Table of contents

How to start your clothing brand

Chapter 1: Your brand

It’s time… It’s 18:45 on a monday evening. You’ve been working for months towards this moment. A carefully timed push of a button… and… You’ve set off a chain of events that will change your future forever. You’ve just launched your very own clothing brand.

Ting* Your first sale. Ting*Ting*Ting*

Launching a successful clothing brand is not a strike of good luck. It’s the combination of persistence and the right guidance. Lucky for you, the second part starts exactly with this guide.

1.1 Why is your brand important?

A printed T-shirt doesn’t make a fashion brand. Are you just making cool T-shirts or do you want to achieve success with an inspiring clothing brand? Let’s choose the second option and build your fashion brand. Your brand name and story are aligned with your clothing line, so it’s essential to think about this carefully. This identifies your brand which is necessary to build a relationship with your (potential) customers and fans.

1.2 Create a memorable brand name

Your brand name is not just a name. A brand is a look, a feeling, a style and a personality. This should be consistent in all your products and communication, your brand name will be your guideline. In a later phase, when you will create your clothing collection, it’s important that your brand name and story are translated into your design & style. That’s how you will grow. Later in this guide, we will talk about the creation of your design and style.

Let your creativity run wild. Do research, combine words and so on until you come up with some ideas. Do you think you have found the perfect name? Test it. Learn the best tips and tricks in the blogpost How to name your clothing brand. Then check among other trademarks and domain names if your brand name is still available for use. For the Benelux, you can check it on the website of Benelux Office Intellectual Property (BOIP). Learn more about the protection of your clothing brand in the blogpost ‘How do I protect my clothing brand?’.

However… what is a strong brand name? Here are some great examples.

Johnny Cupcakes

After graduating from high school, Johnny started working in a local record shop. His colleagues gave him all sorts of nicknames. The one that really stuck was ‘Johnny Cupcakes’. When ordering T-shirts for his band, Johnny thought it would be funny to order a few shirts with his nickname on them. When he wore the shirts to work, everyone was super enthusiastic. The word ‘Johnny Cupcakes’ spread like wildfire and everyone wanted a T-shirt. And that’s how an iconic name and business were born.

Johnny Cupcakes - Classic Crossbones

Topwijf

Topwijf is a dutch word for ‘awesome girl’. The company was founded by Fleur, a real girlboss. With her brand, Fleur wants to give other girls a pat on the back by letting them know they are awesome. She thought ‘Topwijf’ was a cool word, so she made some Topwijf T-shirts. The idea was a big hit and everyone wanted a shirt like that.

Topwijf - 3 women hand in hand

Nike

The sports brand Blue Ribbon was founded in 1964. After 7 years, the brand was abandoned by their supplier. That’s when they decided to take over the production themselves. These changes made a name change inevitable. The founders found their inspiration in the Greek mythology. Nike was the Greek goddess of victory and became the guardian angel of the brand.

Nike - Snapback from behind

1.3 Write a resonating brand story

Every great brand tells a great story. When you start writing yours, keep in mind that people have to believe your story. Think of what facts, feelings and interpretations are evoked by your clothing. Start from your brand statement that defines what you do, what you pledge to consistently deliver and how you differ from other clothing brands.

These 2 questions can help you to get started:

  • Why are we here?
  • How are we making the world a better place?

Clothing brand Rockstar Clothing is a great example to illustrate how a starting clothing brand has grown towards an established brand. Discover the brand story of Rockstar Clothing and be inspired.

1.4 Design a logo

The logo, brand name and story are three cornerstones to create a powerful clothing brand. These three are inseparable.

Your logo defines the personality of your brand. I suppose you want to launch a qualitative brand, which means you need a qualitative logo. You can design a logo yourself but we recommend you to work with a designer or a design studio if you don’t have the experience, knowledge and know-how.

Less is more! The best logos in the world are simple but appealing. Start with doing some research and organize a brainstorm session. You won’t make up the ultimate logo on the spot, so you have to give it some time and put in some effort. After the brainstorm session, it’s time to start sketching. What font and typography do you have in mind? That’s one of the questions you have to ask yourself. Sketch everything that comes into your mind.

After that, you can start thinking about the technical part of designing your logo. To do this, you can use a variety of software, for example Adobe Illustrator. To achieve a perfect result according to your wishes, we recommend a professional designer.

Here are some inspiring examples.

Adidas

Throughout history, Adidas has always remained faithful to the three black stripes. The founder even called his business ‘The three stripe company’. The first Adidas logo resembles a mountain. It’s challenging the people who wear it to push themselves to their limit. The logo is very recognizable because it is a very simple and striking design.

Adidas - Iconic logos

Lacoste

When I say ‘Lacoste’, you think about the green crocodile logo, isn’t it? There are 2 stories for the Lacoste logo. First story: René Lacoste was known for his tenacity on the tennis court and gained the nickname ‘the alligator’. From alligator to crocodile, and here we are 80 years later. Second story: the famous crocodile is the result of a bet. René Lacoste, nicknamed ‘The Crocodile’, was wandering with Alan Muhr, his tennis team’s captain. Suddenly, René noticed an elegant crocodile skin suitcase in a store. The bet: Alan would buy him this suitcase if René won a game of tennis. Eventually, René didn’t win but the bet appeared everywhere in newspapers.

Lacoste - iconic logos

Gucci

The double G logo consists the two interlocking, perfectly executed G’s. The two G’s are the initials of Guccio Gucci, the founder of The Fashion House of Gucci. The ultimate example of ‘less is more’.

Gucci - iconic logos
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How to start your clothing brand - Introduction