When you think of fashion, you probably think of runways, couture, and Alexander McQueen. The idea of starting a fashion line might not feel like a viable option, but this is far from the truth. Many thousands of entrepreneurs across the world have successfully started their own independent fashion lines, and there’s no reason why you can’t join them. The business models are wide-ranging, from those who make all their items from scratch and sell them through craft outlets such as Etsy, to others who use printing services to place their designs on basic t-shirts, to boutique stores with their own individual style. If you have a creative soul but a practical mind, fashion can be a great way to get your designs into the world whilst creating a lucrative business out of your art. There are even ways of operating that will allow you to do this in an ethical manner, making a profit without compromising on your ideals. In this post we'll look at ways to start an ethical fashion line.
The very first thing you’ll need when starting a fashion line is a strong design. This is the reason why people will buy your clothes, the unique selling point of your company. The easiest design feature is a 2-d image that you can print onto basic clothing items. Many companies have found this an incredibly successful route to sales. The designs don’t even have to be image-based - t-shirts with witty slogans have proven very popular in the past. The most important thing is to come up with a strong, unique concept that people will want to wear on their bodies. If you have more experience, you might want to play with changing the structure of the clothes themselves - this kind of design leads to higher manufacturing costs, but also potentially higher profits as you can build an exclusive, high-end look. Using eco-materials in your designs will help your clothing stay ethically conscious.
The next step is to manufacture the clothes themselves. You can do this yourself if you’re a talented sewer, but the process is labor-intensive and not a long-term business strategy. When small scale manufacturing goes mainstream, it can be hard to balance the need for plentiful garments with an ethical supply chain that doesn’t exploit any communities along the way. However, as the need for ethical fashion has entered the public consciousness, more companies have sprung up that specifically work to these standards. Ensure that you do your due diligence when researching which company to choose, as this choice will play a huge role in the ethical nature of your own business.
Once you have your clothing designed and developed, you will need to find an outlet through which to sell it - or several outlets, as the case may be. Online retail is a great place to sell, even if you also have a small boutique shop you can use as a base of operations. A company website is great, but you may also want to spread your eggs out of one basket. Marketplaces such as eBay, Etsy, and Amazon are fantastic ways for your product to reach a larger audience. However, they each charge sellers different amounts or percentages for each product sold, so it’s important to do your research before committing your sales to any site.
Starting a clothing line isn’t a mysterious realm - it’s just as complex yet achievable as starting any other product-based business. If you do your research and partner with the right companies, you can approach this ethically, starting an ethical fashion line of clothing with the highest standards.