The cost of starting a line will probably come as a surprise to anyone who hasn’t worked in the fashion industry. Many people I meet with think that you go to Joanne’s, buy some fabric, buy a pattern, make some tweaks, sew it up, and voila! You have a sample. While it partly depends on what you’re making, this process will probably not get you the exact fabric you want or a pattern that will be functional in bulk to an apparel factory. You’ll be able to make 1 piece of something, one by one. For some, this is a fine way to start.
Ask anyone who has a clothing brand what they went through when they were starting up. Everyone will have a story. Maybe they went to tons of sourcing shows and still couldn’t get the fabric or factory they needed. Or they had to go through 28 iterations of their first pattern to get the right fit on body. (That’s a true story I heard from a client). Or they had to pay a huge up-charge to make small quantity under the factory minimum. Ask them what it cost by the time they finally had finished garments in hand from the factory. Each brand and line will be different because each article of clothing is unique, but the most common range I hear and often see firsthand is $30-50K to start a small collection from concept. I've also seen one piece higher-end items cost this much to develop and launch. I cross-checked this with some other industry professionals recently and they confirmed the same range.
An experienced professional can advise you what you need to consider when you’re getting started. Reach out for consulting here and I can help you come up with a plan.