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How to Start a Fashion Brand

11 min read

If you have an eye and a passion for fashion, you can turn your knowledge into a career or business. With the right strategy and materials, you can even learn how to start a fashion brand from scratch! Of course, starting your own fashion brand is much different than simply selling clothes online.

But how hard is it to start a fashion brand, exactly? Knowing how to start a fashion brand requires design skills as well as business savvy and, of course, effective branding.

If this sounds appealing to you, continue reading to learn how to start a fashion brand online.

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How to Start a Fashion Brand From Nothing: Step-by-Step Guide


If you want to learn how to start a successful fashion brand, you will need some background education in fashion. This does not mean you must receive a formal education in fashion or design, although that doesn’t hurt. Having an in-depth knowledge of design principles, fashion trends, and history, as well as industry knowledge, can all improve your chances of success.

Thankfully, the internet has made it easier than ever to be self-taught on most subjects, including fashion design. YouTube, Wikipedia, and various other online encyclopedias and blogs can all be utilized to learn what you need for fashion for free. Establishing some background knowledge before getting started can help you avoid simple mistakes and get you ahead.

Of course, education should also be ongoing. You do not need to master everything before getting started, and you can continue to learn after launching your business.

Market and trend research

Possessing general knowledge about the fashion industry is important when starting a business. But specific knowledge about the market and current trends are equally important. The fashion industry is heavily reliant on trends. Fashion trends come and go each season. The best brands are able to stay on top of these developments and provide their customers with high-quality clothing.

In addition to researching trends, market research is also critical to help better understand your competition. Finding a niche is always important in any business, regardless of industry. This can help you identify under-represented areas in the market that you can capitalize on. A good niche should be in high demand but with relatively low competition.

Funding & budgeting

At this point, you may be asking, “How much does it cost to start a fashion brand?” After all, if you’re going to create your own business, funding will be very important. The answer to this question, as with many things in life, is “It depends.” The scope and scale of your business will determine how much it costs. There are several factors that go into determining the cost of starting your own fashion brand.

First and foremost is the size of your business. A larger business will obviously cost more to operate than a smaller one. Key expenses include materials, marketing, warehousing, and order fulfillment. Depending on your business, you may also need to pay for manufacturing and other labor costs as well.

Starting a fashion brand can cost anywhere from $500, for a small company, to $10,000 for a larger business. Having at least $1000 in funding is a good base for anyone wondering how to start a fashion brand on their own.


When starting a fashion brand, the brand obviously matters quite a bit. Creating a brand encompasses a lot more than simply coming up with a unique logo or catchy slogan. A brand image is all-encompassing, from your brand’s voice to its image and even pricing. A fashion brand, in particular, can be of great significance to people because what we wear is a reflection of who we are.

Conscientious consumers will consider multiple factors when seeking out fashion brands. How they look is, of course, one very important factor when it comes to fashion. But how a brand makes them feel and the ideas the brand represents are also very important.

Your branding will depend on the unique mission and business model you choose. But having some basic brand guidelines can help immensely, both when starting out and growing your brand. Guidelines should include your brand’s visual aesthetics, marketing, and content voice, as well as things like your business mission and store design principles. Maintaining a consistent brand image improves the customer experience and breeds much greater customer loyalty.

Business model

One of the things that makes the fashion industry so appealing is the limitless variety it offers. But this also means that you should have a clear vision of what your business model will be before starting. The process for how to start a luxury fashion brand is much different than a casual or athletic-wear fashion brand, for example.

Some of the different fashion business models you can pursue include:

The demands of each of these business models will vary greatly. For instance, a bespoke fashion brand will require a lot of hands-on work and a high budget for materials. The trade-off is that bespoke fashion comes with excellent profit margins, as customers are willing to pay extra for premium products.

print-on-demand business, on the other hand, allows for some customization but is less hands-on. Print-on-demand business models require some graphic design skills and technical equipment. But the time and financial investment are less than that of a luxury or bespoke brand.

The type of business model you pursue will ultimately come down to your experience, preferences, and funding. If you have limited experience in the fashion industry, starting with a wholesale, private label, or print-on-demand business model may be viable. By contrast, trying to start a luxury fashion brand without a strong foundation may be over-ambitious in most cases.

Business plan

In addition to a business model, every successful brand should also have a firm business plan. A business plan is a formal document that should lay out all the most important aspects of your company’s structure and goals. The basic components of a business plan include:

  • Executive summary: A high-level overview of the company, written to provide potential investors with a quick reference guide when reviewing the document.
  • Business description: What is your business? Who are you, what do you sell, and what are your values and goals?
  • Market analysis: Where does your company fit within the larger market in the fashion industry? Who are your competitors, and how do you differentiate yourself from them?
  • Products and Services: What do you sell?
  • Marketing plan: Who are your target customers? How will you reach them? What style of content is best suited for your brand?
  • Budget and Finances: How much will it cost to run your business? What projections can you make for the near and long-term future? What are your expected profits?

A good business plan will serve multiple purposes.

First, it is an essential document if you are attempting to bring investors on board with your company. Second, it serves as your road map when launching your business. And third, it can help you remain focused on your values and goals as you manage your business later on.

Manufacturer or supplier

Having a clear vision for your fashion brand is very important. But all the best ideas in the world mean nothing if you don’t have the materials to make your products. Depending on the business model you choose, you will need to source materials from either a manufacturer or a supplier.

Wholesale, dropshipping, print-on-demand, and private label companies will all require a manufacturer. The manufacturer’s role is to make the fashion items and supply them to you for resale. When choosing a manufacturer, the most important factors to consider are cost, product quality, and geographic location.

Finding the right balance between product cost and quality is critical for any business. You want to choose the manufacturer that provides the best possible value without weakening the customer experience and damaging your brand.

But your manufacturer’s location can also be very important because of shipping time and expenses. A manufacturer in the same region as you (and your customers) is simply more practical than one in another country.

If you choose a business model that requires you to make your own fashion items, you will still need to find a supplier. The supplier will provide all of the materials you use to make your items. As with a manufacturer, choosing a supplier comes down to a balance of cost and quality.


Once everything else is in place, all that’s left to do is launch your business. The weeks and months leading up to your launch date should be very busy. During this time, you should work to ensure that your inventory is full and your products meet your standards. But you should also use this time to build momentum and create hype around your brand.

Using social media to create and share content leading up to your launch is a great way to gain traction. Running a promotion and creating unique and engaging content are great ways to generate interest in your new brand.

Ecwid Can Help

If you are wondering how to start a fashion brand online, having a stylish, easy-to-use online store can be a great help. That’s where Ecwid comes in. Ecwid is a free-to-use e-commerce platform designed to help entrepreneurs create professional-looking online stores with ease.

Read more about getting started with Ecwid to take the first steps toward launching your own fashion brand.


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About the author

Max has been working in the ecommerce industry for the last six years helping brands to establish and level-up content marketing and SEO. Despite that, he has experience with entrepreneurship. He is a fiction writer in his free time.

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