Starting a clothing line can be a daunting task and requires a lot of planning and preparation. It is important to understand the cost involved in setting up a clothing line before taking the plunge. This article will provide an overview of the different costs associated with starting a clothing line, from research and design to production and marketing. By understanding these costs, you can better plan for your business venture and make sure you have enough capital to get started. The cost of starting a clothing line will vary depending on the type of clothes you want to make, the materials used, the number of pieces in your collection, and other factors. Generally speaking, it will cost around $1,500-$3,500 for 10 pieces including 3 tops, 1 pant, 2 skirts, 2 jackets & 2 dresses. This cost includes the materials needed to create these items as well as any other expenses such as printing or embroidery costs.
To help you get started on this journey successfully and with minimal costs involved, here are some key steps that need to be taken when starting a clothing line:
To develop 1 professional apparel style costs range from $700 – $1,400+ per style. The average price is about $1,000+ per style. This price really varies if it is a simple top or a long lined coat. This amount may surprise you but when you see the entire process & how many hands 1 style goes through, you will see how and where the costs incur. Unless you can do each of these steps yourself correctly, you will have to hire professional freelance fashion design services to create your clothing line. If you go down the road of trying to find the cheapest services offered, I guarantee you will suffer badly for it. I’ve heard numerous horror stories believe me.
So here we go, lets use an example of 10 pieces for our apparel collection.
You should follow these important 6 steps :
#1 – Collection development – Research all of this first & foremost. Your customer, price points, competitors, color trends, fabric trends, sourced fabrics, fashion show comparisons, store walk-ins, clothing comps, on trend color grouping, mood boards & trend report.
10 styles – about $350-$1,100+
#2 – The idea sketches – The designer will present/sketch up loose pencil ideas using elements from the development report, chosen fabric swatches, theme etc. The designer should have an educated, researched & informed starting point about your collection. If they do not do their research first, do not use them. Sometimes the designer will put a fabric swatch next to the idea sketch. These sketches are not usually fully colored fashion illustrations as these take a lot of time & the designer wants to move fast so they can give you more ideas. Fashion illustrations are what you see in magazines. Sketch prices will range widely with each designer. Some with more experience & much higher taste levels will cost more for their personal & creative ideas – $600 – $8,000+ for a 10 piece collection.
#3 – – The technical designer must have proficient experience with comp software & be able to transfer pencil sketch ideas in to cad flats. Most new designers today are trained designing with the comp. A front & back view of the garment is needed. Cad Flats are expected by the pattern makers/factory/tech packs/line sheets. These prices increase a lil’ if you add color or prints. Last design changes are done here before sent to a pattern maker. cad flats-$500 – $800 for 10 styles.
#4 – This will be the most expensive phase in creating your clothing line. You need accurate professional patterns who are used to American sizes if you are in the USA. Will it be lined? Will you need a fitting before cutting in fabric? The pattern maker will charge from $80 – $850 per pattern depending on design complexity. The more seams, separate pieces, pockets, collars, sleeves, design layers you have in a garment, the more it costs for the pattern. If it’s lined, that's more too. If you need to have a fitting, which I recommend, add that on. It is best to have your pattern created in paper first, keep that in a safe place, then have it transferred into a digital pattern for different sizing (Grading) needs later.
#5 – Sewing your samples – Who is going to drop off, pick up & check on the sewing of your garments? Who is going to run around find/source then bring all the fabrics, linings, trims, zippers buttons, labels trims etc. to the sewer? You? If not, you will have to pay the designer for this management time(DMT) as the sewer will not do this(unless it is in a foreign factory.) Timeline for 1 sewn sample should be up to 4 days. Some are faster, some slower. We are not including costs of any fabrics/trims. That you will have to add on your own.$85 – $650+ each or $800 – $6,000+ for 10 styles
#6– You will use your previous cad flats here as well. Tech packs are needed for oversees production. They are an instruction manual with text & diagrams on how the garment needs to be constructed. for a list of items included in accurate tech packs. The average price on tech packs range from $85 – $700+ each or $900 – $7000+ for 10 style
Lets add up our using the median average fees – development-$650, idea sketches-$800, cad flats-$550, patterns-$3,000, sewing-$3,000, tech packs-$220 = $7,720. Don’t forget we have to add in the designers management time(DMT) running around sourcing, purchasing all fabrics, trims etc, and overseeing the pattern makers,fittings corrections & sewers to get this collection completed. The timeline for 10 styles created with the pattern makers & sewing is about 2.5 months for 10 styles. Lets make it easy & fig out 5 hours additional work for the designer for each style @ $40.00 per hour = $200 per style. Believe me when I tell you I’m low balling it here as many designers add 40% on top of all costs for their “DMT”.