Planning Your Fashion Brand Before Production

Got a head full of fashion ideas but not a clue on how to start? Here’s how.

Create a brand plan

Starting a new fashion brand is an exciting venture whether you are a university graduate producing your first collection or an established business looking to expand into new areas. One of the first things to think about before jumping feet first into your new enterprise is to establish your objectives and brand plan to get the ball rolling.

Some of the best ideas never make it to the prototype stage; so ensuring you have everything you need before you get started in the production process will help to make this stage smooth and simple.

Establishing your business and brand plan is the first stage in making your dream a reality, so asking yourself some important questions will ensure you set both short-term and long-term goals for your new business.

Take a look at some of the areas to consider when creating your brand plan:

Define your reasons for creating a clothing brand

The fashion industry is competitive but with the range of resources available it is becoming accessible to people that have passion and drive to create unique clothing. Thinking about why you want to start a new clothing line can help to identify your target audience and also define your niche in the industry.

Define your target market

Many businesses fail because they do not identify the audience they are talking to. For small fashion businesses, this is particularly important as you may not have an established voice in the industry and will rely on targeting specific customers to bring your ideas to life.

Think big (or small)

One of the main reasons why people enter the fashion industry is that they can see the potential for their designs to flourish. This entrepreneurial spirit helps to create a vision for the future and enables innovative business owners the chance to plan ahead. Creating a vision usually involves big plans but in fact, they can often start small too. In clothing production, designing and manufacturing small runs can often lead to exclusive and sought-after collections, so defining your long-term vision should be suited to your brand and target audience.

Set out a timeline

Time is important in any sector and when you are bringing a product to launch having a timeline and set milestones in place will ensure that production stays on track. Creating a calendar for clothing production can be a tricky task and there are several factors to consider when setting out dates for your overall objectives.

If you are able to provide a timeline, this will also give clothing manufacturers a better understanding of your goals. It is also important to be realistic. Although some manufacturers will be able to accommodate quick turnarounds, this could result in errors in the process, which in turn will set you back further than expected.

There should be enough time in your planning and production process to navigate and correct errors. Working closely with your clothing manufacturer will give you the opportunity to negotiate turnaround times and consider the factors they might encounter when producing your clothing. You should always give yourself enough time rather than too little, as this will reduce the scale of errors or external mitigating factors that could affect production.

Budgeting

Whether you are creating a small clothing collection or are hoping to start a new retail chain, setting a realistic budget for your brand is essential. There are several steps in the clothing production process and accounting for every aspect will ensure your cashflow can keep up with your plans.

A good way to keep track of everything is to create a costing guide, which showcases the associated costs for each item you plan to sell. This guideline will also assist in setting the final price of products and give you an idea of the type of profit you could expect from your first run. (potential business support link)

Budgeting for clothing manufacturing costs also gives you the chance to research suppliers for your price point. By comparing costs, you can see weigh up the pros and cons of each manufacturer before committing.

Another important element to consider when planning your clothing production budget is where your supplier is based. There are a host of options to choose from including UK clothing manufacturers and overseas options, and this could assist you in determining costs for shipping, logistics, convenience and time allocations for communication.

Being realistic and ensuring you have contingencies in place will give you a clearer idea of your requirements in order to plan and produce a profitable collection.

Further information: How To Start a Clothing Brand

Product development and clothing production

After you have successfully created a brand plan and have sufficient budget to move onto the production stage, learning how to utilise your resources will ensure you work with the best clothing manufacturers for your business ideas. In the past, getting started in the apparel industry would have been a difficult task for fashion industry outsiders but we have developed an innovative platform to find relevant clothing producers from across the globe in a simple and straightforward way.

Sewport understands that starting a new business is time-consuming and challenging, and our fresh approach to sourcing and producing both small and large garment runs enables you to manage your production process and budget effectively.

Take a look at some of the most common factors when developing your clothing line for production:

Find suitable clothing manufacturers

Long gone are the days of elite lists and fashion insider exclusivity, clothing manufacturers are open for business and working with a host of small and large organisations to produce quality garments for both the UK and overseas markets. Research is vital to ensuring you get the best price for your requirements but also, this insight establishes what the manufacturer can do for your business and whether they can accommodate your ideas.

Utilising the Sewport platform gives you access to hundreds of suppliers that can cater to your individual needs, and everything can be completed in one place from initial communication to tracking delivery of the finished product. It is easy to set up an account and talk to clothing manufacturers directly and gain valuable information to help you make your first order.

Join the Sewport community

Types of clothing manufacturer

Another deciding factor when choosing a clothing producer is what services they provide. There are two main areas to consider when looking at production and this is whether you need a factory to produce straight from your specifications and tech pack or you require a full-scale service from pattern creation through to finished product.

CMT clothing production

For fashion brands that are confident in their designs and have created a comprehensive tech pack for a supplier to use, choosing a CMT (Cut, Make, Trim) producer is an ideal choice. This type of method enables you to have full control over the design and packaging process and works well for smaller established brands that have built a positive relationship with a supplier.

FPP clothing production

Full Production Package (FPP) is great for new businesses that have less experience in the industry. This method provides a full service including everything from assisting in designing styles and patterns to producing the final garments. It can prove more expensive than CMT production, but to get your fashion business off the ground, it can often provide the perfect starting point.

Creating a Tech Pack

When developing your ideas for your new fashion brand, you’ll have an initial concept image that will provide the basis for your clothing line. Rather than just giving a clothing manufacturer this basic outline, producing a tech pack can help to identify all the small details required to make your finished product.

A tech pack can help to minimise errors in the production process and if you can provide as much information as possible such as measurements, colours and fabric type, this will make the process smoother. A tech pack not only provides a solid foundation to get production started, it also ensures everyone is on the same page and your design is easily translatable to the manufacturer.

Further information: How To Create a Tech Pack for Garment Production

How to communicate with clothing manufacturers

Effective communication is key when bringing your clothing line to production so considering what type of questions you might ask and understanding the processes will assist in getting accurate information the first time. As a new business, terminology might be overwhelming and knowing the type of pitfalls to avoid will guide you through this experience.

Take a look at some of the common areas to consider when talking to potential suppliers:

Terminology

No one expects you to know everything as a new business owner but grasping the basics can help get you through an initial conversation with a clothing manufacturer. If you are not able to clearly explain your ideas and vision, you may not get the correct advice or quotes back when enquiring, which could result in time-wasting and potential errors in the long run.

Further information: Clothing Production Terminology

Understanding minimum order quantities (MOQs)

It is commonplace in clothing production for manufacturers to have a minimum order quantity (MOQ’s) when creating designs. In some cases, you may find that factories can only produce bulk quantities, as smaller runs prove more expensive. If you are looking to order less, there is still a wide choice of suppliers that can meet your requirements.

Deciding the number of garments you require is an important part of the planning process and considering styles and sizes will also assist when ordering quantities. At Sewport, there is a range of clothing producers that can accommodate smaller runs as well as bulk orders.

Samples

Samples are an essential part of the production process and are useful during the initial research and planning stage, but also vital before final production. Samples will help you establish whether the feel and look of the clothing is right for your brand and whether the quality is suitable. Later in the production phase, your final sample will need to be checked before you commit to your final run. It is worth noting that some suppliers charge for samples, and these can be a higher unit cost than your finished product. This cost should be factored into your brand plan and forms an essential part of the planning process to ensure everything is correct and perfect for your new fashion collection.

Discussing timeframes

Setting timeframes and keeping a clear line of communication open with suppliers is vital to ensure everything goes to plan. With the help of Sewport, all of this can be done from your account to avoid mixed messages or missed deadlines. Working with your manufacturer to get a realistic timeframe will ensure that expectations are met. Negotiation may be required at this stage, as you may require a quick turnaround but reaching a mutual agreement will be beneficial to both parties to keep your brand launch on track.

Establishing a good relationship with a clothing producer is beneficial for everyone and as a new business, it can help you build solid foundations in the industry.

Further information: How To Talk To Clothing Manufacturers

How Many Styles Is Too Many On Your Product Line?

I get this question a lot. While there’s no perfect answer, here are a few guidelines:

    • There’s a difference between the number of styles and the number of pieces you have to show a customer (or a retail store buyer). You can have 5 styles, each in 3 colors, which will give you 15 pieces for a buyer to choose from. That’s a nice selection.
    • If you’re selling online, you want enough pieces to fill up a page so your online shop looks full. This could mean 9 pieces (9 different options for the customer to choose from) and I think 12 looks pretty good. Of course, you can have many more than 12. Keep in mind, 9 PIECES could really be just 3 STYLES, each in 3 different colors.
    • If you’re doing womenswear, I vote for 3 – 8 styles for your first collection. 
    • I strongly recommend you keep your product assortment narrow when you first start. You don’t need to launch with a whole mix of pants, skirts, tops, blazers, handbags, etc. WHat they taught you in fashion school is NOT what you need to do.
    • There’s nothing wrong with starting with just one type of product, like just skirts. You don’t need more than that! It’s OK to get known for one thing and you can always add products as you go. I know one designer who makes girls’ hair accessories – mostly bows – and that’s it. And she sells a truckload of them! You can make a great living with a small product assortment.
    • Within one product category, you still have options. For instance, you can have short skirts, long skirts, embellished skirts, whatever.  They are skirts. It is one product. You have one length of zipper that you usually get. You have a certain type of closure. It’s easier. It’s not as exhausting and a full collection. From a manufacturing standpoint, it’s not as big of a challenge.
    • Having been a retailer for a long time, I can tell you there is something great about a line that comes in and says, “I do skirts, that’s what I have”.  Then I know where to go when I need a skirt.  I know what they do. It’s straightforward and it’s easily understandable.
    • If you design jewelry, think about how many pieces will make a nice “story” in a retail store, at a craft show, or from your online store. Jewelry and accessories look best when they’re merchandised together and make a statement to the customer. You often need a certain number of pieces from the same group to look good on a table in a retail setting.
    • Dresses can be more ITEM. Meaning that they don’t need to be merchandised together as much into groups – it’s usually OK to have a dress here or there. Dresses stand on their own. One of my most successful clients started with 3 dresses. That’s it! ner launch and her line were constrained and manageable. Fast forward to today, she carries tops, skirts, pants, jumpsuits — all the things. But Phase One was just 3 styles of dresses. Simple.

 

If you’re just getting started with your clothing line, our Launch A Line will give you an exact blueprint to go from idea in your head to an actual profitable business.

“Launch A Line” is a step-by-step online course for those who want to start a clothing line or are thinking about starting a line. It’s your ultimate shortcut to understand and master the business side of launching a successful business. Click here to check it out

So now I’d like to know what you think. What product do you make? Did you start with a broad assortment, get exhausted, and narrow it down? Tell me your story in the comments below!

Satin Dress Styles to Spice Up Your Wardrobe

When it comes to satin, there is nothing quite like the way the classic evening gown brings out the exquisite shine and flow of the fabric. But there are other ways satin can bring out the best of summer fashion. (Satin prints, satin blouses, denim paired with satin)

Satin prints

V-neck midi dress with double thin straps that cross and tie at back. Front pleat detail. Slit at hem. Side hidden in-seam zip closure.

Satin blouses

This blouse features a high neck with button closures behind the neck, long balloon sleeves with button cuffs, an open back design with a self tie closure and a satin touch. This blouse comes in beige.

Denim paired with satin

 

The slim-fitting button down silhouette gets an elevated spin thanks to the stretch charmeuse fabrication, designed for a comfortable fit. Take the buttons as high or low as you please to make this style your own.

X Graphic Tee Genres to Stay Ahead of the Trend

Retro-fonts and styles, anime-tees, and classic slogans.

Once upon a time, t-shirts were simple and practical—a piece of clothing easy to pull on and wear. But as fashion has evolved over the years, so have t-shirts too. Every year, new trends emerge in t-shirt fashion, offering stylish and sophisticated looks that set them apart from the plain tees of the past.

If you’re looking to stay ahead of the t-shirt fashion curve, you’ll want to know what trends to expect in 2022 and beyond. Here are ten t-shirt trends that are sure to be big in the coming years.

VINTAGE TEES

As retro styles continue to gain in popularity worldwide, it’s no surprise that vintage tees are also rising in popularity. These older t-shirts offer a timeless look that’ll never go out of style. If you’re a fan of vintage styles, be on the lookout for t-shirts that feature classic logos and designs. Moreover, if you want to embrace this trend even further, consider pairing your vintage tee with some retro accessories to complete the look.

ANIME T-SHIRTS

 

If you’re a fan of anime or manga, you’ll want to watch t-shirts that embrace this trend. From bright colors and fun patterns to detailed graphics and iconic characters, there’s no shortage of amazing anime t-shirts on the market today. Whether you want something casual, fancy, or somewhere in between, there’s bound to be an anime t-shirt for you.

MINIMALISTIC T-SHIRT

Minimalistic t-shirts are becoming a popular choice for anyone who wants a simple and understated look. These t-shirts feature clean lines, basic colors, and a minimalist design that lets the quality of the fabric speak for itself. If you’re looking for a t-shirt that’ll let your outfit do the talking, then a minimalistic t-shirt is perfect. With its simple and understated design, it’s sure to become your go-to top for any occalsion.

X No Frills Dress Styles for the Coming Summer Season

Summer’s easiest outfit formula — the dress — is experiencing a nostalgic twist this year, thanks to the gaudy yet beloved comeback of the early aughts. The optimistic and playful Y2K aesthetic has been dominating Gen-Z style (and sentimental ‘80s and ‘90s babies) more than ever, whether it be the iconic dress-over-jeans look, platform flip-flops, or a bedazzled banana clip. Secondhand shopping and the cyclical nature of fashion have not only revived this formative decade, but this summer’s top dress trends are an ode to the 2000s.

NO. 1: SHEER MESH DRESSES

The era of sexy dressing is still having its post-quarantine moment and nostalgic sheer frocks are the archetypal summer staple. Wear a coordinated set underneath and minimalist strappy sandals to seal the look.

NO. 2: TUBE DRESSES

Akin to the tube top, the tankini, and the bandeau, the tube dress is an authentic early-aughts go-to piece. Whether in a minimal column shape or a playful printed mini, this strapless moment will take you back a few decades.

NO. 3: HALTER DRESSES

A classic style but still a nostalgic staple, the halter dress is a must-have this summer. In slinky silhouettes and easy materials, these statement dresses are light, effortless, and sexy. Internal Paris Hilton loading.

NO. 4: HANDKERCHIEF HEM DRESSES

The return of the flirty, uneven hem of the handkerchief dress is upon us. And Bella Hadid’s recent outing in a 2000s Roberto Cavalli dress is here to prove it. Complemented by plunging necklines and drop waists, these dresses are to be paired appropriately with anklets and butterfly clips.

NO. 5: COLORFUL CROCHET DRESSES

Bright hues and kitschy crochet are always trending for warm weather, so combine them for a maximal summer look. A statement dress with a neon bag and chunky flatforms will be our Y2K ensemble all summer long. Brands like Daily Paper and Staud are go-tos for these vibrant yet polished pieces.

NO. 6: SLIP DRESSES

One of the most well-recognized comebacks of the ‘90s and 2000s is the simple slip dress. Known for many iconic moments on the likes of Kate Moss and more, the sleek slip has a few modern updates for 2022. Miaou’s viral slip dress, Sir The Label’s timeless aesthetic, and Y2K brand UNIF’s pieces are a few to keep an eye on.