Behind the fashion scenes: Some of the most important people involved when making a garment

Striking fashion sketches. Picture: Pexels.

Striking fashion sketches. Picture: Pexels.

Published Apr 12, 2024


We love beautiful clothes and often it’s the designer who gets all the praise because they are the brains behind the specific garment.

However, for it to come to life from the sketch to being an actual wearable garment, there are many hands involved, and these are the most important people in the industry who are somehow underrated.

While some brands are still growing and the designer has to do most of the work themselves, other brands have invested in the following people for effective production, although they are still part of slow fashion.

Creative director

This is the person responsible for coming up with the designs. Most designers do it themselves, while others (mostly franchise brands) hire people to be creative directors.

For example, let’s say Thebe Magugu partners with adidas on a limited edition collection: he would be the creative director for that collection, meaning he comes up with the designs.

Another example would be Louis Vuitton hiring Pharrell Williams as the creative director. And because he holds such a high position, Williams was able to commission his friend Tyler, the creator, to be the creative director of the brand’s latest collection.

So, a creative director sketches the designs and hands over the reins to the team.

However, some creative directors also want to be part of the whole process to see how everything works and get a better understanding of the making process of the garment.

A creative director is the one who comes up with the designs and usually does the sketches. Picture: Pexels.

Fabric selector

Once the designer has completed sketching their designs, the fabric selector must source fabrics fit for the sketch provided. This is a tricky job because fabric selection goes far beyond beauty.

As a fabric selector, you need to find sustainable fabrics, water test them to see if they don’t lose colour, check how they react to heat, and so forth.

However, what’s fun about this job is that you can always recycle fabric, especially offcuts, by upcycling them.

A fabric selector must source the best fabrics. Picture: Pexels.


Sometimes designers collaborate with patternmakers, while others make the patterns themselves.

The designer gives the patternmaker a sketch of a garment, and the patternmaker then drafts patterns on paper or in a computer program to be cut and stitched.

A patternmaker creates a pattern for a garment from a designer’s sketch, that can be cut and stitched. Picture: Pexels.

The cutter

Now that the perfect fabric has been found and the patterns are created, the cutter must cut it into the correct shapes and sizes, following the pattern. Any excess materials must not be thrown away.

It must be kept separately as it may be used later for either accessories or a bit of patching, if needed.

The cutter is responsible for cutting fabrics using a pattern. Picture: Pexels.


This is the person responsible for assembling the garment. They have to make sure they use the correct stitches.

Before they get onto the sewing machine, they usually use pins to mark where they’ll be stitching and remove them as they go. That way, they can stitch in the correct order and do a clean job.

A seamstress is responsible for sewing the fabrics together into a garment. Picture: Pexels.


Now that the garment has been sewn, a decorator must put it onto the mannequin and start working. Decorations usually include embroidery, which is hand done.

The hard part about this job is that certain garments require thousands of tiny beads, and every one of them must be sewn by hand.

The decorator must pay attention to detail and make sure that they do a seamless job.

An example of detailed hand embroidery. Picture: Pexels.


In most cases, the inspector would be the creative director to check if the garment in front of them is the same as the sketch they had presented to the team.

The inspector is also responsible for checking any loose ends, any alterations or last-minute finishes that need to be fixed, and if they are happy with the final product, then it gets approved and is ready to be sold.