The glamor and high stakes of the fashion industry can be enticing for anyone. Or you may simply have a talent for fashion design and an entrepreneurial mindset that does not let you work under others. You want to be your own boss.
In any case, starting your own clothing company is a viable option for you. You need an initial investment of time and money. You also need a lot of effort. But all great things start small. So the first thing you need is optimism. In this article, we hope to help you get a general framework of how you can get your designs on the production line and into retail store shelves.
Table of Contents
Make Your Designs
The first step, you may have guessed, is to have your designs in hand. But it is not as simple as drawing a garment on paper. You need to map out every detail of the garment. The real scope of the instructions of design exceeds this article.
However, we recommend you read up on a few books on design and use the Internet as your guide. You draw out the garment in a form called ‘flats’. Flats are two-dimensional forms of design that depict every possible detail on paper. Once you are finished with these, it is time for the next step.
Collect Sample Materials
Now that you are done with your initial design, you need to collect the samples for all the fabrics you wish to use. You need the zips and buttons you wish to sew into your designs. Basically, anything you wish to include in the final garment, you need a sample of it. Then you need to decide where you are going to source the materials from.
Make Your Patters
For all your garments, you need to have your patterns designed. You can find sample patterns online and get them printed. If you have a very specific vision of what you want, you can hire an independent contractor to make your patterns for you.
Once you have your patterns ready, and you have your materials in hand, you need to create a prototype. A prototype will be an initial completed sample of your design. You will need prototypes for all your designs in order to create a lookbook.
Lookbooks and Marketing
To create a lookbook, you need to have several considerations in mind. For example, if you are designing a clothing line for jackets, you need to decide where you want to conduct the photoshoot.
If you want an outdoor photoshoot, what climate do you want to depict? You need to hire models and a photographer. You need to make sure that you can convey your ideas for your lookbook to your photographer. You can even hire a stylist who will arrange all the different accessories and other garments that will work best with your jackets.
Now that your lookbook is finalized, you need to send it to retailers and wholesalers and you need to hope that they will buy your designs. Or you can create a website or a social media accounts for your brand. On that platform, it is a good idea to publish your lookbook and book pre-orders. This allows you to directly interact with your consumers and eliminates the need for middlemen such as retailers.
Sending to a Factory for Production
At this point, you will need a perfect finalized product that you can send your factory of choice for production. You can not use a prototype. You need the final products for your jackets and a digital datasheet that contains the details of all your products. Then you need to send these to a custom jacket wholesaler factory.
Now you have options. Some factories provide you with a full package, from making patterns to sourcing materials. This tends to be cheaper than hiring independent contractors for all the different steps in your production process. Now that you have sent your designs to a production line, you are almost done.
Now that you have your final products in bulk in front of you, you need to check for defects. Defective products need to be repaired or discarded. You also need to make sure that such defects are minimized in the future. Communicate with your factory to figure out what went wrong.
It is time to pack and ship your orders now. Get them to your clients within the time you promised. Being a start-up, it is a good idea to send a personalized note or a complimentary goodie to show your clients you care about them. This will give your client a lasting impression and they are more likely to reorder from you.
Congratulations! You have your own clothing line now. All that is left to do is to maintain this cycle. Do not let small hiccups slow your progress. Make sure to maintain good relationships with every contact you make in your production process. There will always be disagreements in business relationships but do not let that hinder your success. You will learn from your experiences and figure out what works best for you. Good luck!