The Art of Starting; tips to starting a clothing line

The Art of Starting…. a Clothing Line

People at some point in their life have either thought about or have started a clothing line, or at least put a design on a t-shirt. This was my humbling beginnings but it kind of stuck with me. I slowly transitioned from drawing designs with a magic marker to tracing them with fabric ink to ironing them on, all the way to embroidering and screen printing. Each time studying and learning more about what it took to be a designer. Did I make some mistakes, royally, did I waste money, more than I can count, was it easy… As easy as rocket science, If I could change anything from the past…Not one bit. Each hiccup or “test” was just a lesson.

Use what you have, and where you are

Please note I will no longer be referring to mistakes as mistakes but will be starting to use lessons.

One lesson that I learned, later on, was that we are very capable and can do a lot if we
1. plan a little
2. tap into our creativity
3. stop comparing our selves to others

Plan a little

Do the research, understand what exactly you are doing. Don’t just jump into something understand and define your “why”. Why are you doing this? I have had times when I just jumped, was hyped for the first couple of days and then became less interested in digging a little deeper into what exactly was involved. The more you plan the easier the rest of the process will be.

Starting to tap into your creativity

This is where the fun happens. Don’t be afraid to create. It is not going to look like the final product this is just you getting what was in your head out. Once this happens you can visually see what you are creating and you will be that much more invested in the idea. 90% of the time after researching and actually creating a sample or a prototype I knew whether or not I would pursue the idea or put it on the shelf and come back to it a little later. Please note that it is ok to put something on the shelf, I am convinced that our creativity sometimes propels us into the future. This temporary moment into the future makes our visions ahead of their time, thus the majority of people are will not instantly gravitate to the concept. When you use what you have and where you are you can truly tap into your idea. Restriction-free, the only thing limiting you is you.

Starting to stop comparing yourself to others

This part is very critical. I believe that it is also a lot harder with the mainstream media and social media directing what is “in” and what “is not”. Stick to your idea and make it happen. I have found that whenever I played into the media or what others were doing I found myself unconsciously mimicking that product and veering away from the initial idea. This not only could be costly later on in the production phase but catastrophic when initially push that great idea you had. Believe in yourself and see it through.


Going back to what I mentioned before with the planning. I have found that if you go through the stages or levels of production you will slowly invest more passion into the idea. The levels include mockup( can be an old shirt cut up, a drawing taped to a shirt, paint, whatever) This level is to take the idea to the physical. The next level is the sample or prototype. This is when you can approach a screen printer, seamstress or even manufacturer if you can find one that will do a short run. This level is a little bit more expensive BUT is important because it will help you promote and further push your idea. With the sample, you can show friends, family, potential customers and even investors.

In the past for some ideas I jumped directly to the sample/prototype phase and ended up spending far more money then I needed to correcting problems and getting samples redone. This could have been dealt with before wasting money but I didn’t take the time to research, ask questions or study I just jumped in.

The Secret

The last secret that I could share starting out is to honestly just have FUN. Of course, plan and have a direction for what your vision is for the clothing line but have fun. Remember what made you want to start the line and never lose that. Money is important but having fun during the process is the secret to sustaining a brand that will be around for a while.

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