could only imagine the horror that awaited of having all of her stockists complain and return the order, or even worse, never order again.

But Daniella was quick to act and got the dresses back from the stores, fixed them and shipped again within one week! Wow! She soon discovered that plastic buttons had been the issue, as the pressure applied to them when the fabric is placed weakened the plastic. “I have never used so many buttons on a dress before so it didn't occur to me that the plastic ones could break,” she says.

Moral of the story: “Never use plastic shank buttons and go for the metallic ones. Always take into consideration button quality. It's something that we don't think about much.”

Since the spine-chilling experience, Daniella has been using the metallic shank buttons and “it's been perfect.” “Stores were very understanding and I am very grateful for that.”

The Bleeding Techpack

It was the fall of 2017 when a suspicious bloody tech pack somehow made its way to the factory where designer Tanko Chui, Creative Director of Historic New York, usually has his garments produced.

He would have never imagined what awaited him when the dress, he had carefully designed and explained on a complete tech pack, came back from the dead — well, from production.

It all began when the factory’s lunch alarm rang and a greasy, slimy order of fast food, with ketchup of course, was put on top of Tanko’s tech pack. Particularly “the one and only with a color swatch.”

After the crime was committed, the perpetrators left all of the evidence behind, and the dress was produced with the “bloody” color swatch.

"The Ketchup Dress"

The factory had completed the “blood red” sample in only two days, but with a rushed market week there was no time for a new one, and he had to run with what was produced. Luckily for him, red was trending for Fall/ Winter 2017, and it didn’t end up being so horrific after all. In fact, it became a buyer favorite and a best-selling item.

Moral of the story: Don’t eat on the tech packs! And use Techpacker for maximum efficiency in communicating with factories. Remember that all the previous versions are saved in case you ever need to review a sample or color swatch!

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