How to start a clothing line

Ready to wear collection for sale

While there are several ways to go about launching your own apparel brand, such as printing on or altering existing blanks, you may have something more custom in mind. What if you want your own unique artwork printed all over the fabric and not just a screen print? Or you want a custom fit? Or you have a unique idea for something that is not readily available on the market? The only way to make that happen is to create your own custom cut & sew clothing. It’s a massive undertaking to try to accomplish by yourself. You’d have to learn how to make flat CAD sketches a factory can read, learn the art of pattern making, figure out how to source the correct fabrics and trims, make tech packs for production with all the right stitch types, and learn the general manufacturing language which is full of abbreviations like MOQ, BOM, POM, Colorways, FOB, etc*.


We’re here to take on the technical part of the project on so you can focus on all the other parts of having your own clothing line, like websites, marketing, shipping strategies, and sales. Creating original clothing is an intense process. It can take anywhere from 6-12 weeks to get first samples made, depending on the complexity of the style. Then that process repeats as needed to get the fit exactly where you want it to be. Thereafter, all sizes (or at least a few) should be sampled and reviewed on body as well to make sure the design executes into other sizes before bulk production. This can take anywhere from 6-12 months depending, again, on the unique style itself.


This is a long, complex, and iterative process that incurs high startup costs too. However, totally unique custom product is often perceived by customers as more valuable. And if you’ve found a niche market, there is greater potential for more long-term success. See also https://www.developapparel.com/post/how-much-does-it-cost-to-start-a-clothing-line Simply fill out the short contact form if you’re ready, willing, and able to get started on your project!


*Lingo Key:

  • Blanks = Plain, solid color basic clothing that can be bought in batches (like at SanMar.com)

  • CAD= Computer automated design (Kind of an older industry term. A flat CAD sketch is often called an Illustrator flat or AI flat these days. See this post about flats - https://www.developapparel.com/post/flat-sketches-vs-hand-sketches )

  • MOQ = Minimum order quantity (Small MOQ=$$$, Large MOQ = $$)

  • BOM = Bill of materials (part of the tech pack that details out components. For more on tech packs, https://www.developapparel.com/post/what-is-a-tech-pack )

  • POM = Point of measure (where and how measurements are taken on a garment)

  • Colorways = colors your item is made in (Fashion industry term for the final color of a garment)

  • FOB = Freight on Board (Pricing that includes material, CMT labor and transport to the COO exit point. Does not include shipping, insurance, tariffs or taxes.)

Since I just added used more by accident –

  • CMT= Cut/Make/Trim (Many factories will do cutting, sewing, and apply trims / trim thread only. You must provide everything else.)

  • COO=Country of Origin (where a product is made)

Feel free to comment or email us with any terminology or ‘how’ questions!

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