What Is Deadstock and How Can a Clothing Designer Benefit From Using It

deadstock fabric

What is Deadstock?

In business terms, deadstock literally means your unsellable inventory – hence the name “deadstock” because it is the stock that is no more of any use to you; therefore, it’s as good as “dead”. In any business, deadstock inventory is full of items that they either manufactured too much or didn’t sell as much as expected. Moreover, it can also include damaged items, seasonal leftovers, or stayed due to incorrect deliveries – hence, none of it is of any use to the business owner anymore.

The fashion industry has long been known for its adverse effects on the environment – whether it’s air pollution or land pollution, from manufacturing to dying to selling clothes, this industry is one of the biggest contributors to the world’s waste. In fact, it wasn’t long ago when the garments waste produced at an annual rate reached over 90 million tons- which to say is a lot of waste to cater to. Similar amount of waste is produced everywhere, which doesn’t only make it difficult to handle, but also results in much worse economic and environmental consequences. Moreover, this waste reaches large water bodies or landfills only to increase water and land pollution by over 100% everywhere. So is there a way we can make all this better?

Do you know the tons of waste that is produced by the fashion industry – specifically the garment section of the industry, is mostly reusable and recycled? This waste is mainly full of fabric pieces that are left “for no use” – but really, if one thinks about it, they can actually use this fabric in their products and reduce the overall waste produced by the industry.

Luckily, what we just said above is not only theory anymore. Many clothing labels are now investing in waste fabrics – also known as deadstock to produce fashion and save the environment at the same time. If this is your first time hearing about this – don’t worry. Today we are talking about the use of deadstock in the fashion industry and how fashion designers are benefiting from it. So without further ado – let’s get to it.

In the fashion industry, deadstock refers to leftover scrap fabrics. Commonly known as deadstock fabrics, this refers to merchandise that was neither sold to the consumers nor is of any use to the producer anymore. This deadstock includes surplus fabric or leftover fabric pieces that the company cannot include in their products anymore hence adding them to their waste. This fabric is usually cut-out pieces, damaged textile, incorrect customized orders, or even extra pieces of cloth that they can’t sell at their stores. In simple terms, it’s the material that doesn’t serve its original purpose anymore.

Benefits of Using Deadstock for Designers and Clothing Brands

In the fashion industry, deadstock is the biggest contribution to annual waste, which is why designers have now adopted the concept of utilizing deadstock fabric in their new designs and production. Sustainability is nothing new in the fashion industry; companies and designers have long been striving to improve in this area – but deadstock was always the elephant in the room. Though thankfully not anymore. However, it’s important to note what may seem like a favor to us is actually beneficial to the designers themselves. Here is how designers and clothing brands benefit from using deadstock:

●        It Saves Them Money

Deadstock is waste – and using waste is definitely cheaper for you than buying new fabric. These overruns are about a fraction of the cost of what you have to pay for custom and made-to-order fabrics. Imagine getting high-quality textiles for much less than what you had to pay, and you bought them directly from the maker. One reason designers and local brands can find this wasted fabric for cheap is that most fabric mills and jobbers are eager to sell them out to free up extra space for it. So for them, this is an extra income, while for you, it can be a cheap alternative to your raw material.

●        Great for Small Business and New Designers

As we said, this is a great way to get high-quality fabric for cheaper rates. While this is a benefit for big clothing brands and large production mills – it is specifically great for small brands and designers. People who would hardly get access to such high-quality fabric can now find it in scrap. This is a great way to establish their name among quality brands that provide good materials. Moreover, since the fabric already exists in a limited amount, as a small designer, you don’t need to pay for large amounts of fabric. This means small rolls and small production runs – perfect for small brands not involved in mass production. This is a great place to add a custom woven or printed label to your design.

●        An Opportunity for Innovation

Utilizing deadstock in their production allows designers to be more innovative with their designs. Since they don’t have access to large amounts of fabrics, they have to make do with what they find. This pushes their creativity and makes them more innovative and creative with their designs.

●        Customizable “One-Piece” Orders

The fashion industry is big on exclusivity, which most big brands do not offer. You might find every other person wearing the same black shirt being sold at every retail outlet – but a designer shirt? You’ll hardly find two people with it. So this is the perfect opportunity for designs to showcase themselves as an exclusive brand that only offers a few designs – because, let’s be honest, you cannot mass produce with scraps. But this is how you turn this to your benefit and make your customers believe they are in for tailor-made exclusive designs that they can’t find anywhere else.

●        Appear as a Sustainable Brand

As we said, sustainability is nothing new in the fashion industry. The modern consumer is now more inclined towards sustainable brands – so, regardless of having amazing designs, if you are doing more harm than good, chances are you will lose your loyal customers. Hence, using and marketing your use of deadstock is a great way to establish yourself as a sustainable clothing brand in the industry to attract more pro-green citizens!

Deadstock and Fashion

The use of deadstock in clothing has really changed the dynamics of the fashion industry. The industry that was known as one of the most non-environmental friendly industries is now taking large steps toward sustainability and becoming environmentally friendly. So if you are starting your clothing brand, it’s best to save money and be more creative and sustainable by investing in deadstock. This is a win/win situation for both you and the environment!

You can use Google to search for places to buy deadstock and here are some sites below:


Core Fabric Store

Shabby Fabrics

Stone Mountain Fabric