Below are some tips you need to know before getting started.
1. Know your Market- Any business book or self-help guru will tell you this, but in the fashion industry this is especially important. Your market determines how much you can sell your clothing for, what style of clothing, what colors, even your clothing line name. It's important to do research, which doesn't always have to be in the form of sitting behind a computer looking up boring statistical data. Get out into the market, check out malls, movie theaters, and anywhere else your ideal market goes. Look at magazines that focus on your demographics, TV shows, even your own closet. Ask yourself why you spent the money you did on your clothing items.
2. Meet your Peers- This step has personally saved me countless hours of agony by allowing me to learn from others mistakes. A simple search engine query of Fashion Forums will pull up some indispensable information on websites where other clothing line owners, both successful and not, meet to discuss the fashion industry, techniques to use on clothing, even vendors to use for printing and apparel.
3. Name It- This is one of the most time consuming yet rewarding parts. Name your clothing. Come up with a catchy clothing line name that really displays what your line is about. Ask yourself what perception you want your market to have about your clothing line, and name it accordingly. This is the most important step, you have to have a name worth mentioning, if not why would a store take a chance on your line, and why would a consumer want to wear your clothing if you name doesn't fit the market?
4. Inc it- You know your market, you have peers in forums who are willing to answer any questions, you have a catchy name, now it's time to put it in the record books. Incorporating can be an entire article by itself, but let me forewarn you, it's not as difficult as it may seem. You could always pay a lawyer a couple hundred bucks to do it for you, or you can do a little research and save a lot of money.
5. Designs- If you're a graphic designer you're ahead of the game, however for the average person including myself, you'll need someone to design your shirts. Since the invent of the internet this step is easy! Write an ad on any of the countless classified ads advertising a graphic designer for a clothing line project, then watch your inbox blow up. Graphic artist can charge by the hour or project, although I suggest only going with those who charge by the project. The basic prices can be anywhere from $30 - $1,000.00, it just depends on what you want done and who you talk to.
6. Wear 2?- You have your design but no clothes, now what? Well again doing a simple search online of wholesale dealers can pull up some great sources of blank T-shirts, Jackets and Jeans. Here is where your incorporating comes in handy. One of the forms you are going to want to fill out is the Sales & Use Tax License Number (Form names may differ from state to state). This number will allow you to purchase goods at wholesale prices instead of retail. If you don't want to go this route, another great source is your local flea markets. They can sell at bulk rates and have some excellent quality clothing.
7. Print It- Once you have your design together and your clothing, next is the printer. This is typically the most costly part of your clothing line, and for a good reason. If you just go for the cheapest, that's what you'll get. Research printers in your area, ask to see their work and ask for references. This is where the forum mentioned in Step 2 is helpful. Talk to the forum about printers in your area and see if anyone has had experience with them.
8. Now the Fun Begins- Get out there and market your clothes.