Do You Have What It Takes to Start a Clothing Brand?

Have you been a sideline spectator on the runway for a while already, uncertain whether, when and how to jump into the free-for-all that is the fashion business? With the seemingly countless number of brands and startups out and about, from seasoned industry giants to Instagram pop-up brands, you could hardly be blamed for your reluctance.  That said, here’s why now is as good a moment as any.

A time of growth

Even though most businesses can hardly brag about going through a peachy period, according to McKinsey/Business of Fashion (BoF)’s 2018 report, there is ground for some optimism in the field of fashion. In the report, they project an overall industry growth in the coming years— most notably in the emerging markets of Pacific Asia and Europe. Observed was also a definite shift in the way fashion products are developed, marketed and sold in accordance with the ever-progressing digitalization of our society, which quickly brings us to our next point.

Going (even more) digital

While no one would dare dispute the ubiquity of social media in 2018, it does us well to muse upon just how big of a role it plays in today’s world of fashion— not just as a tool for marketing, but also as an ever more integrated platform for the entire process of production, from research and development right up to sales and customer feedback. As we can see from the examples of WeChat and Weibo in China, there exists a stark demand for a more immediate relationship between the creator and the consumer, and we can soon expect companies from the western digital hemisphere to closely follow suit.

Arm yourself accordingly

If you’re reading this article, chances are you’ve given some thought to formal education in the field of fashion design or related visual arts. Programs such as the current Master Course in Menswear Fashion Design at RM Istituto Milano were conceived to not only nurture one’s creative capabilities, but to also forge capable, dynamic professionals with strong career capabilities. Led by acclaimed luxury fashion designer Massimiliano Giornetti, the course concept is to provide a fully-rounded insight of the fashion industry by working hands-on with leading professionals in today's luxury market. From analysis of business trends and applied aesthetics, constructing a collection and portfolio, up to managing a full runway presentation, the students are equipped with all the tools needed to succeed in tomorrow's fashion scene.

Incubate your identity

Identity is the soul of the brand, and is today perhaps more indicative of success than innovation. Thus it is imperative to define precisely what values your brand will stand for, who your target audience will be and what kind of unique experience will you offer to your customers. The clearer you determine the answers to these questions, the more securely you can charter your brand’s course on the market. When picking out the target demographic, one must also take into account its particular set of tastes and preferences.

Get down to business

As a rule, be prepared to spend more time and resources than planned. If you are not well versed in the administrative areas, hiring expert help will spare you from a significant amount of stress, uncertainty and potential legal quandaries. When it comes down to your sales model, starting as an online exclusive business has many advantages and makes it possible to step into the market with much more modest resources and at a lower risk. Modern production processes and crowdfunding even give you a shot at making your project come alive with minimal, if any initial investment.  After your brand gains some traction, there is always the possibility of going physical.

To sum things up, an idea in and of itself is no warrant of success, but there was one behind every success story. Before you make the first step towards a career in fashion design, be sure that is exactly what you want, and be aware that the ride may at times become quite bumpy. Yet, with perseverance and a touch of luck, you might find yourself further than expected, faster than expected.

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