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Ten Key Steps to start a clothing line

How to start a clothing line

Start-up clothing brands are popping up more than ever these days, with many seeing an opportunity in starting a clothing business. But if you’ve ever wanted to start a fashion brand from nothing, then you may find this blog of use to make sure you understand every one of our ten critical steps in launching a clothing label.

Here at Rag Sourcing we have seen first-hand the success of Sik Silk, 11 Degrees, Judas Sinned and many more here at Rag Sourcing. And we can share with you the key to success for starting up your own clothing brand. From the initial sample run to that first sale, every step is tough but exhilarating. Here is our ten-step blueprint plan to success in starting your clothing business.

Start your clothing business in 10 stages

  • Pick your niche
  • Set your budget and business plan
  • Get Organised
  • Set timelines
  • Get Designing
  • Create a brand
  • Start manufacturing
  • Test your product with Market Research
  • Start Selling
  • Scale and grow

Bring these ten steps to life with our guide to starting a clothing business below.

1. Pick your niche

Starting a clothing business is a big move which needs time and money so you have to be fully committed to success. You need to be creative, driven and have trend direction to stay ahead in such a competitive and fast-moving industry. If you have seen a gap in the market or have some killer designs in mind, then it might be time to count the pennies and plan out your growth. It’s essential to know your niche from the beginning. Who is your target audience? Who is your competition? Do you have something that people will want to buy? Are you going to start with one specific item like the simple cotton tee? Or begin with shirts like Father and Sons? Or make your name with headwear like Fresh Ego Kid? Are you targetting the fitness sector or the casual streetwear market?

Your niche could be sustainable and ethical sourcing which is very current with the furore at the fast fashion industry. Know your niche, and work to this ideal. You can’t keep chopping and changing until you’ve got a presence and loyal fanbase. Sure you can bring out Menswear or Womenswear collections in the future, but staying true to who you are is essential.

2. Set your budget and create a business plan

Create a budget by separating your starter capital into realistic budgets for production (and transport costs), website, marketing and operational infrastructure. Look at all sourcing options, and contact us if you want to talk these through. You can buy stock items and brand these up, or go directly to the factories for lower unit cost but higher minimum quantities. You usually have to pay deposits to start sampling and pay the balance on shipping. There are very few ways to start a clothing brand for free in the current economical climate. Even if your starting small scale with a few designs, you still need a website to sell these. You will likely need to contact a website design company or build it yourself. You may be tempted by Shopify so be aware there are monthly charges to keep it active which should be factored in.

The fashion industry is notoriously tough. On getting your stock you have a limited seasonal window to sell it in, then it’s old news and will likely be put on sale. You are also in competition with other brands who are offering end of season clearance sale prices to generate funds and clear space for the new season. Styles and trends change quickly so you can be left with a lot of old stock if not careful.

Stick to your budget. There is no point over-spending on production if you have no money to advertise or have a website running. Feel free to create multiple designs and Pantone colourways, but equally be prepared to cut some out of your range plans based on unit cost and feedback. Your first designs will be your entry to the fashion industry and the creation of your clothing line, but also crucially your easy route to market. You will know the unit price to manufacture, retail price and the demand for the product. Sometimes wild designs catch attention but simple sells.  Either way, start small and grow with the demand.

If cashflow is dry and you need a business plan to secure funding, it’s essential to start off by nailing the basics. You’ll need to give a breakdown of your business including price points, route to market, competitor analysis and a strategy for growth and scale. You should also be clear on who is involved with the business, their skill sets, who you will outsource any gaps too, and of course marketing and branding strategy. It’s also crucial to have clear operational plans including warehouse and postage.

Finally, the crucial financials. What will their investment do and how will it scale your growth?

3. Get organised

You will need somewhere to store the stock, to pick and pack and post. You will need to register with HRMC for tax purposes as all items carry VAT. You need to either have a website or a physical place to sell your clothing. Who is going to design the items? Who is going to pick and pack when they sell? Who is going to manage customer services, social media, marketing, etc? Do you need an accountant? Do you need to register the company with Companies House? Are you importing the stock and is VAT payable on arrival? Do you need insurance? If you have big plans it might be time to contact us for a free consultation to find out the key requirements.

All this needs to be mapped out or outsourced to a specialised e-commerce company.

4. Set a timeframe.

Make sure you know how long the process takes to be ready for launch. Are you planning on a summer range? Do you need to have your samples in January or February and your stock by April/May? Choose your season and work backwards. Demand for swimwear in Winter is low. Give yourself some margin for unexpected delays and getting the samples right. This can take months which can be frustrating but means a better end product.

5. Get Designing
For any start-up clothing business, this is the key stage, there is nothing like seeing your sketched design come to life on a CAD image and tech pack giving the manufacturer all the crucial technical information to make the item. If you cannot do this yourself on illustrator then our expert design team can assist. Try setting up a range plan and looking at the collection as a whole. Does it go well together? Are there enough signature pieces?

6. Create your brand
People don’t just buy clothes, they buy a brand. Do you want to be a big logo brand like Scar Tissue or be subtle branding? Branding is the key to success of any business, particularly in the fashion world. You will be able to instantly know many of your favourites by name. It’s not just the logo, it’s how you act, speak, and look. It’s your website, your packaging, your swing ticket and is the story you want to tell. You can’t fake a great brand, it takes time and has to be in everything you do. How you are perceived is crucial to success. Your brand includes customer services and quality of the product. Be consistent and deliver on your promises.

7. Start the manufacturing process

Now it gets real. You need product so can either make the clothes yourself or stock buy and get it branded up. But if you are working with factories, you have your CAD designs and tech packs, and it’s time to start the sampling process. Shop around and get quotes and look at international options like Portugal, Turkey, China, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. If possible, get samples from multiple factories and compare price vs quality.

Make sure you understand the details and how much it will cost to import the goods. What are the minimum order quantities and what size breaks do you need? How much will it cost for the full size break and is this within your budget if you include import duty and transport? How much does the sample cost and if you are doing the fashion shoot in the sample what size is needed?

If you are working directly with a clothing factory check the samples match your tech pack. Is the sizing consistent? Does the Pantone colour match the set and the jogger match the hoodie? Try things on and check the fit. Get others too as well, preferably of different body shapes.

8. Test your product with Market Research

Feedback is a gift. There is no point in having a fashion brand where you are the only person to like it. Use social media to showcase new designs and test reaction to design and price points, building a buzz at the same time. Sell your samples through Facebook Marketplace. Build relationships with customers and talk to them about what they like about your product. Understanding why a style is selling and what isn’t is crucial to success and that customer lifetime value.

User experience for websites is crucial. It has to be user-friendly and remove all obstacles. If you plan on social advertising, consider that 90% of the traffic will be on mobile, so make such you have a responsive website.

9. Start Selling

After months of planning, it’s now time to take the plunge and place that first order. Double-check your business plan and your price points. Make sure your sales platform is at least on schedule to be ready for launch. It’s time to start marketing and building that brand buzz. Get that product in and turn it around fast. The quicker it sells, the less chance of the clothing needing a clearance sale. Smell what sells and make sure you have the product to meet demand. Be prepared to order more, taking into account production and delivery timeframes.

Focus on your sales platform and make sure your users aren’t abandoning the site before purchase.

10. Scale and Grow
Your clothing line is launched, and sales are flowing. Perhaps you are already planning new products or bigger quantity orders?

It’s crucial to reflect on how your business is going before committing further. Sounds simple but don’t spend money you don’t have. It can take years to see profit and return on investment so scalable growth is crucial.

Shirt Suppliers and Fabrics: An In-depth Look

If you are in the business of selling shirts, you know that a shirt is only as good as it feels. That’s why choosing the proper shirt fabric is so important. After all, a shirt that is uncomfortable to wear is going to make the person that dons it feel fairly miserable. And if a customer is not happy, they will most likely not patronize your business. As such, it is important that you not only get a bead on what fabrics are used by shirt suppliers, but you use that information to determine what fabrics may be right for your clientele.

 

Fabrics at a Glance

 

Diving into the world of fabrics to see what may work best for you and your business is not as easy as it may look. It is a world that goes well beyond the realm of cotton, denim, polyester, and the other fabrics that your average person knows about. To be sure, shirt suppliers have a host of materials at their disposal, including several that don’t readily come to mind. However, getting to know as much information as possible about as many fabrics as you can is crucial to your business’ success, since clothing stores rarely live on denim or cotton alone.

 

Some of these fabrics include:

 

• Broadcloth – This is a tightly woven fabric that is marked by a simple over-under weave as well as a slight shininess. These qualities combine to make a very dressy shirt. The fabric also tends to be thinner and lighter, which makes it an ideal fabric for summertime. White broadcloth fabrics have been shown to be a little transparent, which makes wearing an undershirt in conjunction with shirts made from such cloth to be pretty essential.
• Flannel – This seasonal fabric was highly trendy during the grunge movement in the early ‘90s, and has been shown to be making a comeback in some fashion circles. The fabric’s calling card is its thickness, as they are typically made in thicker weaves, thus making them ideal for the chillier weather in the fall and winter.
• Melange – This particular fabric is known for being very thin yet very soft, smooth, and luxurious. They achieve this reputation because of a special type of construction; one where each of the yarns that are used in the fabric is a combination of fibers which are not-dyed and dyed. These colored fibers are then woven together to create a look that looks slightly yet deliberately inconsistent, which in turn gives the fabric a completely organic quality.
• Oxford Cloth – This casual fabric is made with a symmetrical basket weave that is looser in comparison to some other weaves. It is not to be confused with the more formal Pinpoint Oxford, which can feature a tighter weave and a lighter thread. The heavy, rougher texture and durable nature of the threads themselves has made this particular fabric popular for sports use.
• Egyptian Cotton – Simply stated, this fabric is made from a particular type of cotton that is culled from the plant known as Gossypium Barbadense. This particular cotton can differentiate itself from other cottons because it contains longer staples, which in turn can enable it to be threaded into finer, stronger threads. It typically features thread counts of anywhere between 80 and 100; this thread count allows it to differentiate itself from another fabric known as sea island, which is made from the same cotton plant but has a higher thread count.
• Royal Oxford – As the name implies, this particular fabric is one of the dressier fabrics that shirt suppliers will feature. The reason it has the reputation as being dressy is due to its sheen and texture, as both of those particular aspects are highly visible in nature. This particular fabric should not be confused with oxford cloth or pinpoint oxford; despite the similar names, they are completely different.
• Twill – This fabric is marked by its distinctive diagonal lines or texture; this shape allows the fabric itself to exhibit a shiny quality. It is weaved extremely tight, and can therefore come in extremely high thread counts – so much so, the fabric can sometimes be mistaken for silk. Another important quality to note about twill is that it is relatively easy to iron and has a tendency to be resistant to wrinkles.
• Dobby – The thickness and weight of this fabric can be very similar to broadcloth, and its thickness or the way that it is weaved can almost make it appear as if it is twill. This fabric falls somewhere in between the two fields. This particular fabric tends to feature stripes, although it can be a solid color.

 

Other Things to Note About Fabric

 

Once you have gotten a basic grasp on the various types of fabrics that exist out on the market, there are still a couple of items that you need to be aware of before contacting the right shirt suppliers.

The first of these terms is thread count. Specifically, this term defines the thickness of the size of the yarn that is being used to make the shirt. The rule of thumb here is that the higher the thread count number, the higher quality the fabric – and ultimately the shirt – will be.

 

The second of these terms is ply. In essence, ply is defined by how many yarns are twisted together in order to make a single thread. The typical shirt will be designed to be either single ply, meaning that one thread was woven into the fabric, or two ply, meaning that two yarns are twisted together in order to make a single thread which is then woven into the fabric.

 

Getting familiar with these terms as well as the fabrics that are talked about in conjunction with these terms is essential if you want to maximize the overall quality of the clothing that you want to sell. If you don’t, you greatly increase the risk of obtaining a vastly inferior product, which could ultimately have a negative impact on your business and your bottom line.

10 Do’s & Don’ts To Piecing Together A Quality Fashion Portfolio

A fashion portfolio is mandatory for success in the fashion industry. It doesn’t matter whether you are applying to fashion school, trying to get a job at a fashion firm of even making an attempt to get onto a fashion reality show. Without a portfolio to showcase your skills and talent, you aren’t going anywhere!

 

Just for clarification, we want to remind you that a portfolio is nothing more than a visual resume. It’s your way of showing to employers and others what you are capable of producing. However, piecing together a good portfolio requires a lot more than just throwing all your work together.

Fashion Portfolio Do’s

Here we are going to look at things you absolutely should (dare we say: MUST) do to ensure your fashion portfolio stands out from the crowd.

Keep It Updated

Your portfolio is a like you — it changes as time progresses. Likewise, your portfolio should be well maintained and up-to-date. Any time you produce outstanding work, take the time to add it (and add it properly) to your portfolio. Also, make sure your portfolio is set up in reverse chronological order. Your most recent works should be up front, while your works from the past should be pushed to the back.

Set Up A Digital Portfolio

In this day and age, it’s fundamental that you maintain both a traditional portfolio and a digital portfolio. Imagine that you are at a portfolio show, but some of the potential employers who stop by just don’t have the time to review your entire presentation at the moment. All you would have to do is hand them a business card that contains a link to your online portfolio.

Keep Your Portfolio Simple

Try to keep your portfolio as simple as possible, and limit the number of pages. If you have too much work that you want to share, consider creating a mini portfolio to supplement your main portfolio. Also make sure to rely on a fairly simple but eye-catching fashion portfolio cover. Take a look at the books on fashion that you own, do any of them have a flashy cover? Probably not!

Add Sketches

Despite common belief, your portfolio should, in fact, contain sketch work. Sketching is a highly desired skill in the fashion industry. Your sketches can tell a lot about not only your creative process, but your problem-solving capabilities as well. Plus, sketch work can serve as a decent filler in case you’re relatively new to fashion and don’t have that many pieces to share with prospective employers.

Include Mood/Trend Boards

Make sure you include mood/trend boards that support the overall feel you are trying to create for your portfolio. Again, such additions help display how you think, how you collate research, and how you reach a final product. They also display your comprehension of such fashion basics like texture, colours, fabrics and trends. If you must choose between sketches and boards, go with boards!

Fashion Portfolio Don’ts

Here we are going to look at things that can ruin your portfolio.

 

Sloppy Presentation

 

There is no easier way to completely destroy the worth of your portfolio than by being sloppy. Your portfolio should be absolutely pristine in its presentation. It is meant to showcase your personality, your creativity and your professionalism, so it should be obvious why it would be a major turn-off if you turned in something that looked like a 12-year-old could have bundled together.

 

Too Much Content

 

Your portfolio should not be an archive of all your work. It should only contain the best of the best. Furthermore, it should focus on those areas of fashion in which you excel the most. The general consensus is that someone who acts like a jack-of-all-trades is usually a master of none. And when it comes to fashion, it is much better to be masterful at a few select things than to be just amateur at everything.

 

Avoid A Static Portfolio

 

A portfolio need not be static, and it is perfectly fine (and, in fact, recommended) if you adjust your portfolio for specific scenarios and job opportunities. If you are applying for a position within a fashion company that deals exclusively with menswear, for instance, then it would make perfect sense to remove all non-menswear pieces from your portfolio and replace them with better fitting examples of your work.

 

Don’t Overdo It

 

The most a fashion portfolio should contain is around twenty-five pieces, and that’s only if you have a decade or two of experience working as a fashion designer. If you are just starting out (such as if you just graduated college), then your portfolio should be limited to around ten pieces. Just remember that it’s not about the quantity of pieces you include, but rather the quality!

 

Make Excuses

 

It’s very possible and likely that you will make mistakes your first or second time around. Whatever you do, don’t make excuses when confronted or criticized by an employer: be upfront and accept responsibility. Employers understand that you’re young and just starting out. With that said, it’s important to be humble and accepting of any and all criticism you receive, because arrogance will not get you very far.

 

Piecing Together A Great Fashion Portfolio

 

Piecing together a quality portfolio doesn’t have to be hard, so long as you work hard at what you do. Just be sure to use common sense. Also, take the time to ensure your portfolio is polished. It’s okay if you make a mistake your first time around, but truthfully it’s always better to take the time beforehand to be flawless in your execution. Believe us when we say that prospective employers will appreciate it!

Fashion Design Solution’s Blog Post Round-Up

This week Fashion Design Solutions takes a look at the ethics of the overseas garment factory, why we believe Turkey is the best value for money when it comes to garment production, how to find a quality clothing manufacturer, as well as tips and tricks for getting your t-shirt design noticed by High Street shoppers. See below for an overview of our five most recent posts, and click the links to visit each article.



Easy Ways to Attract Immediate Attention to Your T-Shirt Design – The classic t-shirt has been a widely owned staple of nearly all closets since its creation in the early 1900s. With t-shirts encompassing everything from cheap underwear to high end name brands, how do you get your design and style noticed? We have a few ways that will get your Ts immediate notice.


What to Look Out for When Looking For a Clothing Factory – Finding a high quality manufacturer for your fashion line is perhaps the single most important decision you will make in the entire production process. A high quality line made from quality materials and sturdy stitching will sell your brand for you, while low quality garments that fall apart after the first wash will ruin your entire business model. Here we delve into what makes a good manufacturer, and what doesn’t.


8 Reasons Why You Should Choose a Turkish Clothing Manufacturer for Your Business – With clothing factories located all over the world, from China and Bangladesh to Italy and Turkey, how do you know where you will get the most for your money? Fashion Design Solutions utilises manufacturers in Turkey for all of our brands, and here’s why we think Turkey would be the right location for you.


The Ethics of the Garment Factory: A Primer – if the idea of using a clothing manufacturer outside of the UK conjures up images of the dreaded sweat shop, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, international clothing manufacturers have been plagued by misconceptions of the international garment worker, and in this article we cover not only how much of the world is implementing ethical trade practices, but also establishing worker rights and legal benefits.


Fundamental Traits Needed to Excel As a Menswear Fashion Designer – Do you have what it takes to design fashionable menswear? In this article we provide a brief overview of the skills needed to succeed in this niche of the fashion industry.

A Denim Suppliers Guide To Denim Fabrics & Denim Washing

As you are probably aware, the world of denim is teeming with a near endless assortment of different dyes, weaves and fabrics. ‘Weaving’ your way through this mess can be quite confusing, especially if it’s your first time around dealing with denim suppliers. Today we want to simplify the adventure for you by first addressing what denim is and then talking about the different types of denim. Ready? Let’s go!

 

What Is Denim?

 

The word denim derives from the French phrase “serge de Nîmes.” It refers to a cotton textile that relies on a twill weave with diagonal ribbing to achieve those wonderful pairs of denim jeans we all wear. The amazing thing about denim is that it’s available in so many different styles. Denim can basically be used to match any form of attire.

 

The most original denim was made from 100% cotton serge and referred to as cotton serge denim. These days, denim is available in an abundance of different materials and blends from a variety of denim suppliers. The four most common ones that we want to cover today are listed below:

  • Dry/Raw Denim
  • Selvage Denim
  • Stretch Denim
  • Ramie Denim
  • Poly Denim

What Is Denim Washing?

 

Before we even start talking about the various types of denim, we need to understand what is meant by ‘denim washing’. When people talk bout ‘denim washing,’ they refer to the ‘washing’ techniques used to modify denim before the denim product or products are put to sale and distributed to consumers.

 

Denim is “washed” or “processed” to achieve a special effect, such as fading. The usual goal is to make the denim product look aged and worn. However, there are advanced wash techniques (such as acid washing, stone washing, sand washing, sand blasting) that create contrast, selective fading, etc. Why do people like denim looking like this? You’d have to ask a psychologist. All we know is that such worn-out-looking denim sells like hotcakes!

 

What Is Dry/Raw Denim?

 

Dry or raw denim is denim that has not been washed. It is 100% raw and thus does not contain any special effects like fading. This gives it a very raw, vintage look that’s rugged and sexy. Unfortunately, dry/raw denim comes with a few notable drawbacks.

 

1. It’s very stiff compared to washed denim. This means you must wear it a number of times before you feel anywhere close to comfortable in it.

 

2. It’s not ideal to wash raw denim in a washer/dryer. This fades the denim. The better option is to wear it as much as possible and then dry clean it when necessary.

 

3. It’s a real pain to maintain. To own raw denim, you need to be willing to maintain it religiously! Otherwise, why even waste extra money on it?

 

So why do people buy raw denim? They like its authenticity. The thing about raw denim is that isn’t completely unaffected when you receive it. As a result, every mark, line and tear it accumulates in its lifespan comes from your daily life and activities. Simply put, raw denim tells a story!

 

What Is Selvage Denim?

 

Selvage denim is a special, luxury-grade form of denim that relies on a tighter weave. Back in the day, all denim was selvage. Clothes makers used traditional shuttle looms to construct densely woven denim fabric in long, narrow strips that contained selvage edges. These edges were required so that the strips could be turned into trousers.

 

Things changed in the mid 1900s when clothing manufacturers started using projectile looms to keep up with increasing demand. These looms let manufacturers use wider materials, thus taking away the need for a selvage edge.

 

What makes selvage denim so pricey is the fact that it’s so durable and crisp and classy. Plus, making selvage denim is harder than making non-selvage denim.

 

What Is Stretch Denim?

 

Back in 1959, a chemist named Joseph Shivers invented what we now know as spandex. It’s a synthetic fibre that possesses incredible elasticity. Now imagine what happened when, two decades later, fashionistas decided to combine spandex with denim? Stretch denim was invented!

 

Stretch denim differs from other forms of denim because it conforms to the body’s shape. Most denim items needed to be broken in before they fit perfectly. This isn’t the case with stretch denim.

 

Unfortunately, because of the stretch factor, stretch denim tends to be less durable. Over time, the elastic fibres break down, thus causing the denim item to lease its stretchiness. Stretch denim products also fray much easier than regular denim garments.

 

What Is Ramie Denim?

 

Ramie denim is an especially unique form of denim only dealt with by a select few denim suppliers. It is simply standard denim mixed with the fibre crop Boehmeria nivea, or ramie. This crop is added to denim because of its numerous advantages:

  • It’s naturally resistant to bacteria and mildew.
  • It’s very absorbent and thus comfortable to wear.
  • It’s resistant to stains.
  • It’s not damaged by mild acids.
  • It dyes very, very easily.
  • It can withstand high-temperature laundry.
  • It doesn’t shrink in size.
  • It can be bleached.

By combing ramie with denim, denim suppliers are able to make their denim garments more resistant to bacteria, mildew, stains and more. They are in effect able to improve it just by making a simple change to their garments’ construction.

 

What Is Poly Denim?

 

Poly denim refers to the mixture of denim with polyester, the latter of which is a manufactured fibre that’s extraordinary strong. It’s also resistant to mildew, shrinkage, stretching, chemicals, wrinkles and even abrasions. Plus, it washes and dries much more easily. These factors make poly denim very useful for when constructing work clothes. The drawback is that polyester makes denim garments less breathable.

 

What Are Denim Suppliers To Do With All This Info?

 

This is a lot of information to cover, but it should just be a starting point. If you are serious about denim fashion, it would be prudent for you to continue learning as much as possible. Speak with denim producers. Examine some denim gear. Become an expert on denim!

How Turkey is Using Apparel Sourcing to Clothe the World

Check out any one item of clothing you’re wearing right now. Your shirt, your pants or anything else with a label will do. Now, without looking at the label, do you know if this item of clothing is made from cotton, polyester or something else? Don’t worry if you don’t know – most people don’t.

 

While you might not think a lot about fabric, you do come in contact with it every day, usually all day long, with different fabrics surrounding you at night. Fabric isn’t just keeping you warm and fashionable. It’s also the lifeblood of the entire fashion industry. It is, literally, the fabric that holds the entire industry together.

 


Let’s go back to that item of clothing you’re wearing. While you probably know what store your shirt came from, do you know where it was actually made? The answer usually depends on what the item is. Fashion has always been a particularly global enterprise. If you’re looking for stylish, modern women’s fashions, Paris, France, is the place to be. If you’re interested in classic men’s styles, you’ll be looking along Savile Row in London, England. Milan, Italy, is your home for casual elegance. And New York and Los Angeles are your source for America’s fashions. But what about the cotton, polyester and other textiles which make up these fashions? Would it surprise you to learn it might just be from… Turkey?

 

The country of Turkey isn’t just ready to roll, it’s ready to sew. This European country has quietly been working hard, and is now the number one apparel sourcing nation in the European Union. Turkey’s Apparel and Textile industry has been a powerful engine for Turkey’s economy, roughly 10% of the entire GDP, and now the country is looking to expand that success by expanding exports to as many countries as possible.

 

Turkey’s status as the reigning champ of cloth has been in the making for decades now. The entire country began industrialization efforts in the 60’s, when great effort was put towards revitalizing their entire textile industry. At first, the industry was limited to small workshops. But as the 1960’s turned into the 1970’s, production improved in leaps and bounds. Soon, Turkey was exporting their wares to other countries. Starting in 1980, Turkey stopped importing textile machinery, and started in-country production of low and mid- level machinery. Today, they produce a huge variety of quality textile machines, and they’re also one of the most important clothing exporters in the world.

 

Three key factors as to why Turkey has found such success as an apparel sourcing nation are its:

  • Low labor costs
  • Qualified workforce
  • Relatively cheap materials

With over four million people employed, the Turkey textile industry is worth $20 billion. Almost 60% of its textiles are exported, making the country one of the top ten producers of wool and polyester in the entire world. So even if your clothing item wasn’t made in Turkey, it’s very likely the polyester it’s made from was. Not made of polyester, you say? Your item of clothing is made of cotton, you say? (Oh, by the way, you can look at that label now.)

 

There’s a very good chance that cotton came from Turkey, too. Turkey is the seventh largest cotton producer around the globe. Not only do they export this cotton, they also increasingly use it themselves to produce clothing. Exporting ready-to-wear clothing is better for Turkey financially compared to exporting just the cotton.

 

The United States, Russia and Germany are some of the main recipients of all of these textile exports. But there are other major players with is comes to apparel sourcing, such as China.

 

In 2005, a decades old quote system on Chinese exports expired. This has led to an increase in China’s textile exports. With their massive population, and relatively loose laws related to production, China has a massive workforce able to work long hours in order to make a lot of textiles for export.

 

This has affected apparel sourcing across the globe, including in Turkey. They weren’t able to compete on a production level as they would have liked. All of their progress over the decades was threating to come undone.

 

Recently, however, Turkey’s textile industry has shown surprising new life. After all, Turkey once took what was basically a non-existent textile industry in the 60s and turned it into one of the greatest in the world in just four decades, so it’s never wise to count them out.

 

Since Turkey is a European country, it was able to easily adapt into European standards as they relate to product quality, environmental regulations and worker safety, issues which are sometimes an area of concern in Chinese textile plants. As China has started producing lots of lower quality textiles and apparel, Turkey has repositioned itself as makers of some of the world’s finest textiles. Apparel sourcing has shifted to emphasize a new focus on quality. People have made clothing in Turkey for several generations now, and they want the world to know how good they are at it. The “Made in Turkey” label is achieving recognition around the world as the sign of quality apparel.

 

When you go shopping for clothes, you have options from all around the world. The global textile and fashion economy means most clothes are likely to be more well-traveled then the average wearer. It can be confusing. While you want a good price on your clothes – and that’s the rationale behind textile globalization – you also want a quality product.

 

“Made in Turkey” might be just the perfect label for the American clothes shopper. They have the best equipment, easy access to cheap and high quality cottons and polyesters, and their citizens are some of the finest clothing artisans in the world. The next time you go shopping, you just might be surprised what you look for when you look at the label.

The Range Plan: How Clothes Designers Plan Their Fashion Lines

What is fashion? More than just what people wear, fashion is the art of creating clothing and “looks” which reflect the society and culture of a certain place and time. It’s partially influenced by fashion designers, of course, but it’s also partially influenced by society as a whole.

 

Think back to a time when men always wore suits and hats. Now, remember the time when tie-dye ruled the land? Or, even further back, think of a time when men wore white wigs and powered their faces. Some of it might seem weird now, and some of it not, but it all meant something unique to the culture of its time.

Fashion Designers and Their “Superpowers”

 

Fashion designers, in a very real way, decide what’s cool. They have their pulse on what’s hot, what’s not, and what the next big thing is going to be. The trick is to see where styles are going, and then produce clothing which reflects those styles.

 

How does someone do this? Well, it’s a little bit of a science and a little bit of an art. Styles do return in fashion, to a certain extent. While certainly there’s nothing strange about seeing someone wearing a tie dye shirt, it would perhaps take a real fashion-forward person to don the powdered wig and face powder before hitting the town to run a few errands. So while you can look to fashion’s history and learn about its future, there’s also a real art to knowing what people will consider cool.

 

House of Ideas

 

A fashion house is the term used for a company which produces multiple different clothing lines and accessories. They are often named after the primary designer and founder, such as Tommy Hilfiger, Armani and Christian Dior. Often, as these houses grow in size, the lead designer will employ more and more designers, who work under the lead’s approval.

 

Each designer will produce clothing which is only considered new for only a short period of time. This doesn’t mean “new” in the sense the clothing will fall apart quickly, but “new” in the sense of fashion as an art form which is considered always in motion. This is why fashion lines are based around seasons, and each major designer typically has at least a winter line and a summer line each year.

 

Here’s an interesting side note: The idea of modern fashion, as something created by specialized clothes designers, began in 1858 with a man named Charles Frederick Worth. He not only designed and created clothing, he was the first person to put his name on a label sewn into the clothing. It’s this idea of a brand which has continued on to this day.

 

Many Different Styles, for Many Different Audiences

 

Have you ever seen a fashion show from a big-name designer? Even if you’re into fashion, you’ve probably looked at some of the outfits and wondered who possibly wears these outfits, and where? Well, there’s actually more going on than you may think.

How Shirt Manufacturers Collar the Men’s Clothing Market

The collar can arguably be the most important part of a dress shirt. Even if the shirt that you are wearing is freshly pressed and free from the scourge of wrinkles, if you have a collar that is bent, crumpled, or just simply won’t stay in place, you’re entire outfit can be ruined. At least, it can certainly feel that way if you’re the one that is wearing the shirt.

 

This is the reason that any shirt manufacturers that care about the quality of their product will use an extra measure of care in order to make sure that the collar looks as every bit as good as the rest of the shirt. In a way, it sets the tone for the look, style, and sophistication of the person that wears the fabric.

 


Types of Collars

 

There is no “one size fits all” type of method when it comes to collar production. Indeed, shirt manufacturers can deploy a host of different techniques and design styles in order to make a person’s collar look perfect.

 

Spread Collar

 

Perhaps the most well recognized collar is the spread collar. The classic collar design features points that are angular as they come down over the top of the shirt, but they do not flair outward nor do they point directly downward. It is arguably the most versatile of all collars, as it tends to look stylish with a suit and tie and it also looks right at home with a more casual, at-home look.

There are different variations to this particular collar that different shirt manufacturers utilize in order to create a unique look. These variations include:

  • Tall-Spread Collar – This variation adds a couple of inches in height to the collar to make it stand out a little more prominently when a person is wearing a suit or a sport coat. It also works well with a variety of tie knots and sizes.
  • Semi-Spread Collar – This variation features a wider collar blade, which gives it an even more casual appearance than a typical spread collar. That being said, it is still versatile enough to appear dressy, and can still act as an ideal compliment to a tie or a jacket.

Eton Collar

 

Another popular collar type is known as an Eton collar, also known as a club collar. This collar, which originated around the early part of the 20th century, has long been considered a classic mainstay in men’s fashion. It is short and tight, and features slightly rounded edges, thus giving it a softer appearance. While its size makes it a perfect option for a business casual look, its compact size and tight underlining allows it to sit perfectly under a coat with a necktie.

 

Point Collar

 

A point collar, on the other hand, does not contain the rounded edges of an Eton collar. As the name suggests, it features edges that are sharp and angular, giving the shirt a more geometric shape that fits right into streamlined clothing styles. Like the spread collar, a point collar can be designed to be various sizes in height, with each height carrying a different connotation in formality and style. As such, it is not uncommon to see a point collar on more casual button down shirts, such as ones that feature plaid patterns or prints.

 

Cutaway Collar

 

One of the shortest collars that shirt manufacturers use is a cutaway collar. Typically, this particular collar is distinguished by being slightly flared and small to the point where it is barely there. This design choice is intriguing because it gives the shirts that feature the collar a distinctively old-time dashing quality to it without feeling like it stuck in the past. This quality allows it to deftly straddle the line in between vintage traditional style and modern sensibilities, arguably better than any other collar can. It looks just as slick with a bowtie as it does without any neckwear.

 

Those that want a little more length to this particular style of collar could deploy a deep cutaway collar instead. In essence, this particular collar is larger than the traditional cutaway and also has a more pronounced spread. This added length and width may make it a little more receptive to fuller tie knots, but can still look just as sleek and rakish as a traditional cutaway without the presence of neckwear. This particular looks especially sleek if you are one that is into wearing a shirt that features a contrasting white collar.

 

Button-down Collar

 

Another popular modern collar is the button-down collar. This particular collar is distinguished by the presence of button holes at their end points, which allows it to be properly fastened to the body of the shirt. It is the most high-maintenance of all the collars that are used by shirt manufactures – after all, there is an extra step involved in making the collar look proper if you are wearing it with a tie – but the presence of the buttons makes any shirt that features them look sleek and professional. The person that wears s a shirt with a button-down collar will look like he means business when he wears it with a tie. However, if he wears it out sans neckwear, he will send a message that says that he not only works hard, but he plays hard, too. The attitude that this type of collar cultivates makes it the ultimate collar to wear for that company trip when business invariably mixes with pleasure.

 

Bringing it All Together

 

Even though there are plenty of different collars that shirt manufacturers can use in creating a button down shirt, the one common bond that ties them all together is the fact that each collar plays a role in helping the wearer create a definitive sense of style. Even though a collar makes for a small portion of the overall shirt, its size, style, and framing capabilities can set the tone for not only the rest of the shirt, but the rest of the outfit, as well. As such, selecting a collar is something that should not be something that is taken for granted.

Gauging a Crucial Tool in the World of Knitwear Designers

Knit gauge is arguably the most important tool of the trade in the world of knitwear designers. In essence, knit gauge will let you know what stitches per inch are in a garment – an important measurement to note, since there is no one universal stitch size that can be used. There are several reasons why this number could vary from fabric to fabric, including:

  • Needle size
  • Yarn
  • Stitch pattern
  • Individual knitter

It is important that you determine exactly what your knit gauge is before you undergo the process of assembling a garment. Even if your stitch is off by the slightest, it can spell disaster for your finished product.

 


Types of Knit Gauges Used

 

Because knit gauge is not a one size fits all type of operation, there are several different gauges that knitwear designers can deploy in order to get the proper stitching, based on both the type of garment being stitched and the knitwear designers’ own style.

Some of the more common gauges that are utilized factor in the thickness or layer of a folded material, otherwise known as ply. This thickness is measured by how many yarns are twisted together in order to make a singular thread. In the United States, these measurements are listed as 2-ply, 3-ply, and 4-ply. In other countries such as the United Kingdom and Australia, you may see 5-ply, 8-ply, 10-ply, or even 12-ply gauges.

There are a host of subcategories that derive from these particular measurements. The thinnest threads in these particular subcategories are known as fingering, whereas the thickest threads are known as bulky. The categories that are found in between this range include sock, sport, light worsted, worsted, and chunky. Not surprisingly, the thicker threads are utilized to make thicker products, up to and including sweaters or rugs.

 

The Importance of Swatches

 

As most knitwear designers will tell you, a critical part of the knit gauge process is to create a swatch. A swatch will put the proper knitting metrics into your grasp, giving you a small sample size as to how a fabric will look given the parameters that you decide to utilize while creating a knitted piece. These parameters will thusly eliminate any and all guesswork that you may have before you start putting your piece together.

Creating a swatch is essential if you are going to be putting together something that has exact measurements. If you are designing something that can be viewed as haphazard in nature, such as a baby blanket or a scarf, then creating a swatch is not as critical to the production of such items. However, if you are knitting something that is designed to fit an individual, then creating a swatch is a must. While there is a prevailing thought in some circles that a person can go on feel while putting together a piece of clothing and therefore forego the swatch process, it is inadvisable to do so because a person’s knitting tension has a tendency to change over a period of time based on how they knit or even what their mood may be.

 

Calculating the Knit Gauge Swatch

 

Knitting a gauge swatch requires that you use a little math as well as a little knitting skill. The first thing that you need to do is to figure out what will be at least six inches of stitches with whatever yarn or thread you choose to use and cast on that many stitches. That being said, you should be cognizant of the fact that the longer you make the swatch, the more accurate your measurement will end up being. Once you have figured out the length of your swatch, you should then knit a few rows in a garter stitch. As you do this, you should keep about an inch’s worth of stitches at the edge of the garter stitch. If your gauge does not give you a definitive pattern stitch, you should work in a stockinette stitch for a few inches. If you do have a pattern stitch, you must continue knitting your swatch in this particular pattern.

Once you have put together a few rows of knitting, you can then measure your work and approximate how close you are to your desired accuracy. This is where the math comes in, as you should measure four inches worth of your swatch, count the stitches in the swatch – including half-stitches – and then divide the number by four. This is the number of stitches per inch. If you wind up with a fraction, that is perfectly fine.

If you determine that you have more stitches per inch than your pattern needs, you have made a stitch pattern that is too small. In this case, you would need to use a larger needle. Conversely, if you have fewer stitches per inch than your pattern needs, you have made a pattern that is too large. In this case, you would need to use a smaller needle. Typically, if your variance is around an inch per stitch or less, you would just need to worry about swapping out your needle. However, if the variance you create is greater than one inch per stitch or more, you may need to take a look at utilizing a different yarn or thread. Keep in mind that not every thread will work for every design, so don’t try and force a thread to create a piece of clothing that will not work.

Even though you should always make a swatch for a fabric that is going to be worn by someone, most knitwear designers are able to develop a sense of what may or may not work over time before they create the swatch. That being said, the only way to develop this type of sensibility is through the process of trial and error. However, if you wish to strive for perfection in the design of your clothing, then developing this sensibility is worth the time and the effort.

Essential Things To Keep In Mind When Starting Your Own Fashion Brand

These days, literally anybody can design his or her own shirt using the myriad of tools available on the Internet. However, designing a shirt or two is completely different from starting a full-fledged fashion brand. A brand represents a line of clothes that all revolve around a single cohesive idea (known as the brand).

 

Furthermore, a brand represents a business, and it takes an incredible amount of planning and work to make a business successful. The truth, in fact, is that building a successful fashion brand is more dependent on business acumen than it is on the designs themselves.

 

Ponder Your Long-Term Goals

 

When you are selling items haphazardly as a hobby, you’re not really concerned about goals, you’re just happy to make a sale. When starting a fashion brand, however, you must set genuine goals. For instance: suppose you are starting a fashion brand that deals with men’s t-shirts. How many t-shirts do you realistically want to try to sell during your first year?

 

This matters because it helps when it comes to figuring out what to do next. Suffice it to say, you’re going to have to work much harder to sell 10,000 t-shirts during your first year than you would have to work if you just want to sell 1,000 t-shirts. Plus, goals are the cornerstone of any quality business plan!

 

Keep Production In Mind

 

If you are starting a brand, you need to start thinking about production during your design process. What materials does your design require? What sorts of vendors would be able to replicate the design? Are you comfortable outsourcing the design to a manufacturer in another country?

 

Pay special consideration to whether or not you envision scaling your design, i.e., producing thousands of copies of the article of clothing you are creating. This is important because large-scale production is more labour intensive, meaning it’s going to cost you a lot more.

 

These things matter because money matters. Remember that the ultimate goal of a business is to turn a profit. And the simple fact is that unless you are able to turn a profit, your brand will simply not be successful.

 

Think About Marketplaces

 

There are two primary ways you can distribute your fashion brand products. The easier way is to take advantage of established digital marketplaces like eBay, Amazon and Etsy, not to mention real-world marketplaces like flea markets. The much more difficult (though also rewarding) option is to create your own marketplace.

 

Back in the day, creating your own marketplace meant setting up a traditional brick-and-mortal establishment. These days, all you need is the ability to build a website and perform what is known as search engine optimisation. Mind you, doing neither of these things is as easy as it sounds!

 

The benefit of an established marketplace is that such sites and venues already have traffic. If you build your own site, you will have to build traffic from scratch. You may also need to hire a Web designer, not to mention SEO specialists.

 

Do Not Forget Your Competition

 

Selling as a hobby differs from selling professionally in that you must take your competition into consideration. The success of your fashion brand, which we want note again is a business, is partially dependent on your ability to out-perform your competitors. Below is a list of some of the things you should keep in mind:

 

  • How do your competitors’ prices compare to your own prices?
  • What methods do your competitors use to market their wears?
  • Who are your competitors’ manufacturers?
  • Do your competitors’ outsource?
  • How long have your competitors been in the business?
  • Do your competitors operate blogs?
  • Are your competitors active on social networks?
  • How much traffic do your competitors’ websites receive?

Analysing your competition also gives you a chance to pick up ideas on how to jumpstart your own brand.

 

Understand Your Customers

 

You want to know who else is important? Your customers! A fashion brand must have a very specific target audience. Who are your clothes and items designed for? Who will be buying them? Why will they be buying them?

 

Understanding your customers does require a bit of insight into psychology. It’s for this reason that you might want to consider taking a few courses on marketing and psychology before you start a fashion brand. Trust us when we say that properly understanding your target market can make a huge difference!

 

Think About Social Media

 

Practically every business operates on the social network sphere these days. Social networking is a simple but effective way to build a reputation, drive traffic to your site and establish your fashion brand. Even lawyers now run their own Facebook pages!

 

Since you want to start a brand, social media should be one of the top concerns on your mind. You need to share so much with your potential customers — who you are, what your vision is, what you vision is, what you bring to the table, etc.

 

One thing to understand though is that capitalizing on social media requires more than just linking to your products. You need to build a personal connection with your customers.
Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Don’t be afraid to try new ideas.
  • Don’t repeat the same thing over and over again.
  • Do post news about your fashion brand.
  • Do engage with your fans.
  • Do give your fans sneak peeks on upcoming gear.
  • Do be yourself!!!

Pulling the Pieces Together

 

Before you start a fashion brand, take the time to do everything mentioned in this post. Consider your target audience. Analyse your competition. Think about marketplaces. Learn the production process. Piece together a business plan. Start setting up social media profiles, and so on.

While it’s tempting to just jump into the game, it’s much smarter and more prudent to plan what you can beforehand. It could very well make the difference in which you ultimately succeed or fail!

Taking a Spin: Yarn and Knitwear Manufacturers

It’s well known that different clothing is made from different types of fabric. However, the actual yarns that knitwear manufacturers utilize are not nearly as well known as the finished products that are created from their use. As such, we typically don’t pay much attention to them.

 

However, it is important to be mindful of the various types of yarns that are out there, just because such knowledge will allow you to have a more intimate understanding on the functionality of an article of clothing that goes beyond the realm of merely looking good. If you are looking to join the ranks of the knitwear manufacturers or if you are just looking to make something nice for yourself or for someone else, having a grasp of how a particular yarn can provide a measure of functionality can be a pretty important part of the overall design process.

 

Wool: The King of All Yarns

 

The most famous yarn on the market is wool. Made from the fleece of sheep, this particular yarn is well-known for being cozy and comfortable, which is why it is such a popular yarn for knitwear manufacturers that create sweaters.

 

While wool is a well-known commodity in the knitting world, people may not realize that wool as a whole is actually representative of a pretty sizable group of subcategories that invariably showcase the textural versatility of the yarn. Some of these subcategories include:

  • Merino wool – This is wool that is derived from a breed of sheep that were originally from Turkey and Central Spain. It is considered to be the finest wool in the world, and its roots as a high-end yarn can be traced all the way back to the Middle Ages. It is commonly used in high-end performance athletic wear, such as clothing meant for hiking, skiing, and cycling.
  • Shetland wool – This is wool that is made from the sheep that is native to the Shetland Islands of Scotland. They are often used in their natural color, meaning that they are not dyed prior to their usage. The coarser style of this wool is often used to make tweed.
  • Virgin wool – This is wool that is made directly from the fleece of an animal. It is not recycled from any other pre-existing wool garments.
  • Icelandic wool – As the name suggests this is wool that is made from sheep raised in Iceland. Because they are on an island and therefore have been isolated from the rest of Europe for centuries, they are considered to produce wool that is purer than other mainland breeds. They are known for having long, glossy outer coats and fine, soft inner coats.
  • Lamb’s wool – This is lamb that comes from a young lamb’s first shearing – typically around seven months after the sheep’s birth. It is known for having soft, elastic properties, and is often used for high-grade textiles.
  • Washable wool – This is wool that is treated either electronically or chemically in order to destroy the outer fuzzy layer or fibers that may otherwise develop.

Each of these wools brings a different dimension to the table; something that may not be readily apparent amongst those that don’t possess much knowledge on the various wool subcategories.

 

Other Types of Yarn

 

Of course, wool is not the only well-known fabric that knitwear manufacturers will utilize in order to create their clothing. These other fabrics help to broaden the scope of clothing options that a person can utilize.

 

Cotton

 

Arguably the most common yarn that is utilized by knitwear manufacturers is cotton. It is utilized as much as it is because it is a very durable yarn, which makes it a popular fabric for use in kids’ clothing. It is also very breathable, making it very comfortable to wear particularly when the temperature rises. Its highly washable qualities also make it a low-maintenance fabric to tend to.

 

Silk

 

Silk resides on the opposite of the yarn spectrum, as it has a well-deserved reputation as being extremely luxurious in nature. While it is rather ironic that such a fine fiber is produced by silkworms or moth caterpillars, it has nonetheless built up a sterling reputation as being a precious commodity. From a practical standpoint, silk has high absorption properties which makes it a comfortable fabric to wear while active or during warm weather. Plus, its smooth and shiny appearance gives it a sleek, elegant appearance, thus making it a popular fabric to utilize for formal shirts, blouses, and ties.

 

Linen

 

Another popular natural fiber is linen. This particular textile is made from the fibers of the flax plant and has a reputation for being rather tough to manufacture. However, it is highly valued for its reputation as being exceptionally cool and fresh during hot weather. It is also one of the more versatile fabrics that can be produced, as linen can be made into bags, towels, bedding, tablecloths, and napkins in addition to clothing.

 

Synthetics

 

Of course, one does not even need natural products in order to produce clothing for the masses. Synthetic yarns such as nylon, acrylic, and polyester have various advantages over their natural counterparts in that they can be treated to have qualities that are simply not possible with fabrics that are created organically. For instance, synthetic fabrics can be made to be waterproof, wrinkle-free, stain resistant, flame resistant and moth repellent. They can also be manufactured to have heightened elastic properties. The downside to these synthetic fabrics is that they tend to have a negative impact on the environment. Most synthetics are non-biodegradable, which means that they do not break down in the soil when they are no longer useful. What’s more, the chemicals that are used to manufacture the products can also escape into the environment at this particular stage.

Each yarn that can be used in order to produce clothing contains various pluses and minuses that can only be truly understood when you scrutinize them closely. Getting a better understanding on what these yarns can and cannot do can ultimately prove vital in you determining what kind of clothes you wish to make.

The Challenges that Face Menswear Designers

It isn’t all that easy to design menswear. Perhaps the most difficult task that face menswear designers has to do with the fact that menswear can sometimes be considered boring or recycled in some circles, even though the kind of classic style that has defined menswear for decades is still as dashing as ever.

 

Because of this, menswear designers need to be able to cast an eye out for the future in order to keep things interesting. However, as they do this, they need to be mindful of two distinct things:

 

1. Classic men’s couture will never go out of style.
2. Their new creations need to represent fashion for the future, and not fashion destined to be defined by the past.

 

The Importance of Preserving Classic Style

 

Thanks to television shows like “Mad Men” and movies like “The Great Gatsby,” clothes from a bygone era have felt fresh and relevant for the past several years. They may look like the same clothing that was once worn by someone’s father or even grandfather, and this may make some menswear designers that constantly look ahead and not behind cringe. Yet for a lot of people, this sense of datedness has morphed into timelessness, as they represent a classic sleekness of a bygone era that may not be replicated sufficiently in modern duds. As such, even though the temptation to eschew classic motifs entirely, it is important that menswear designers continue to look ahead by embracing the past instead of forsaking it. After all, fashion does have a tendency to be somewhat cyclical in nature.

 

However, there’s more to just preserving the stylistic elements of the past because they look cool. Rather, it is important that menswear designers keep note of the elements that truly transcend the test of time so they can possibly use them as a springboard for future fashion. One of the most essential elements to fashion in general is to take something that has some age to it and spin it around in a way that it creates something entirely new, fresh, and exciting. Using classic style in this way allows it to undergo a rejuvenation of sorts for a classic style – not to mention that it prevents it from being a total relic.

 

Thinking Ahead in a Reasonable Way

 

Of course, menswear designers don’t have to exclusively keep one foot in the past in order to propel the male fashion into the future. Indeed, there are plenty of avenues in which a designer can utilize in order to move the concept of masculine design ahead.

 

One of the bigger challenges that menswear designers face in achieving this task is due to the fact that menswear fashion trends tend to be a little more subtle then women’s fashion trends at time. As such, trends that affect the male fashion world seem to gradually occur over a period of time, as opposed to just popping up seemingly overnight. A good menswear designer will be able to pull off this gradual progression without raising too much of a fuss, as that particular advancement will enter into the consciousness of the average male shopper without him paying much mind to whatever trend a new piece of clothing may be attached to. They won’t buy it because it looks new or trendy; they will buy it because it looks cool. When this happens, the menswear designer has done their job.

 

However, this process is not necessarily easy to attain. There is a fine line that a designer must walk when designing modern men’s clothing. It is s line that delineates clothes that not only look and feel progressive, but look like they will actually progress with the times. Indeed, there is nothing worse than producing a line of clothing that looks and feels fresh when it is first released and then realizing they are destined to be relics of fashion within a few years. This is a line that should never be crossed.

 

In order to avoid producing clothes that will eventually be time-stamped, the best thing to do is to keep outrageous affects to a minimum. Context is key. You don’t have to keep things shaded in dull, drab hues or selfsame patterns, but you do have to make sure that you deploy colors, patterns, and other such stylistic choices in a way that makes sense. If a choice is made just for the sake of making a choice, chances are it is not going to work all that well.

 

Re-Defining Fashion

 

There is a realm that is in between the classic and the progressive that a skilled menswear designer could utilize. That is, utilizing a clothing style from the past that was not known for being fashion forward and rebranding it as such. Perhaps the most prominent example of this was the explosion of flannel in the early nineties. Prior to the grunge movement, flannels were nothing more than the uniform of the outdoorsman or the blue collar working class. However, it gradually turned into a symbol of coolness; a reinvented fashion statement that wasn’t a statement in the least bit beforehand. The designer can point to the flannel phenomenon as grounds for using a rudimentary or a misfit clothing item and turning it into a white hot wearable item. Indeed, there seems to be a lot of material from which to choose from in this regard.

 

Whatever design choice that you make if you find yourself designing menswear, you should reside yourself to the fact that it is a difficult endeavor to undertake. If you do too little in the name of fashion, you may be thought of as being boring. If you do too much, you run the risk of seeing your clothes be blown off as nothing more than a rapidly fading relic of current times. Yet if you are able to land somewhere in the middle of these two camps, you may find yourself designing something that will stand the test of time and grow into a classic look in its own right.