Developing Lab dip is one of the primary jobs for a merchandiser to start an order execution. They need to run for lab dip approval. Though this would be an easy task, sometimes big mistakes may occur. The present article will help everyone in dealing with lab dip who works as merchandiser or hope to start career in merchandising. It is to be mentioned that this article is not focused for dye houses or laboratories. They definitely need to know the merchandisers perspective but of course they have many other perspectives.
1. What is a lab dip?
Lab dip is small swatch of fabric to define color and its recipe before it goes for bulk dyeing. This is also a master piece for both buyer & manufacturer that give correct source what to be color look like and what is the corresponding dyestuff recipe would be. Lab dip is important because different combination of dyes or different color recipe produces different shades. The dye houses matches their lab dip with buyers’ reference colour. Buyers’ reference for colour or shade can be anything like a piece of fabric or pantone number. This reference is called standard. Lab dip typically done by size 6×6’’. For each fabrication it needs to do separate lab dip for approval. Fabric or material on which colouration is being done is important and so lab dip fabric has to be same one as the bulk fabric where the final colour will appear for garments making. Lab department use their specific reference number on each lab swatch to define the color & recipe. Usually factory use as shade A,B,C,D in 3 to 6 options of color shade .For lab approval better to use minimum four options so that buyer can find exact color which is closer to standard. In the submissions given to buyer the dye houses usually don’t give details recipe but they conserve that information at their end for their further operations.
2. Lab dip & light source
Light source is very important to understand shade rightly. Light source its cabinet and viewing angles all are important factors in colour matching. The box that contains the light sources and which is facilitating right environment with options of viewing angles for colour matching is called light box. Customer or buyer shouldrightly mention what light source they prefer for color checking. Usually below light sources are used to match color. Each of the below matching conditions may give different results.D-65&TL84is used by most of the buyers. So a good light box is required to match color & shade.
- Artificial Daylight Fluorescent Lamps (D-65)
- Tungsten Filament Lamps.
- Tri Phosphor Fluorescent Lamps (TL84).
- Ultra violet Black Lamp (UVB).
- Cool White Fluorescent Lamp (CWF)
Some customer has requirement for spectrometer to match color. Spectrometer is a machine & electrical data to identifying and matching color, tone or hue. This is very costly & not user friendly. Proper expertise is needed for proper use of such equipment.
Usually buyers consider point of sale lighting condition and point of use lighting condition for colour matching. D 65 refers to point of use light source while TL84 refers to point of sale light source.
3. Colour standard?
Color standard is a piece of fabric or a pantone number provided by buyer to manufacturer for making lab dip. This may be a cut of garment or swatch from buyer’s collection. Buyer selects some colors for each season like summer collection, autumn/winter collection, and winter collection so on. Based on this collection they develop lab dipcolours to be used for bulk. To get a color collection buyers usually do market survey & follow the colour trends of the season. So all time they may not provide you correct standard for lab dip. Because some time buyer cut the color swatch from best seal garment from his own brand, this will not help you all the way. A finished garment cannot be good standard for lab dip making. Lab dip is not final out of color for a garment. This is standard for dyeing color of fabric but not garment. Final color for garment may be different if it has some washed application or any extra finishing. So merchandiser or lab concern should aware & must inform customer that final garment swatch is not correct standard for making lab dip. Sometimes Buyer gives pantone number as color standard.
4. Confirm Fabrication before making lab dip
Fabrication is important because color gets different on different fabrication. So merchandiser or lab in-charge must confirm fabric composition beforehand & its type also. As mentioned above single jersey lab dip cannot be approval for 1×1 fabric type. Similarly 100% cotton fabric cannot be for cotton/elastane; plain jersey cannot be for slab jersey. Suppose if buyer wants a shade on 100% cotton & giving a shade in mixed fiber then rejecting the lab dip each time for not matching shade. This is actually not for color percentage but for composition .A mixed fiber shade may also vary for its percentage. So before making lab dip, confirm composition. Without confirming the composition if you go for lab dip every time it will be rejected.
5. Dyestuff and dyeing process used for lab dip preparation
Dye type is important because each type of dyeing has different recipe. Some time buyer may not tell you the dyeing process but you have to confirm before making the lab dip. Or some time you have to identify the dye type base on your final garment process. If garment has discharge print you must do discharge dye though buyer ask for reactive dye. Suppose you make lab dip in reactive dye & as usual buyer give approval then make fabric but no one was aware of print technique &when go for discharge print you see nothing is happening. Because discharge print require discharge dyedfabric. Discharge prints actually burn the fabric color &stay on the place. So by doing reactive dye you cannot achieve discharge print. On the other hand discharge dye a bit costly than normal dye. That means you will do big wrong in calculation & fabric dyeing.
6. All Over Print (AOP) lab dip ; consider light ground
Many merchandisers do mistake by taking approval on body color for AOP. Actually for AOP need to consider light ground for lab dip or fabric color. Suppose AOP has five color including ground. If ground is dark color & consider for print it will be wrong .Because AOP cannot be done on dark color. On red color ground not possible to do white print but on white ground red can be done nicely. So this is good to take always light color or white for AOP. If no light color is found to consider ground for print take white ground for fabric color. In this case total print color will be five & ground color white will not be visible. So it will affect your price also if you consider four color prints during price negotiation.
7. Yarn dip & its time
Yarn dip is same as lab dip just in yarn form, done for yarn dyed fabric. Yarn dye process is very lengthy & not easy to make frequently. So yarn dip also takes little longer time than normal lab dip. If normal lab dip can be done by a week, yarn dip requires minimum two weeks to prepare. Here merchandiser must calculate days from 1st yarn dip submission to approval, revised submission if require altogether 30 days minimum & some time more than this. So make sure to give priorityfor yarn dip submission & consider maximum time that require for approval.
8. Lab Dip Process for Garment over dye
If Garment has over dye program lab dip has to be done in different form. Over dye lab dip is not exactly same as general lab dip process. As garment has to put in the washing machine for dye & can achieve vintage look the lab dip also require doing in the same process. Big sizes fabric panel sewn both side like a bag keep in the machine & dye it. This panel is used as lab dip for garment over dye & for the next step. Recently some washing plant established lab machine for development but this is actually not available in Bangladesh.
9. Foreign Lab dip
Foreign lab dip means if you are going to buy fabric from foreign country that time you have to take lab dip approval also. To take foreign lab dip approval merchandiser must keep close monitoring. See how foreign lab dip requires time –
- Merchandiser receive standard from buyer.
- Then courier the standard to supplier for making lab dip.
- After that Supplier take minimum two weeks to make it.
- Send it to merchandiser.
- Merchandiser reviews it & send to buyer.
- Buyers receive the lab dip then givecomment.
- If 1st submission is approved that makes easy for bulk.
- But if not then again start the lab dip cycle & wait for approval.
From the above process we see for foreign lab dip need to get approval at 1stsubmission. If 2nd or 3rd is required definitely all the process will be delayed. So merchandiser must be aware to send correct standard in due date & tell supplier to do lab dip properly. Some time it is suggested to send lab dip directly to buyer from fabric supplier. It will save at least one week on all the process.
10. How to store Lab dip
For a merchandiser or lab concern this is very important to keep the lab dip in secure place. The below idea can help to keep it.
- Keep lab dip inside a plastic bag.
- Keep away from light.
- Keep it in secure place away from all kinds of dust.
- Put date on every submission so that lab dip can be identified in sequence.
- Attach buyers comment on each submission.
- Finally put approved mark on approved shade.