I Want to Start a Fashion Line…
Fashion – I want to start a fashion line – Beginning
by AM Fashion Editor, Lawrence Pizzi – Int. Fashion Designer
So you want to start a fashion line… Well, I have about 1,000 questions to ask you. But I don’t want to be writing for the next 20 weeks, so I will break it down and start at the very beginning.
OK, so you are ready to start… What experience do you have in the Fashion Industry? I am going to let you know a few little facts, this year over 72,000 Fashion Design students will be graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Fashion Design in the USA alone. Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia, and every other city in the USA boasts about their Fashion Design Sector, yet NYC and LA are the two Fashion Design/Production Hubs in the USA. This Feb 2016 NYFashion Week almost 1 billion dollars will be spent that week in NYC (not including the garments ordered and sold) with all the runway shows scheduled.
OK, so you are ready to start… Do you know your target market? Who are you selling to – who is your ultimate consumer? This one question will define you, your company, and everything you will do or not do. The best way to explain this is using your own closet. If you dress for work, you will choose a proper suit (I am guessing you are working in an office) with a smart crisp shirt and minimal jewelry. Later on, you will change into something sexier for a dinner with friends out in a chic restaurant. But you keep your really sexy dress for your Saturday Disco night out. Right here I listed 3 different target markets. Smart Business, elegant sexy, and what I love to call Ho-To- Go. This is your road map, from garment styles to model selection.
click on images to enlarge…
OK, so you are ready to start… How much money do you have saved up? The 3 F’s is where I usually send young designers for money (Friends, Family, & Fools). You need to calculate how much money you need to live for 18 months, and then double it. This is just to keep you from begging on the street corner since once you own your own company you can’t file for unemployment or any government food/housing program. And then you need to guess how much you need for your product/line. *** I usually calculate $1,000 per style (per seasons) – a 10-style collection/line will cost about $10,000 for one season. So, you will need at least $20,000 for your first 2 seasons for sampling (prototypes only). Production orders will be funded by you & your 3 F’s (paid in full as you receive what you need to manufacture your first season), but you will collect the full amount of your first delivery after your 3 rd season in samples and taken to market.
OK, so you are ready to start… OK, you will need labels in your garments. It’s the LAW! You need your label, size, content, Made In, care info, and most important your RN # (Registered manufacturing Number) and in Canada it’s a CA #. In the USA, the government will give you a number for free, in Canada it’s about $1,000 CND. Selling garments without these labels will result in fines, and they these fines are placed against your company and you will have to pay them in full before you are able to legally close a company down. You will be expected to pay taxes even if you are not selling anything (just except this because it is what it is).
OK, so you are ready to start… Once you have your samples made, how are you going to them to market so stores can order them? Will you be selling a fashion fairs or a showroom? Either way, you will need a look book, line sheet and price list for the buyers to order from. This will also cost you money…. Research and interview showrooms, ask for references – and the call them.
OK, so you are ready to start… Where are you buying your materials? Please respect Vocabulary!!!!! Materials are Fabrics, Zippers, Buttons, Interfacings, Linings, Labels, Other Trims, etc. Regardless of what you buy and where it is, you will also have to pay the shipping of these goods to you. If you are ordering from another country, then you need to pay taxes as the items arrive at the US Customs House. Thanks to UPS, you can open an account and they will process all the necessary paperwork. And don’t worry, UPS will charge you for it as well, but you will just pay one bill for all that and shipping each month. Actually, this is one service UPS offers that is cheep.
OK, so you are ready to start… There is so much more, but I want to also let you know that in the USA there is a real NEED/Hunger for new and exciting lines. Retail is in a slump because buyers keep ordering the same garments over and over. On-line retail will surpass 1 billion dollars in 2016 and people are always shopping. The USA government is funding Made In USA to help build manufacturing with in our boarders. Even though the money is for existing companies with sales history of at least 3 years, this does help strengthen manufacturing for everyone. CFDA has also started realizing that the USA needs to start helping and training their designers or Milan n Paris powerhouses will steal all out talent and along with them their labels and production.
OK, so you are ready to start… Get involved in every commerce body you can find around you. Talking about what you are doing will only help you get things done later on. Small businesses grow and employ communities. Just think, I was Alexander Wang’s First Hire… Everybody started somewhere at some point in time.
Lawrence Pizzi Collection