When launching a small label, there are some big problems to solve before your product can get out there.
Road Blocks when launching your line...Who is your crew?
You need to know who is your target market, do they even exist, where do these people hang out, what do they eat, what do they do with their time, and how can you get them to buy your stuff.
Finding a "point of difference", because you need to stand out.
How can you be different from your so competitors? What makes your t-shirt different from someone else tshirt? Do you have a design feature that will be your signature? You can literally walk into a store, any store, and if branded correctly you'll know what the brand is without even looking at the tag.
How do you find your point of difference, and design signature?
Design a collection. What inspiration do you use? What types of fabric work for you? What is your story, it's got to be an exciting story too with passion. If there's no passion your brand is already dead.
Fabrics - start thinking of these before you make your patterns. A fabric can make or break your collection if it doesn't preform well, or suit the type of garments you are making. The issue with fabrics is that in the real world you would go to a manufacturer and get the fabric made for your order, and that would come with a 500 mtr mininum order which clearly as a start up you can't really afford.
Get no where with fabric manufacturers because you are a "little guy", you may as well be a small fish swimming in a tank with Sharks. The Sharks being the big brands who can afford your fabric, waiting to eat you up because you have no place with the big sharks just yet.
Find fabric places that will accept smaller orders like 50 mtr rolls - which is still alot because when you think about the amount of designs you will make, you need to be smart on ordering fabric. If you were to order 50mtr roll of black fabric, it would be best to be able to use it on a series of garments so you are not wasting the large roll. A top, pants, and jumper could eat up a substantial amount of fabric if you do it across a size set.
If you are unable to find fabric manufacturers that work off smaller amounts, then you need to go to retailers of fabrics and then see if you can get a discount, perhaps if you order a larger amount like 10 or 20 mtrs they will give you a 10-20% discount.
Buy at fabric sales - this only works if you know you can use this fabric, and the fabric will be enough for however many you need to sew. Quite often, end of the roll fabric sales are discontinued styles and therefor can not be reproduced.
Next step is to find your "reference samples" styles of clothing any brand that fit well and are similar to your style, the pattern maker will use this as a base then make changes as required. Quite often there would be a set up fee for a new style, followed by a pattern charge, and sample charge if they make your sample for you as well.
Specification Packs or "Teck Packs" for short , fill in all those key measurements, key sewing information, technical drawings and photos, everything you need for your manufacturer.
Once you are happy with your designs, your fabric and trims are ordered, your samples are approved along with your pattern and spec sheet you are ready for the next step.
Find a manufacturer - Local or International. Both can cause you problems without proper research and good manufacturers are scarce. Locally can cost you more but in theory a faster turn around being in the same country. International should be cheaper but then you need to place larger orders followed by dealing with customs, importing, shipping, language barriers,etc.
Quite often both the above processes will not like to make you one sample only, and a small order of 5pcs. Melbourne Fashion Lab is happy to go through this whole process with you, and happy if you order 1 pc or 50 pcs - we have no Mininum Order Quantity (MOQ).
By dealing with Melbourne Fashion Lab, we work with many small fish and get the work done quickly lead times can be as soon as 1 week or 2 weeks.
One Fashion Myth for the day...The myth that you need to "get a college degree in Fashion" to launch a line is not true. I meet people every day that launch successful ideas, and literally know nothing about fashion. Sure, understanding how a garment goes together, finding a factory, and making it to production is important but not the end of the world if you don't have that skill set.
So what are you waiting for? Contact us today!
If you've had a quick read of the blog you'll see here at Melbourne Fashion Lab we do things differently, which means our weeks are never ever dull & we work on many different projects.
We were recently approached by a natural handmade gift store to sew up some aprons using Linen for staff uniforms, this is one of the final products.
Client supplied fabric to us and inspiration, we did the rest!
Keep in mind if you are supplying fabric to us, that it must be pre-washed. The easiest way to look at it is to wash the fabric, how you intend to wash in the future.
Why? This removes any factory finishes / sizing to the garment. Fabric always feels different after a wash, this is a true feel and handle.
Ever had a garment,washed it & shrunk? The fabric wasn't pre-washed first.
Are you interested in a one of a kind uniform for your staff? We would love to help you.
We recently had the pleasure of working with Monique Doust Designs, a textile graduate from RMIT who specializes in prints and swimwear.
Monique came to us with some fantasticly fun floral printed lycra, and some patterns she had drafted off existing garments. We cut & sewed her fabrics into a one piece, and two bikinis using industrial equipment including the overlocker and the twin needle cover stitch machine which is essential for completing stretch fabrics giving a professional look vs the home made look by incorrect finishes.
The inspiration behind her collection came from the bohemian and gypsy styles from Byron Bay brands and also the whole lifestyle of creativity, colour and adventure that this style suggests. I designed the busy floral patterns, featuring ethnic geometric border designs, in vibrant colours to create a playful and exciting collection for summer.
Monique's hopes for the future is to be working as a textile designer for a small Australian fashion or homewares brand next year, with the hope that soon I will start my own fashion and lifestyle brand.
You can follow Monique on instagram @monique_doust_designs
We wish her all the best with her textile career!