Fashion is one of those ancient ventures that have come to stay, and as long as there's life on earth, they will always be a need for clothes. Styles might change, labels might get in vogue and go retro, but there will always be room for anyone willing to go the mile. Starting your fashion label will require more than just the passion for seeing your creative designs walk the runaways or grace the wardrobes of hot celebrities. It will require resilience; it will demand that you eat, live, and breathe your label.
Don't take the tone of this article the wrong way. The aim is not to scare you, but someone has to tell you the hardcore truth, and if that is what you are looking for, then we are on the same page. If you check recent business trends, you will notice the shift to everything IT – the reason is simple; everyone wants it fast and big. A 19-year-old can come up with an algorithm that will attract a million users in six months and boom; he's a billionaire! That won't happen in the fashion world; it requires years of commitment, patience, and a lot more.
That said, if your dream is to become the Ralph Lauren of the next decade, then you need to get your hands on the following resources.
Hunt knowledge: Books, Webinars, Online courses
No sector out there is business as usual; the competition and rat race is deafening. You simply can’t afford to run your business from la-la land, no you can’t. By all means, make sure you know your onion. Before you even share the dream with your family and friends, you should at least get a fashion dictionary.
Every industry has its jargon, and you don't want to a furtive glance from a client because you can't pronounce silhouette. The Fashion A to Z illustrated dictionary by Zakee Shariff can be a good start. Know the current fashion trends, read up on how the whales of the industry started their label, get busy researching all there is to know. Also, follow successful fashion podcasts and take online courses; they are crucial, especially at the beginning. Udemy is a great platform to start from; there are over 3000 top-rated courses on fashion design and business to choose from.
The business versus the designer's hat: wear both
This is a huge resource that will make your label to not only survive but thrive. For you to have chosen this part, it means that you have decided to convert your passion for creative designs into an enterprise. Therefore, like every other successful entrepreneur, you need to think as both an entrepreneur and a designer; choosing one will kill the other. A wise counsel- think 90% like an entrepreneur and 10% like a designer. It will take your label farther than the other way around.
This is not to undermine the place of unique and creative designs, but starting a fashion label is hard work. You will need lots of capital and lots of business acumen to deal with staffing, PR, HRM, accounting, marketing, etc. And these would impact more on your business than lack of trendy designs ever would. You need the two hats, but be sure to wear the business hat first and the designers second – it's safer that way.
Who are your role models?
Just like any other startup, you need to build your fashion label on a firm structure from the beginning. Fashion school may teach you and encourage you to be unique, authentic, and to reach inwards for your winning creative power. However, from experience, we know that life rewards the man that can innovatively recreate existing models. It will be pointless to spend the early days of your business trying to reinvent the wheel. This is not to shun creativity, but you sure can learn a lot from PRADA and avoid repeating their mistakes.
Spend your early days studying the top-selling labels and pay more attention to those that already represent what you have in mind. It will help you to focus your ideas, modify what you already have, and also find any loopholes the current trends that you can leverage on to rise faster in the industry. Role models are very helpful in your label journey. You can get business mentors from any field, but your role models must be from the players in the fashion industry that best represent your dream.
Brand visibility is a pivotal
Here you go; you probably have an IG handle for your label before fully grasping what you want to do. That's how we rate social media and brand visibility today; if it's not on the gram, it properly doesn't exist. When starting your fashion label, you need to utilize every platform to get it out there – FB, IG, Twitter, YouTube, etc. Learn how to use social media for small business and to grow your network. Just stay consistent, and everyone will be talking about your label in no time.
Character is always everything - even in the fashion industry.
While some resources may be intangible, they are the fulcrum on which the rising and falling of your label lie. Your integrity and attitude are your game-changing currency; don’t jinx them for anything. You might have heard that before, well, you need to keep hearing it every single day if you want to go beyond the shores in the fashion industry. People will buy into you before they check your price tag, people will buy into your business spirit and resilience before they chose to stick around and run your front desk. Your character and attitude to work are vital resources; build your label on them.
Truth-be-told, the present-day fashion industry has grown massively, and the competition is quite high. There's so much visibility now, and more people are getting on board daily, which has raised the success bar for aspiring labels. You have to be tough, focused, and assertive. Wear your confidence always and toughen up because that what your buyers want to see. You have to define your focus and give it all it takes.