So you wanna learn how to start a clothing line?
- whether you are a fashion designer who was just starting out or
- you already owned a fashion business and looking forward to upgrading your design skills, or
- maybe you wanted to start a fashion business in future and it’s your dream.
Creating a fashion collection from idea to the customer is lots of moving pieces and such a complicated subject, to begin with.
But that’s ok! I totally got together all those pieces into easy steps so you can sit back and enjoy the process rather than overwhelm and scary.
For real, ultimately you design a collection to bring you sales and profit that run your business right?
Anyone can design a fashion collection but the winning collection is the one that sells.
Today, you are going to learn:
- The 3 main stages of how to start a clothing line, from idea to a customer. Design, create and sell and what goes into each of these stages.
- what really is important as a fashion designer to focus on out of all the 3? and what can be delegated?
- Behind the scenes of What goes into my design process? The 5 steps: Research, plan, design, draw, present.
- A cute checklist that walks you through the whole process.
By the end of this blog post, you will walk away with a clear plan and inspiration to start your clothing line.
Let’s get started!
The 3 main stages of how to start a clothing line. From idea to the customer and what goes into each of these stages.
The process of fashion collection is broken down into 3 main stages. which are the design stage, create stage and selling stage.
The design stage is where all the research begins from the customer data to your inspiration, style direction, trend research and then filtering that data and transforming into your brand new creations.
The whole process at this stage looks like:
- Getting clear on your customer and understanding what they need (a.k.a target market)
- Researching the trends, customer data, competitors or market research and developing a style file.
- Finding inspiration and developing the colour story
- Researching the fabrics and trims and creating a fabric board.
- Transforming the ideas, data, colours, inspiration, fabrics and developing design ideas
- Finalizing the designs and creating fashion sketches.
Create stage is where we develop physical products, I mean clothes.
Create stage process looks like:
- creating working drawings, spec sheets and tech packs
- sampling the garment on calico or muslin
- Reviewing the garment and making any changes
- Creating the first sample
- manufacturing the garments
Then the selling stage involves:
- getting our products to the buyers, into the stores
- Packaging and branding the products
- selling them online or offline in the boutiques.
- marketing your collection
- and so much more.
It’s a lot! I know right?
Many new fashion designers in fashion industry or starting out with fashion business or fashion brand try to do all these things by themselves which ultimately brings overwhelm and failure. But you don’t have to. Thankfully we can delegate create and selling stages. Meaning we can hire people to do these two stages for us. There are manufacturing units and Marketing people that are specialized in this and can take care most of these if you just reached them.
What to focus on when starting your fashion collection?
As long as you want the fashion designer tag and as long as you want to run a fashion business or start a clothing business, you can’t escape from the design stage.
Of course, you could hire others for this stage but the problem is, your fashion collections look like their designs rather than yours and not to mention, if your employees change, so do your designs and your brand and finally chaos.
So I would definitely recommend you to focus on upgrading your design skills and learn new ways to build your creativity…
Ultimately your designs are the key to success. If your design is super awesome in the first place, you are already halfway to success.
To help you out, I put together a checklist that walks you through the entire design stage that tells you what to do, when to do and how to do the whole process.
Click the button below to download the checklist.
Also to get you some inspiration, I bring you:
Behind the scenes of how I design a fashion collection?
My 5 step design process looks like:
Step 1: Research
- I begin with writing down the initial ideas of what I wanted to work on.
- then I define my client, like who am I designing for? What does she like? what colours does she love? What types of clothes do she wears? the place, age, occasion, occupation, the time she lives in? Where exactly she buys clothes and the places she shops from?
- I get all this information by surveying a bunch of people that fall into my ideal client.
Step 2: Plan
- Based on the data, I actually understand what exactly my girl wanted without any guesswork. then I start to think what she wants in her wardrobe for the next season and range planning of how many pieces that I wanted to create.
- Followed by brainstorming theme ideas.
- Once I have done with the theme selection, I start collecting related images on Pinterest then develop into a mood board.
- I then develop colour palette out of the theme. This checklist has a list of tools that help you in this process. then i add trend colours to complete the palette.
- Now I research latest trends that I want to incorporate in my fashion collection. then I create a style board that helps me to go with the right direction of trends.
Step 3: Design
- By now I have all the raw pieces. This is the time I sit down to develop styles using my research, inspiration and everything. This is the most time taking process for me. I spend weeks on this and develop hundreds of styles without looking for perfection and let my creativity flow.
- then we have meeting with the client and we discuss and choose the best based on the previous sales data. we eliminate most of them and keep the rest for next collection.
Step 4: Draw
- Once the designs are finalized, I create the final fashion illustrations to communicate the design idea with rest of the members and the clients can use these as promo materials.
I have a bunch of tutorials if you want to learn fashion illustrations. I put the links below.
Step 5: Present
- Finally, present it to the client so they can move forward with the creation process. or sometimes I help the client to create initial samples in calico. But this is the end of the design process.
Hope you got some insights into the process of creating a fashion line.
If you wanted to get started with your own, download this checklist as it walks you through the in-depth process every single time.
To recap, we discussed the
- 3 steps to start a clothing line
- What you need to focus on
- Behind the scenes of my design process.
- Download the fashion collection checklist to get started with your fashion collection
- Plan your fashion collection using the steps in the checklist.
- Finally, leave a comment with your biggest takeaway and any questions related to this topic. I do answer.
Disclaimer: There might be many other ways to start a fashion collection but this is how I do and work for me and for my clients as well as my students. If you can find a better way or you can do this in a better way, you are welcome and also please share your process with us in the comments below.