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If you are reading this reading this, it’s likely that you’re planning on launching a clothing line or you already have one. If you don’t fall under these categories still keep on reading, you might find this useful in other ventures. The birth of a clothing line is relatively easy; you desire a piece of the fashion action or you are a creative trying to get your ideas out to the world, you gather up the funds needed, pick a stand out name for your line or choose to make it an eponymous label (if you have a cool sounding name like Raf Simons), create few cool looking pieces that you envision everyone drooling for and boom! You have yourself a clothing line that people will empty their wallets for. If only it was that simple.
It is easy to start a clothing line, but making it successful is the challenging part. Everyday new brands keep springing up and many quickly fade away from existences largely because of financial setback which is caused by the following:
Lack of Passion
Passion is an essential backbone behind any endeavor. Many fail at establishing a clothing line because they don’t have the passion for it; they are not ready for the work and challenges ahead. A dedicated and passionate mind will help one be more creative, surmounting obstacles and the reward will keep on rolling. If you are getting into the fashion world for the reward and gains only, you’re definitely going to fail. A look into the growth of Virgil Abloh shows how passion goes a long way into creating something iconic.
A major cause of failure for many clothing lines is sticking to a singular design approach when creating pieces. Initially successful, it tends to overtime become monotonous, boring, annoying and eventually disgusting to consumers. One must be prepared to take risks and try new styles and techniques. Experimenting can be attributed to the success of designers such as Yojhi Yamamoto and Rick Owens. In the words of Albert Einstein, “Creativity is intelligence having fun”.
Pricing is another factor that leads to a clothing line’s down fall. This is also a sensitive issue as the purpose of business at the end of the day is to make gain, with money being put into design and production processes one expects to get that investment back with a little extra gain on the side. The ball is left on the court of the consumer to feel the need to get what you produce and part with their money in exchange for it. But then, who in their minds would pay N15,000 for a T-shirt? with no press,website and sells via insta DM (get serious guys).Clothes don’t have to be cheap but their price must be justified. Make them know that they aren’t just buying a piece of clothing, they are buying a vision, an experience that is worth every penny and that’s where the next point comes in.
Marketing is an essential part in the development of a clothing line. The level of publicity you give your line determines its success and a lot of work has to be put into creating awareness about your creation. Out of all the mediums out there, the internet has become an effective and economical means of marketing, yet many fail or lack the knowledge needed to utilize this tool for this purpose. Creating an online presence such as a web store, an Instagram or twitter account are the first steps to take and also makes accessibility easier, collaborating with blogs or sending your pieces to influencers to show off are also ways of creating awareness and hype for your line. Also finding outlets such as pop up stores, posters, handbills would help as long as you get word out there, note: this marketing strategies (mentioned above) should be done repeatedly has new products drop – keeps your brands fresh in the mind of your consumers.
From every disappointment there is a lesson to be learnt, the road to success is rocky but with hard work, determination and a productive mindset one achieve it. To creatives who are trying to share their vision with the world, avoid these stumbling blocks and watch yourself grow.
Images:, Itzik Amiel,