Top resources for starting a fashion business


Photo credit: British Fashion Council 

Ah, fashion. The glitz and glamour associated with this world does a great job of masking how competitive the industry can be. Designing, manufacturing, marketing and selling a clothing line takes patience and persistence. Fashion gets a bad rap sometimes, due in part to the colourful characters (Zoolander, anyone?) and frivolous nature of the industry – you’ve got to be nuts to drop thousands on a bag, right?

Well, don’t be so quick to write it off. A 2014 report from the British Fashion Council pegged the direct value of the UK fashion industry at a whopping £26 billion. The same industry was responsible for over 700,000 jobs last year alone.

At Moonfruit, we’re lucky to support a range of fashion professionals, from style bloggers to clothing designers. With Fashion Weeks taking place the world over in February, we’ve rounded up a list of online resources that can help you get your idea out of your head and into the shops. So, if you’re bananas for Balmain, read on.

Get educated
Not a Central Saint Martins grad? Don’t fret – there are a slew of programmes and short courses available to those wanting to start their own fashion business:

British Fashion Council
The British Fashion Council’s Business Support portal offers a plethora of funding programmes for designers at various stages of their careers. They’re ultra supportive of everyone in the industry spectrum, too, so you’ll find opportunities for everything from menswear to fashion films. Read more here.

The Centre for Fashion Enterprise
The CFE offers London-based designers mentoring and business guidance at 4 different growth stages. They count Meadham Kirchhoff and Mary Katrantzou among their alumni, so they must be doing something right.

Creative Skillset
Creative Skillset is geared more towards those who haven’t decided what they want to do yet. We’ve linked to the fashion and textile option above, which goes over different jobs in the industry and gives advice on how to break in.

Don’t see yourself as a designer? The fashion industry is humming with people who work in finance, PR, communications, and more. If you don’t have the skills yet, take a night course (there are tons at the University of the Arts London). If you want to write, set up your own style blog. Remember to start small – you never know what it can amount to. If you want to be a PR rep, offer to intern on a part-time basis or broker a deal with up and coming designers to rep them in exchange for the experience.

Start analysing
If you know what products are selling like hotcakes, you’re going to have a better chance of doing well in business. Enter EDITD, a London-based retail technology company that uses data to help fashion businesses perform better. Co-founders, Julia and Geoff created EDITD after they saw a gap in the market for a tool that offered quantitative insights into the apparel industry. They have free trend reports on their website but if you’re serious about success, it’s worth signing up for a subscription.

Make a business plan and stay informed
The Business of Fashion
The Business of Fashion is a one stop shop for all things fashion-related. CEO Imran Ahmed and his staff curate a heady mix of intelligent content and post daily on the website. Interviews with CEOs perch alongside thoughtful OpEd pieces and cutting edge industry analysis. Their post on the Basics of Setting up a Fashion Business is a must read for anyone who is thinking of starting out in the biz. Read it here.

Raise money
Crowdfunding is a great way to test out market demand before committing time and money to a new venture. You can try stalwarts like Kickstarter or Indiegogo but there are a few niche companies popping up that may be of interest to creatives. Out of X , I Am La Mode , and Before the Label are just some of the fashion-specific crowdfunding platforms out there. The premise works in the same way (if the funding target is reached, products can presumably be made), but visitors to these sites have a vested interest in finding and backing fashion projects.

Get making
If you need help with a particular aspect of your business, look no further than PeoplePerHour. You can find writers, pattern makers, graphic designers and more on this site that lets you pay by the project. It’s simple and a great way to test out a product before ordering a ton of prototypes.

Make a website
Yep, we’re a little biased but we’ve got tons of resources to help you get set up online. Check out some of the great fashion websites created with Moonfruit. Next, check out our range of fashion templates and pick one to get started.

Be sure to check out the following guides as well:
How To: Create a digital lookbook and add it to your site
Starting an online clothing shop: 10 tips for success

Stoke your imagination
We’re going to be a little controversial here and encourage you to get offline. When you’re constantly being bombarded by tweets, texts and emails, your brain doesn’t really get a chance to breathe. Museums are a great way to stimulate your creative juices. Try the Design Museum or the Victoria and Albert Museum. Both run fashion-themed exhibits throughout the year. And because inspiration can strike in the most unlikeliest of places, try going for a run, or taking a shower. Yup, a shower. Studies show that top creatives and business leaders admit to getting their best ideas in the shower. So, if you’re really stuck, lather up.

Sign up for a free website with Moonfruit. Click here.







Amita Parikh
Editor and writer @Moonfruit

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