Top Design Tips for your Clothing Brand in 2022

Looking to start a clothing line? Good news - this article covers all the main design tips to get started.
5 minute read

Discovering what your target audience likes and dislikes

As with most things in business, it’s important to start with determining who you’re trying to sell to, what their interests are and what they like, or dislike. The biggest issue we see with most brands who are starting out is their attempt to sell every style of clothing to every potential customer without really having honed into a particular niche and studied that niche very well.

There is a great article by Hubspot about The 5-Step Process For Finding Your Business’ Ideal Niche Market.

Working with professionals

Some industries and businesses don’t really require much money to start up.. Service based companies like web development can be founded with a laptop and some fairly inexpensive software but unfortunately, fashion and clothing isn’t one of those sectors.

Whilst there are steps you can take to minimise your spend on launch and having some transferable skills will also help reduce your overhead, the reality is that you just need to spend good money to get good designers who can help elevate your products from the get-go.

Using platforms like Fiverr and Upwork can help you source highly talented designers from overseas who are fairly inexpensive, but this can come with issues - miscommunication, language barriers and time-zone differences are all things that can impact your ability to produce world-class designs for your clothing brand. This is why we would recommend, where possible, to use UK-Based Clothing Design Services.

Market and consumer research

This ties in well with discovering your target market's needs and wants, but also looking for what is in demand at the moment. Starting a clothing line is more than putting your brand name, or logo which has no real meaning to anyone on a T-Shirt and putting it on a website.

You need to look into what larger brands are doing, what their audience is buying and then approach clothing manufacturers with designs which take inspiration from those designs with your own twist. Some trends are fairly easy to predict and the easiest way to be safe is to plan ahead of seasons. After all, you don’t want hundreds, or thousands of units in tracksuits to arrive in the middle of summer as you simply won't maximise the season to its fullest potential this way.

Don’t be afraid to be different

Statistically speaking, by starting a clothing line you’re already different to most of the population who become comfortable in a secure career working for someone else. The issue we then see is that most of these brand owners feel the need to copy every other brand - often lacking original creativity, unique brand identity and their ability to appeal to a specific niche within a large, broad and competitive market.

Fundamentally, a T-Shirt is just that - beyond selecting unique fabrics, colours, sizes and finishes, the main element that’ll create a unique piece of clothing will often fall in the design. Establishing creative ways to convey your brand message is a great way to cement yourself in a competitive market and stand out against all the brands who copy each other.

A great example of this is us, White2Label Manufacturing. We saw what other clothing manufacturers did, how they delivered their service and products and where the demand was (and where the supply was lacking) - we created systems that differed from the ‘norm’, we marketed our services differently and we appealed to a different audience; all of this meant that we, as a white label clothing supplier were able to stand out against the highly-competitive and saturated manufacturing sector whilst picking up hundreds of clients within the first few years of trading with no external funding or investment.

Try different application techniques to diversify your design capabilities

Creating depth and uniqueness in a design can come from the application methods used, opposed to the detailing within a design software. It helps to decide which method is favourable given the nature of your design, but below are some options;

  1. Screen Printing
  2. Embroidery
  3. DTG, or Direct-To-Garment Printing
  4. Heat Transfer Vinyl

All of these methods have their own advantages and disadvantages, depending on the style of artwork. Our previous blog, How to Decide on the Best Customisation Options for your Brand, goes into detail about the process of each method, it’s benefits and what style of customisation best suits your needs.

Bonus tip; content is king

We’ve said this time and time again, but as a clothing manufacturer who has worked with hundreds of brands and seen loads succeed and loads fail, we can safely say that one of the main driving forces for the successful brands is their ability to produce great content for collections.

Good quality, diverse content will help maximise the positive impact of great design on products. Some custom clothing manufacturers may be able to assist you with referring photographers, or videographers who can help you with the next stage in your business. Remember, as an e-commerce clothing brand, consumers don’t have the ability to feel, see in person and try on your products.. You therefore need to convey all of the items qualities, fit and feel as best you can through the content you post. If you fail to do this, you run the risk of a high bounce rate, low conversion rate and a potential high return rate for those who do purchase if the product doesn’t fit, or feel how it looks.

Use your brand name

One of the most overlooked advantages of starting a clothing line in 2022 is your ability to plaster your brands name and even message on your items for every person walking down the street to see. You can get creative with this but the overriding importance is that if an onlooker sees the product and really likes the style, they can simply Google your brands' name and find that product online. Some of the best and most in-demand styles we've seen recently is the college style print on tees, hoodies and sweatshirts. It's so popular, that we even did it ourselves;

Creating a design like this for us, as a clothing manufacturer in the UK means that wherever our team wear these products showcases our businesses name and the purpose of the item itself.

A lot of businesses like Boohoo, PLT, Missguided and so on are catching onto this trend and producing more styles like this.

That being said, this isn't the only style of design that allows you to include your brand name on the product. Large graphic style prints are becoming increasingly popular on Heavyweight Oversized Blank Hoodies, Sweatshirts, Tees & Joggers - it's a trend that has been in season for at least a year and doesn't seem to be going anywhere any time soon.

Trial & error

Being brutally honest, the first time you launch a clothing line probably won't be the smoothest. You'll likely learn a lot more from your mistakes than your success and your designs may need some fine-tuning.

That being said, don't forget that this is business and setbacks are inevitable - starting a clothing line is no easy feat and those who succeed have learnt from mistakes over years of releasing collections, designing and sampling. If you're able to find a Clothing Manufacturer with a Low MOQ then this will help you minimise the cost of testing concepts.

About the author
Anthony Mellor

Anthony Mellor is a fashion entrepreneur, writer and consultant. Anthony writes in-depth articles about topics related to fashion, business and supply chains.

Anthony successfully scaled and exited a D2C fashion brand at the young age of 20. Since then, he's gone onto start and successfully operate two multi-6-figure clothing manufacturing businesses and currently offers up one-to-one constancy to brand owners.

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