17 Common and Useful Terms Used In Apparel Merchandising

17 Common and Useful Terms Used In Apparel Merchandising

The apparel merchandising industry has a vast jargon of its own. A key-link between the factory and the consumer, apparel merchandising plays an integral part in communicating the product to retail stores and consumers.

Here we look at some of the most useful terms used in apparel merchandising and what they mean

    1. AQL: Is an acronym for Acceptance Quality Level. In factories acceptance quality is simply denoted by AQL.
    2. Vendor: Is the seller of merchandise or the manufacture or supplier of apparel.
    3. Up-charge: Is an additional cost which gets added into the cost of production due to things like embroidery, label, packing method, etc. These additions are usually as per the buyer’s instruction and will usually increase the manufacturing cost.
    4. Thread run: An important term in the sewing section. The stitching thread and color for the same is known as thread run.
    5. Strike-off: The artwork section does a trial sample made by printer or computerized embroidery, which a merchandiser sends to a buyer for approval. This is known as a strike-off.

  1. SMV: Is an acronym for Standard Minute Value. This term is related to garment time study.
  2. Offshore assembly: This is purchased fabric that has been cut and will be given to another country for sewing before making it’s way to retail stores.
  3. Modular manufacturing: This is when a manufacturing process utilizes a small group of people who work together to produce a finished garment.
  4. Mark-up: The difference between the manufacturing or cost price and selling price.
  5. Mark- down: The difference between the original retail price and a reduced price.
  6. Line balancing: This is the plan of balancing the production schedule as per time and action calendar.
  7. Lead time: Is the time from placing an order to the time the order is delivered. Generally lead time is 90 to 120 days.
  8. Ex-works: Is a pricing term in which the exporter’s only responsibility is to clear the goods for export and make them available to the buyer at an agreed destination.
  9. Bill of lading: This is a receipt of goods received given by a logistic company. This document provides the terms and conditions between the exporter/shipper and the transportation/logistic company to move freight between stated points at a specified charge.
  10. Cutting order: Is a company’s document to maintain cut and reproduce a specific quantity of garments.
  11. Back tacking: Is also known as a safe stitch which is done after completing a stitch. The direction of back tacking is usually opposite to the main stitch.


There are many terms and definitions in merchandising apparel. These are just some of the most commonly used ones, from factories to retails shop and finally even to consumers.

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