I tried to figure out how to jump into this article without coming in splashing but for some reason I could not find the angle to soften my position. This is a message geared toward new clothing lines. In today’s marketplace, it is more important that you take design chances that go beyond slapping the name of your clothing line across a generic T-shirt or Sweatshirt. Often new designers who may be low on funds, but at the same time, they want to get their feet wet in the fashion industry, will just buy blanks and write their clothing line name across the front. While you may think your name sounds so good that it alone will sell your shirt; you may just want to think again. Most of these type of styles will only appeal to people you know. The chances of your line being picked up by clothing stores is pretty slim to none. The hottest stores will more than likely decide to pass on carrying your t-shirt if you just have "Blah Blah Apparel" across the front.
I would really urge you to do some real designing that goes beyond just typing your name across the front of a blank. Actually design the hoodie itself by adding your own special seams, cuts, stitching, colors, fabrics etc. If you are going to work with blanks then make sure your artwork is fantastic! Make sure consumers can see your design aesthetic. Prospective buyers want to know that you are a serious designer and you take the art of fashion serious. Even having one spectacular piece will take you miles ahead of the person with the white T-shirt with "Blah Blah Apparel" across the front in black. I have bought t-shirts from plenty of unknown companies just because I like the artwork or maybe the shirt itself had a special design detail. Be creative when you design. Have fun with it! Study how to do specs and choose fabrics. Order a small production run of the style and have it made from scratch. The key to fashion is to stand out. This process makes you a genuine clothing line. It is a rite of passage. People always you say how they loved our tees. We had a special formula for our fabric that was delightfully plush and felt so good against the skin. Then we added creative artwork on top of that. It was and is still a beautiful combination.
If you want to go beyond just a cult following of friends, family, neighbors or an organization you belong to, then you need to really dive off into your creativity. I remember when we started our first clothing line many years ago. We came out of the gate swinging by designing our own contemporary athletic wear line from scratch. We put much emphasis on the actual garment design which led to our line getting the immediate attention of magazines and retailers around the country. The garment design came first and our name came second. That is the order of importance that every new designer should seek. Putting your name on a blank just doesn’t cut it and it will not get you noticed. Even coming out with a slogan driven shirt is better than just only putting your clothing line name on a shirt. You could even do a sublimation design that has a full coverage print on the shirt.
There are millions of prospective buyers that want to be on the cutting edge of fashion. They don’t mind investing in pieces from unknown designers as long as the designs are unique and cool. That uniqueness has to go beyond just your brand name. You are virtually unknown at this point. Your brand name carries no equity. They can buy a hundred unknown t-shirts with a random brand name across the front of it. There is nothing in this type of design to make your line stand out. Give them a reason to say, “I really like this design, I want to rock this.” That is how you get trendsetters on board to reach for their credit cards and buy your new style.
Don’t try to tie in a cause or charity into your plain t-shirt company with your brand name across it to get people interested in your line. That my friends is not building a clothing company. That simply is working to support a cause. I can’t tell you how many times I come across a company trying to do this because they think giving people added motivation will help people pull out their wallets to support a weak design. If you are a fashion company – then fashion comes first! Create a beautifully designed piece from top to bottom and then it is okay to add that you support a cause etc. When you design, ask yourself – “Would a fashion magazine editor or fashion blog feature this piece in their hot new style feature based solely on my design?” This statement just means that if you have a shirt with your name plainly wrote across the chest, it is not very fashion forward. We had a few magazines feature 2 of our very first 4 styles we released. The reason was because we did a very fresh take on a current fashion trend which made our pieces garner attention. All in all, this is not to say that your brand name should not appear anywhere on your design. It is just stating that your brand name should not be the star of the show.
Ideas For Making Your T-shirts Stand Out
1. Have it manufactured from scratch fully designed by you
2. If you have it manufactured you can have different cuts, multi-color body, stitching etc.
3. If you have it made from scratch you can really add your own touch
4. If you have it made from scratch you can then add your graphics for greater impact
5. If you have it made from scratch you can pick some great fabrics
Ideas to Make Your T-shirt s Stand Out If You Are Just Adding Your Designs to Blanks
1. Do something very creative with the artwork design on the chest and the back
2. Use Sublimation Printing on Full Front, Full Back or Both
3. Instead of plain ink etc. – used a raised 3d print technique for your artwork
4. Add patches and actual labels
5. If you have a nice logo – focus on the logo
6. Add other artwork elements around your name on the design
7. Come up with artwork featuring a catchy slogan
Look at the image I put up of the Harper Apparel T-shirt. You have to ask yourself, why would people care about my t-shirt? Sure, my mom loves it. Sure my friends may love it. But why would the retailer downtown love it? Would a customer in another country love it? Would a fashion magazine editor find your piece editorial? Why would they care? If you have to begin your story talking about your personal struggles, or that you don’t have experience, that you are self-taught, or that you are just doing the t-shirts to promote a cause then you have not given your designs a life of their own. The method of just putting your plain brand name across the chest probably only works for celebrities. As an ordinary person or line, you are held to a higher standard when it comes to design.
Often new designers think they need many pieces and a large collection to break into the fashion industry. In reality, you should focus on one style and become great at it. For instance, if you do jeans – do jeans. If you create t-shirts – stick to t-shirts. Don’t try to do too much because it will prove expensive. Narrowing your focus will help you keep cost down as well as allow you to become an expert of the style you choose. For example, say you decide to use the same dress silhouette over and over but you add beautiful prints to each rendition. People will love you for your beautiful prints and you will establish an identity for your brand. Then from there you can branch out. In close – Stand Strong In Your Design & Creativity and You Will Be One Style From Touching The World!