A clothing designer is one of the backbones needed to start a clothing line. To run your clothing business effectively, you might need the services of a professional designer who would be responsible for studying fashion trends, sketching unique clothing designs and selecting the right fabric to be used in production of clothes.
A fashion designer is involved in all the production aspects of a clothing line and hiring a professional designer would go a long way in making your clothing line more successful.
N.B-: This article was culled from: “The Complete Guide to Starting a Clothing Line from scratch.”
There are two types of designers that you can hire for your clothing line. You can either hire a full-time designer or a freelance designer who would work from his home. It is better to hire a freelance designer so that you can have access to as many designers as possible. This would enable you to create varieties and reduce costs as freelancers are usually cheaper than full time designers.
You could also make use of software to design instead of hiring a designer but you would need to possess the necessary skills and expertise needed to operate the software. Also, software cannot predict trends or make recommendations and adapt to changes; this is why you need to hire a designer for your clothing line.
Where Can You Find Professional Clothing Designers?
There are three recommended ways to find designers for your clothing line;
- Through a consultant-: You can hire an experienced professional to help you search for, test and conduct an interview for a designer. Someone who is experienced in the business would know what to look out for in a good designer.
- Through Referrals-: Another way to find good hands is by speaking to people in the industry who would be able to give you the contacts of people they have worked with in the past and have found to be very efficient.
- Through the internet-: You can also find good hands through freelancing websites and internet forums but you have to be careful when using this medium so that you don’t end up with time wasters.
How to Hire a Professional Designer for your Clothing Line
1. Budget-: The first thing to look out for when you want to hire a fashion designer is your budget. How much do you have to spare? What is the market rate per design for a fashion designer? This is where a business plan comes into play? Here is a sample clothing line business plan template you can use. This would serve as a guide when you want to make your choice.
2. Education and Training-: Although educational qualification is not really a determining factor when gauging the competence of a fashion designer, it would be better if you hire someone who has undergone the right amount of training and education to qualify as a designer.
3. Experience-: Next, you should consider the level of experience of the designer. A designer that has worked on different projects for several years would be better positioned to handle challenges and tough jobs.
4. The designer’s portfolio-: A designer’s portfolio is like his Curriculum vitae. It would usually contain samples of his best jobs. You should take a good look at his portfolio as it would reveal a lot about the designer’s knowledge, skills and creative abilities. You would also be able to determine if he has what it takes to work with you.
5. Sewing skills-: A cloth design is just like a tool; so how would you teach people how to use it when you don’t know how to use it yourself? I guess you now see why your designer has to possess some sewing skills? He would be able to interpret his designs and relate his ideas to the production team better when he knows how to sew.
6. Ability to use design software-: It is important that your designer knows how to use Computer Aided Design Software and be able to learn about new innovations and techniques in the fashion industry too.
7. Fashion Savvy-: A designer is not only involved in sketching designs; he would also be responsible for researching trends in the industry and incorporating them in his designs. This is why you need someone who is fashion savvy and passionate about the fashion industry as your designer.
8. Knowledge of fabric-: Fabric responds to designs in different ways. You might be able to use cotton for a design which it would be impossible to use satin for, so it is important that your designer understands fabric and how to use them.
9. Test your designer-: Before you eventually a designer, you should test his skills by asking him to make some sketches. You would be able to further judge his creativity and ability by doing this.
10. Obtain a second opinion-: If you are not an expert designer yourself or using a professional consultant to hire a designer, you might want to ask for other people’s opinions about a designer before going ahead to hire him.
11. Sign an Agreement-: When you are fully satisfied with a designer’s skills and ability, then you should both agree to the terms and conditions of the contract. This is very important because of copyright issues. For instance, you would have to decide on who would own the rights to the designs after you must have paid for them. Signing a binding contract would help to protect your business in case of any legal issues in future.
12. Provide training and support-: Help your designer to help you by providing him with the necessary training and support that he needs to work for you and improve his skills.
13. Hand over project details-: Once you have hired a designer, you should ensure that you give him a detailed project brief for every job that you give to him. This would help to avoid mistakes, oversights and arguments.
14. Respond to enquiries and questions promptly-: You must always try to support your designer by responding to any enquiries or questions from him in a prompt and timely manner.
15. Allow freedom of creativity-: I understand that you have your ideas and you know what you want but sometimes, it is best to allow your designer the freedom to think and apply his creative skills; he may be able to come up with designs that are unique and “genius” that way.
16. Pay as and when due-: When a designer puts so much time and effort into creating unique styles for you, it’s only fair that you would pay him all agreed fees promptly.