Fashion is one of the largest consumer industries out there. The need for self-expression has conquered the planet, but it’s that same need that has driven overproduction and environmental destruction. It’s for these key reasons that many consumers are turning away from big-name brands in favor of smaller brands that offer them something unique and something that was made in better conditions.
This shift and willingness to spend more on quality has driven the rise of small and independent brands in ways the world hasn’t seen in decades. While yes, some big-name suppliers are dominating sales, the rising awareness of production practices and environmentalism has expanded the customer base for small retailers that do right. This means it’s your time, so use this guide to help launch your own fashion line:
How are you going to stand out?
Know your audience and design for them.
If you love fitness and have an issue with athleticwear, start there. Design unique sportswear that feels good to wear, and then focus your efforts on that in the beginning. From there, you can move into athleisure or even streetwear if you want.
What to consider when choosing manufacturers
When it comes to manufacturers, you need to be aware of the level of services you need and also what is best for you. As a small designer, you have the opportunity to really put sustainable practices to work, which can help you stand out from the big fast fashion brands – and also helps justify your higher prices. At the end of the day, you won’t be able to sell as low as other businesses because you cannot produce enough to make things affordable at that level of scale, especially not without harming the people involved or the planet.
It’s actually best to look locally. An American-based activewear apparel manufacturers has all the latest machinery and services you need to bring your designs to life and lets you enjoy higher-quality production and a more intimate design process. These manufacturers typically offer everything from pattern making to cutting and sewing, so you don’t need to have patterns ready to go to get started, just a collection of designs.
Start small and grow your audience
Building up your brand is essential, but you don’t have to hold off on kickstarting your business until you have a set amount of followers. Start with a small collection, take great product and editorial photography and videos (these can even be done with a phone nowadays in a pinch), and start marketing.
Grow your audience, sell your designs, and then partner with your customers so that you can show your real designs in action.
Starting with a small run keeps costs low, though the price per piece won’t be very cost-effective.
As you grow your audience through marketing and collaboration, you’re also going to want to market your line to fashion buyers.
How to get fashion buyers interested
Fashion buyers work for stores. They are the ones that decide what lines and brands get sold. While it can be hard to get your stuff sold when you’re just starting out in big stores, it’s entirely possible in smaller and independent ones. This takes time, but keep at it and grow your stockists so you can enjoy some consistent sales and a boost to your notoriety.