It’s an open secret. Whether the product category is high-quality streetwear hoodies or fashionable loungewear sets, blanks are the backbone for many of the market’s soaring clothing startups. And there’s no shame in that. Sourcing custom clothing at scale is a tall task for any budding fashion entrepreneur.
Blanks are an essential alternative that cut overhead and help keep your business lean. Plus now, more than ever, the market has an abundance of excellent blank options that use premium cottons and don't skimp on quality.
If you weigh your choices correctly, and land the right blanks, your brand's designs will become quality pieces that your customers will love. This guide is written to help you get a basic overview of the blanks market, and make the best possible choice when you set out to buy blank clothing.
Understanding Blank Clothing
First off, when you hear the term “blanks” it’s referring to unbranded, unadorned clothing designed for customization.
The last part is the key difference. Designed for customization. Blanks are usually purchased for like screen printing, embroidery, sublimation design, or direct-to-garment printing.
What separates a quality blank from a plain article of clothing, or a even low-quality blank, is the use of denser, durable fabric that’ll ensure the garment maintains its original softness and quality even after customization and washes.
The Common Types of Blank Clothing
Blank clothing comes in all the usually styles, with plenty of options to source blanks for:
T-shirts are the most common type of blank clothing. They are versatile, comfortable, and suitable for a wide range of uses. Blank T-shirts come in various styles, from classic crew necks to v-necks, and in different fits from slim to oversized. They're perfect for casual wear, promotional items, or even as part of a uniform.
Hoodies, whether pullover or zip-up, are ideal for cooler weather or sportswear. They offer more warmth than a t-shirt, and their larger surface area provides more space for customization. A high-quality blank hoodie made from a heavier GSM fleece or ring-spun cotton can be a cozy and durable choice.
The crewneck sweater is a classic piece in the world of casual and comfortable clothing. Named for its round, collarless neckline (similar to the kind you'll see on a traditional t-shirt), crewneck sweaters offer a timeless look that suits a variety of styles. They are typically made from warm, soft materials like cotton or cotton blends, often featuring a plush interior for added coziness. A high-quality blank crewneck sweater, provides not only warmth but also a smooth, comfortable canvas for customization.
Sweatshorts, as the name suggest, are essentially the shorts version of sweatpants. They are designed for comfort and casual wear, often made from soft, breathable materials like cotton or fleece fabric. Sweatshorts typically feature an elastic waistband and may also include pockets and a drawstring for adjustable fit. They are perfect for warmer weather or athletic wear, providing a relaxed and comfortable feel without sacrificing style. When it comes to customizing sweatshorts, options like screen printing, heat transfer, or embroidery can all work well, allowing you to create unique, casual loungewear sets or athletic gear.
Sweatpants and Joggers
Sweatpants are the epitome of comfort. Designed for casual wear, They often have a straight-leg design, giving them a relaxed fit that's perfect for lounging around or running errands. Sweatpants provide a large surface area for customization, making them a popular choice for brands or individuals looking to create unique loungewear sets or athletic wear.
Joggers are a more fitted version of sweatpants. They're usually made from similar materials as sweatpants, like cotton or fleece, but feature a tapered design that narrows towards the ankle. This design often includes elastic cuffs at the ankles, giving them their distinctive "jogger" look.
Joggers strike a balance between style and comfort, making them suitable for both athletic activities and casual wear.
They've become a fashionable choice for many, offering a sleeker silhouette while maintaining the comfort of traditional sweatpants. When it comes to customization, joggers can be printed or embroidered on, just like sweatpants, allowing for a range of creative possibilities.
Factors to Consider When Buying Blank Clothing
When buying blank clothing, these are the main factors you’ll need to consider:
Material: This is a big one. The material of your blank clothing will affect its comfort, durability, and how well it takes on customization. Cotton is popular for its softness and breathability. It's great for casual wear like t-shirts and hoodies. Cotton Fleece, on the other hand, is warmer and more durable, making it ideal for colder-weather clothing. Blends can offer a balance of properties, like the softness of cotton with the durability of polyester. Your choice here will depend on the end use of the garment.
Fabric Weight: Weight is about how heavy or light the fabric feels. This ties into the GSM which we’ll touch on later. A lighter-weight fabric will be more breathable and ideal for warm climates or active wear. A heavier-weight fabric will provide more structure and warmth. For instance, a high GSM cotton hoodie would be thicker and warmer than a low GSM one.
Fit: The fit of the clothing is crucial. Everyone has a different body shape and size, and what looks good on one person might not work for another. Brands that offer a range of fits, from relaxed to fitted, can cater to a wider variety of customers.
Color Options: The more color options you have, the more versatility you have for customization. This is particularly important if you're planning on using techniques like sublimation design, which can allow for vibrant, full-color designs.
Price: Your budget is always going to be a factor. It's important to find a balance between price and quality. Cheaper blank clothing might seem like a good deal, but it might not offer the durability or feel that you're after. Conversely, the most expensive options might not always be the best quality. Do your research to find the best value for your money.
Sustainability: In our modern world, many consumers are becoming more conscious of the environmental impact of their purchases. Brands that use organic or recycled materials and follow ethical manufacturing practices can be more appealing to these consumers. If sustainability is important to you, it's something to consider when choosing your blank clothing.
The Importance of GSM and Ring-Spun Cotton in Durability and Feel
When evaluating the quality and durability of blanks and or other cotton-based clothing items, it's crucial to understand two things: GSM and Ringspun cotton. Both significantly contribute to the durability, feel, and overall quality of the product.
GSM in Fleece Fabric
GSM stands for grams per square meter and is a measure of the density of the fabric. In the context of fleece fabric used in hoodies, a higher GSM indicates a thicker, denser fabric. This translates to a warmer, more durable garment that's ideal for colder weather.
Generally, GSM helps us understand a fabric’s thickness. You can think of it as the amount of fabric material packed into a single square meter of that fabric.
The thing to remember is that GSM and fabric weight aren't the same thing. Fabric weight, in layman's terms, is the mass of the fabric per unit surface area. GSM, on the other hand, is a more specific measurement, telling us the weight of the fabric in grams per one square meter of material.
Now, where GSM becomes particularly useful is when you're comparing fabrics made from the same material. For example, let's say you have two cotton t-shirts. One has a GSM of 150, and the other has a GSM of 200. The one with 200 GSM is going to be thicker and heavier than the one with 150 GSM, all else being equal. This thickness is directly proportional to the GSM measurement.
So, GSM can be a solid indicator of quality if you're dealing with similar raw materials. For instance, a higher GSM in a cotton hoodie implies that it will be thicker, warmer, and potentially more durable than a lower GSM hoodie made from the same cotton.
However, a word of caution: while GSM can be a useful tool for assessing quality, it's also something that some folks in the garment industry might exaggerate. Why? Because the tools used to measure GSM aren't usually something most people have at home. This can lead to inflated GSM claims because it's challenging for the averae person to verify these numbers.
That being said, understanding GSM and its importance can significantly improve your textile purchases, especially when you're looking for something specific like a thick, warm fleece or a light, breathable cotton shirt.
The term "ring-spun" refers to a specific process of spinning yarn that results in a much finer, smoother, and stronger yarn than regular cotton. Garments made from ring-spun cotton, like our cotton hoodies, not only feel softer and more luxurious but are also more durable.
In the traditional method of spinning cotton, fibers are loosely twisted, resulting in a somewhat rough texture. Ring-spun cotton, however, takes this process a few steps further.
First, the cotton fibers are continuously twisted and thinned, which makes a very fine rope of cotton fibers. The constant twisting creates a significantly stronger yarn than the regular cotton spinning method.
Imagine this: you have a piece of string. If you just loosely twist it, it's relatively easy to pull apart. But if you tightly twist that string, it becomes much harder to break. That's essentially what's happening with ring-spun cotton.
This tighter twist in ring-spun cotton results in a softer, more durable fabric. The fabric has a more refined texture and is more comfortable against the skin. It's why a ring-spun cotton t-shirt, for instance, often feels higher quality than a regular cotton t-shirt.
Additionally, ring-spun cotton is more durable. The tight twist of the fibers makes the fabric less prone to wear and tear, and less likely to form those annoying little balls of fluff (also known as pilling) that you might see on lower-quality cotton products after a few washes.
So, if you're hunting for a soft, durable, and comfortable cotton product, whether it's a t-shirt, hoodie, or even a pair of socks, keep an eye out for ring-spun cotton. It's a sign of quality that can make a real difference in the feel and lifespan of your garments.
Where to Buy Blank Clothing
Of course, we're biased, so you can check out our blank clothing collection here. We offer a variety of GSMs and we use ring-spun, organic cotton from the United States.
How to Customize Your Blank Clothing
This is the part of the process where you get to add your touch. It’s where a simple cotton hoodie or plain t-shirt turns into something branded and personal. There’s a bunch of ways to customize blanks, but these are the main ones brands typically choose:
- Screen Printing: This is one of the most common methods used to customize blank clothing. The process involves creating a stencil (or a "screen") and then using that stencil to apply layers of ink onto the clothing surface. The result is a vibrant, crisp design that's perfect for bold, simple graphics. This method is best used for designs that have one to three colors. One thing to note about screen printing, though, is that it's more cost-effective when done in large quantities due to the initial setup cost.
- Direct-to-Garment (DTG): DTG is a newer method of printing that works like a printer for your clothes. The garment is placed in the machine, and the design is printed directly onto the clothing item. This method allows for high detail and color variation, making it excellent for complex, multi-colored designs. It's like printing a high-quality photo directly onto a garment. It's also cost-effective for small batches or single items.
- Heat Transfer: Heat transfers work by printing a design onto a special kind of paper, then transferring that design onto the fabric using heat (hence the name). This method allows for high detail and vibrant colors. It's particularly useful for intricate, multi-color designs. However, heat transfer prints may not be as durable as other methods, and they can feel heavier on the fabric.
- Sublimation Design: Sublimation is a method of printing that uses heat to essentially bring ink and fabric together as one. This method allows for all-over printing and vibrant, full-color designs that won't peel or fade. Sublimation works best on polyester or polyester-blend fabrics and is perfect for items like loungewear sets where an all-over design might be desired.
- Embroidery: Embroidery is the process of sewing a design onto a garment. This gives a high-quality, textured feel to your design. It's great for logos, monograms, and other designs where a raised, textured look adds to the aesthetic. Embroidery is highly durable and gives a premium feel to any garment.
Each customization method has its own pros and cons, and the best one for you depends on your design, the type of garment, the quantity, and the look and feel you're aiming for.
Whether you're starting a clothing line or just making a unique gift, one of these methods will usually be enough to create the clothing you want. The shop or manufacturer you go with will usually offer consultations on your design, and give you an expert opinion on the best choice.