Ever wondered what is the most searched item in any designer’s search history? In all probability, it is “how to start a clothing line?” All designers have looked up for this at least once. And why shouldn’t they? The whole point of becoming a designer is to express oneself through their clothing lines. The carefully crafted collections of any designer find their true meaning when it reaches the prospective buyers.
For anyone who has been on the fence for a long time, here is a list of things to consider before taking the plunge. Stop wondering about how to start a clothing line, understand the aspects to make things work for you. With an understanding of these aspects, there will only be one thing left to do – act on making your dreams come true!
Read that again! As much as one worries about how to start a clothing line, understanding the need to build a brand is equally critical. A brand encompasses the idea, the vision, the philosophy and the values. Every collection that is put forward by the designer or the startup needs to be in line with these principles. Thus, there are the intangible aspects to be considered along with the tangible ones for a clothing line. Here are some important aspects that go into building a clothing brand.
Anyone working in the fashion industry, especially someone who designs clothes, is familiar with what a clothing line is – a collection of apparel designed for a targeted consumer base and sold via different channels. It isn’t uncommon for a designer to concentrate on a clothing line independent of their previous lines or the future ones, especially while working towards building a brand. Instead of asking oneself, “how to start a clothing line”, one needs to ask, “how to build a clothing brand”.
Every piece in every collection by a designer is created for a customer. Whether it is an exclusive collection or a generic clothing line, there is always someone the apparel is intended for. A designer rarely creates a design just to save it.
When customers play such an important role behind every collection, it becomes imperative to know them before working on the collection. Is the designer working for males, females or for those searching gender neutral clothing? Is the collection targeted at adults or children? Is it for a specific purpose – partywear, sportswear or casualwear? There are so many options to consider, even before beginning to think about the design. So, the answer to the question, “how to start a clothing line” is a straightforward “beginning with identifying the target customers”.
Developing a brand identity is closely related to identifying the target customers. Some tangible aspects of the brand identity are: the logo, the name, the colors or the fonts chosen to represent the brand. But the more important aspects are the intangible ones. What does the brand stand for? Who is it meant for? What are its values? Does it stand for saving the environment, expressing oneself or fluanting a luxurious lifestyle? What does the brand offer what the competitors don’t? These may be difficult questions to answer, but are necessary ones, when defining the brand identity. When the brand identity is defined, the clothing lines also have a defined direction. This helps the designer to better express themselves. So, the next time one looks for an answer to the question, “how to start a clothing line”, it will be helpful to remember what the brand stands for.
The next and very important aspect to consider when starting a clothing brand is to finalize the Business Model to follow. Even within the fashion industry, there are a number of possible business models that a startup can choose from. Some of the popular ones are noted ahead for ease of reference.
Each of these models has its own advantages and disadvantages. One must weigh each of these carefully, and measure it against their business philosophy and the brand identity, before finalizing one.
As important as defining the business model is identifying the sales channel for the finished pieces. Whether one intends to sell via retail stores, exclusive studios, clothing marketplaces or own website, the options are numerous. A brand may choose to use one or a combination of any of these channels. It should depend on the Brand Identity (is it an exclusive brand?) and the Business Model. The demographics of the target customers also plays an important role in defining a sales channel. The youth may prefer online channels over the physical ones. Thus, when thinking about “how to start a clothing line”, it is important to consider how it will be sold to the end customer.
Having a robust supply chain is the backbone of any business that deals with tangible products. Imagine a situation where one needs to deliver a clothing line to the stores next month and the supplier of fabrics fails to make the delivery on the promised date! Sounds like a nightmare, doesn’t it?
Depending on the business model one chooses, they will need to find the relevant suppliers and manufacturers, who can deliver the required materials (fabric, accessories, embellishments, etc.). Once the business model is decided, a great way to find the best suppliers is an online platform like Fashinza. The end-to-end platform, created for the fashion industry, offers a huge and dependable network of suppliers and manufacturers for the designers and businesses.
Undoubtedly one of the most important aspects of a clothing line as well as brand. This is generally the first aspect that leads to a make-or-break purchase decision by the customer. Price a little high and the customer decides not to purchase, price a little low and the profits take a hit. Running a business is an expensive proposition. The most reliable funds for it come from the sales and the profits thereof. So, it is critical to define the precise price points, for the business to be self-sustainable.
As is clear, the decision to start a clothing business is not straightforward. There are numerous aspects to be considered. “How to start a clothing line” may appear to be an innocent question. But the answers and the dilemmas they throw up are enough to demotivate a designer. After all, a designer is more concerned with the creative aspect of things. But just a little bit of effort to begin with, finding answers to a few critical questions and one can be on the exponential path to success. Instead of feeling demotivated, face the fears and find the relevant answers, to turn your dream of a clothing line into reality. For all the support in the form of information, network of suppliers, manufacturers and even peers, one can rely on Fashinza. The platform has been designed keeping in mind the specific needs of the fashion industry and is a great place to find all one is looking for, when launching a clothing brand.