For anyone looking to venture into the clothing industry, it is imperative to find out a specific niche and also define what actually drives your passion. However, before diving into the question above, it is necessary that the difference between a regular clothing line and a Luxury clothing brand should be established.
A regular clothing line is defined as the process whereby retailers take trends that are seen on the runways of Fashion Weeks and display those trends in their stores. These stores attract sales not specifically through the trends themselves, but from the price points they list on their products.
Have it in mind that a regular clothing line attracts too many customers because they offer current fashion trends at remarkable discount prices compared to luxury retailers. Even though this may be a clear fact, their profitability and influence on fashion and trends as a whole can still be seen as questionable.
Since they are expected to keep their attractive price points and endeavour to satisfy the masses at all times, there is a sacrifice to the quality of materials that are used to make the clothes. As a result, the durability of the items may not be guaranteed.
Luxury clothing brands, meanwhile, follow a more intricate process to achieve their status, and by doing so, have their own mark on fashion. Luxury clothing brands are expected to first establish themselves against other already established luxury clothing brands.
According to Pamela L. Danziger of Forbes, there are top 10 values that make up a Luxury clothing brand – Superior Performance, Craftsmanship, Exclusivity, Innovation, Place and Time, Sophistication and Aesthetic, Creative Expression, Relevance, Heritage, and Responsibility. These components are without doubt very important to all fashion brands but are more heavily focused on defining Luxury clothing brands.
The customer base of luxury brands are quite fickle and tend to care more about the brand’s ethics and values than those who typically shop at a regular clothing line brand. The designs Luxury clothing brands have on their clothing are typically the pioneers of the trends regular clothing brands emulate in their merchandise.
Which is More Profitable Between a Luxury Clothing Brand and a Regular Clothing Line?
First, you have to understand that profit and success especially in the fashion industry can be very subjective because people have different perspectives when figuring out what influences fashion and customer buying behavior. According to reports, many wealthy customers may prefer luxury clothing brands because they focus on details, the relationships the brands build, and the exclusivity of the products.
Meanwhile, individuals who shop at regular clothing stores primarily focus on the look of the clothing and the affordable prices. This makes profitability a very broad topic, and who influences it more is a very debatable topic. Anyone can argue that without the luxury clothing brand, there would be no styles of clothing for the regular clothing line to emulate, thus no outreach to the public.
However, without the regular clothing line, there would be a much smaller notable scale of influence by luxury clothing brands because the higher price points and lower stock count luxury clothing brands carry limits the number of people that can afford the clothings.
Have it in mind that business profit especially in the fashion industry is backed by the masses, as many people want to be a part of it. Teenagers, for instance, who want to make a first impression on their friends are all taking a part in the representation of the trends brands put out.
It is quite very obvious that both the regular clothing line and luxury clothing brand can both be very profitable and also play a very big part in the overall influence of fashion, and therefore, will forever have no certainty on which of the two is more successful. All that can be determined is that both levels of clothing brands can become very profitable.
What Does It Take to Start/Build a Luxury Clothing Line?
The great brands of the clothing industry weren’t built in a simple and easy fashion. Even when trial-and-error was involved, these brands tend to rely on a detailed business plan and continued to scale at a sustainable pace. Indeed starting a new company from scratch is never easy, but it’s certainly possible. Remember that all of today’s iconic brands got their start somewhere.
Table of Content
- Identify a need in the market
- Create a Business Plan
- Know Your Target Audience
- Start Designing
- Partner with a Clothing Manufacturer
- Select a Brand Name, Logo, and Market Profile
- Decide on a Price Point for Your Items
- Start the Marketing Process
- Set Realistic Sales and Distribution Goals
- Start a Soft Launch, and Then Look for More Investments and Partnerships
Identify a need in the market
You have to first understand that a clothing line won’t succeed on the vanity of its founding designer. You have to think about a niche in the market that isn’t currently being filled. Is it a t-shirt that can be worn on formal occasions? Is it a line of hoodies that flatteringly accents someone’s curves? Take your time to find out what product should exist that isn’t currently being offered by a major clothing company.
Create a Business Plan
Have it in mind that this will guide your entire journey as a fashion designer. Ask yourself: what is my ultimate goal for this product? Do I want to be a brand name sold in a big retail store? Do I want to create a private label brand for a company like Target or H&M? Do I want to create a premium brand that’s sold in a boutique on Melrose Avenue in LA or SoHo in New York City? Take your time to analyze your goal and keep it foremost in your mind as you build your brand.
Know Your Target Audience
Always remember that your objective is not simply to identify a clothing item that should exist, but also the target market of consumers for that product. After all, what is a brilliant design if it lacks potential customers? Also, take your time to consider the pros and cons of targeting certain demographics.
For example, young people are known to be style-conscious and may be more receptive to online marketing and word of mouth, but they also may have limited funds. Middle-aged customers may be able to afford a higher price point, but they may be less concerned with style and already loyal to an existing brand.
Maybe, this is your forte, and so this is your chance to creatively shine. Have it in mind that the first collection you release to the market will say a great deal about you as a designer, so make sure you are designing something that you’d be happy to use as your calling card going forward. At the same time, think practically. Irrespective of what you’re designing, make sure it can be produced in a cost-effective manner. Being a successful fashion designer is always a blend between the ideal and the attainable.
Partner with a Clothing Manufacturer
Unless your plan is to source, cut, and sew all your materials by yourself, you will need a manufacturing partner. This can mean any number of things. Maybe you are simply seeking colleagues who can help you make clothing in a home studio. Maybe you are looking for a fabric supplier. Maybe you’re looking for a fully humming factory that can produce a limited supply of your boutique goods coupled with mass-produced items from an established brand.
For a very long time, clothing manufacturing has been based outside of the United States. Howbeit, it’s quite possible that your search for a manufacturer will lead you to a country like China, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, or Bangladesh.
You may want to travel to see the factory in person, but for new designers on a budget, the entire vetting process will have to be done via phone and email. Once your fashion goals are less ambitious—such as a new logo printed atop an existing street wear or casual wear—you may be able to manufacture your goods locally, such as at a nearby print-on-demand screen printing facility.
Select a Brand Name, Logo, and Market Profile
Once you feel your clothing items can be manufactured with reasonable production costs, you’re ready to start planning your public profile. It simply means picking a business name, a logo, and a slogan if necessary. It also entails designing a website with an eCommerce platform like Shopify or Etsy.
Customers like brands with a compelling story, so weaving that into your brand name, logo, or website will also help. Note that all these works should be completed by the time the manufacturing process runs its course. This way you are ready to sell your goods as soon as they are made.
Decide on a Price Point for Your Items
Note that this step ties into identifying and understanding your target audience. You have to choose a price point that will cover your production cost but that doesn’t inconvenience your customers.
Start the Marketing Process
At this point, your new business requires extensive marketing and brand awareness. Instagram has become a popular platform for this, and many Instagram influencers are happy to promote new fashion brands in exchange for products.
Set Realistic Sales and Distribution Goals
You should never be afraid to partner with a business professional to embark on this step. Just because you have a fashion vision doesn’t mean that you know about clothing distribution. If you can reach your sales goals, you can continue to grow, as per your business plan.
Start a Soft Launch, and Then Look for More Investments and Partnerships
After you have a proof of concept—clothing that you can sell in limited quantities—you’re ready to loop in potential business partners and co-investors. Indeed, it would be wonderful to own your business outright and keep all of your future profits. But as most business owners start to scale up, they need access to capital.
Note that taking on a business partner who can offer that capital in exchange for a cut of future proceeds is the most traditional way to do this.
A clothing line that may dominate today’s fashion may have started as a small business run out of a fledgling fashion designer’s living room. Even though starting your own clothing line is a daunting task, but thanks to eCommerce and online marketing, it just might be possible to turn a brand that began in a small online store into a clothing brand that’s beloved nationwide.