The first collection that a designer creates is in many ways one of their most vital. Your idea of starting a fashion brand is starting to become a reality. As with most realities, however, there are more technical, financial, and practical constraints that youâ€™ll come across each day. You want to bring all of your ideas to life, but itâ€™s very often not viable to. So what do you do?
For Your First Collection, Start Small
Many famous brands have started with either a single item or a small series of items for their first collection. An important theme of starting any successful brand is staying focus. To create a quality garment you should give it the attention it deserves, and you canâ€™t give equal attention to 20 different styles at once. At least not in the early stages.
Think about what is the most practical item for your brand at first. Rag & Bone started with jeans. Wang started with knitwear. Stampd started with a hat. Presumably, unless you launched your brand solely on the artistic merit of your designs, thereâ€™s an attempt to fill a gap that you saw in the market. Devote your attention to creating the product that will fill that gap.
Gradually Introduce Variety
Naturally, you donâ€™t want to have only one or two items, and you want to look like a legitimate brand. You can overcome this by offering different colors/patterns on the items that youâ€™ve made, or by adding a few basics to your collection that are easy to produce, high-margin, and preferably one-size-fits-all. When my brand Hood Bohemian started, our top seller was our branded beanies. As we added items like t-shirts, sweaters, and tank tops, we took care to ensure that we respected a lot of the practical constraints of a first collection but still had enough variety to satisfy ourselves.
So the answer to the main question is different for everyone. Iâ€™m speaking from the perspective of somebody who owns a streetwear brand, didnâ€™t go to fashion school, and was bound by many of the same realities as other young brands. One thing that Iâ€™ve seen, heard, and experienced is that regardless of your style of clothing, be sure to focus. You canâ€™t make the worldâ€™s best bomber jacket, or the worldâ€™s best handbag if youâ€™re not only juggling the formation of a new company, but also twenty other items with a (presumably) small team. So, focus.
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