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Starting my own label - Page 3

post #31 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by LabelKing
Clothing fit and silhoutte, no matter how avant-garde or crazy you want to get is based on certain traditions.
Hogwash! Who needs armholes?
post #32 of 52
I think you are getting way ahead of yourself, I have been around and had experience starting labels. You have to keep in mind that the reason there are thousands of small lables because its easy to start.

If I were you I would not waste your time with a sewing machine or any of that stuff. Start small with t-shirts and hoodies. There are plenty of companies that make decent blanks (American Apparel, Alternative apparel, allstyle apparel) and if you aren't satisfied with them you can mess around with chemical washes to get your desired feel.

As far as printing, there are hundreds of screen printers in the yellow pages. call around and get prices. You will be fine with a discharge print for this round and if you are lucky you can find a printer that can do water based inks.

Find a local graphic artist or friend who can draw and do a couple designs and take it from there. Don't worry about trade shows or any of that stuff until further down the line. If you can start hanging out at some retail stores in your area and talk with the employees (or buyer if you can) and talk about what sells and tell them about your idea.

It's a long road but if you take it one store at a time, it can work out. Hope that helps.
post #33 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by twin8885
I think you are getting way ahead of yourself, I have been around and had experience starting labels. You have to keep in mind that the reason there are thousands of small lables because its easy to start.

If I were you I would not waste your time with a sewing machine or any of that stuff. Start small with t-shirts and hoodies. There are plenty of companies that make decent blanks (American Apparel, Alternative apparel, allstyle apparel) and if you aren't satisfied with them you can mess around with chemical washes to get your desired feel.

As far as printing, there are hundreds of screen printers in the yellow pages. call around and get prices. You will be fine with a discharge print for this round and if you are lucky you can find a printer that can do water based inks.

Find a local graphic artist or friend who can draw and do a couple designs and take it from there. Don't worry about trade shows or any of that stuff until further down the line. If you can start hanging out at some retail stores in your area and talk with the employees (or buyer if you can) and talk about what sells and tell them about your idea.

It's a long road but if you take it one store at a time, it can work out. Hope that helps.
Glad to have you on the site, it sounds like your input will be really valuable here.

That said, what you said assumes his design ideas can be translated into (or are limited to) prints on pre-made shirts. If his ideas require new garments based on old garments or based on nothing, he will need to be able to articulate those ideas somehow. He definitely must learn how to sketch. He should also learn who to talk to and what not to tell them - for example, telling Urban Outfitters about a good idea is a BAD IDEA (I've heard this from inside). They will talk to you, make nice and get to know your idea, and then rip it off and give you nothing.

The ideal scenario I can see for a concept like this is to come up with a coherent theme and some really solid iconic representative pieces, some samples made by yourself or whoever, get some contacts for who's going to make it, and then find a really friendly buyer/backer who's willing to help you launch the line through their store and take over a lot of the production details.
post #34 of 52
I am actually in talks with dealing with urban outfitters right now, so I will let you know how that goes. But if you are referring to the Johnny Cupcakes thing, I think there was more to it then them just ripping it off.

J, I agree with what you said and its another (more complicated) side to the business. You are going to find that it is a hefty up front investment to get samples made and that even then it will be harder to find someone to do production on the goods at a decent minimum. If you do it this way you are going to have to find a pattern maker, grader, cutter, sewer, dye house, fabric source and so on. So, it gets very difficult unless you have the time to oversee this type of production. Not that I am discouraging it if you have the ability to choose that road.
post #35 of 52
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LabelKing
How so? Clothing fit and silhoutte, no matter how avant-garde or crazy you want to get is based on certain traditions. You really can't analyze Heidegger without Kant, can you? And for that matter, the Greeks.
I don't really feel my understanding of life or human existence is terribly enriched because I know Thales or Anaximenes. Seriously, I think we're coming at this a bit differently. I am not saying I wish to remain ignorant of traditional clothing styles. Hell, a lot of ideas I have are informed by some very old designs. What I am saying is that I will never hand stitch a collar for 50 hours in order to make the perfect suit, and that sort of tradition is what I do not have interest in.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ken
Hogwash! Who needs armholes?
Please see my line of fashionable capes!
Quote:
Originally Posted by j
That said, what you said assumes his design ideas can be translated into (or are limited to) prints on pre-made shirts. If his ideas require new garments based on old garments or based on nothing, he will need to be able to articulate those ideas somehow. He definitely must learn how to sketch. He should also learn who to talk to and what not to tell them - for example, telling Urban Outfitters about a good idea is a BAD IDEA (I've heard this from inside). They will talk to you, make nice and get to know your idea, and then rip it off and give you nothing.
This is part of the problem, really. Not that I don't have tshirt ideas I'd like to work with or hoodies I'd really like to make, but the majority of my designs are not purely graphical. twin may have a point, though, that in terms of business, it may be eventually better if I start initially with ts and hoodies and work on interesting designs and dye work and then work on the other stuff when I have amassed enough capital. I don't know the industry well enough to judge this.
Quote:
Originally Posted by j
The ideal scenario I can see for a concept like this is to come up with a coherent theme and some really solid iconic representative pieces, some samples made by yourself or whoever, get some contacts for who's going to make it, and then find a really friendly buyer/backer who's willing to help you launch the line through their store and take over a lot of the production details.
In all seriousness, past all the stuff about learning about construction and the like, does this seem realistic to you? It certainly seems much simpler than what I had assumed would be necessary (amassing capital, overseeing mass production, etc).
post #36 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arethusa
In all seriousness, past all the stuff about learning about construction and the like, does this seem realistic to you? It certainly seems much simpler than what I had assumed would be necessary (amassing capital, overseeing mass production, etc).

Unless your stuff is mindblowing and you meet all the right people magically, no, it's not very realistic.

In terms of a viable path toward running a label, starting out on prints and getting some cred and some loyal buyers and a fanbase sounds like a really good idea. But if your aesthetic doesn't include t-shirts and hoodies, what are you supposed to do?

I don't have an answer. This is stuff I've (vaguely) thought about a lot, so I am interested in the topic. And my personal aesthetic would be unlikely to include any prints on t-shirts. Even though I've thought up designs I think would look good on t-shirts, I wouldn't want those to represent me at all, since that's not how I am.
post #37 of 52
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by j
I don't have an answer. This is stuff I've (vaguely) thought about a lot, so I am interested in the topic. And my personal aesthetic would be unlikely to include any prints on t-shirts. Even though I've thought up designs I think would look good on t-shirts, I wouldn't want those to represent me at all, since that's not how I am.
Unfortunately, this is pretty much exactly how I feel as well. I wouldn't mind doing the prints separately, but beyond that, I don't know.
post #38 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arethusa
I don't really feel my understanding of life or human existence is terribly enriched because I know Thales or Anaximenes. Seriously, I think we're coming at this a bit differently. I am not saying I wish to remain ignorant of traditional clothing styles. Hell, a lot of ideas I have are informed by some very old designs. What I am saying is that I will never hand stitch a collar for 50 hours in order to make the perfect suit, and that sort of tradition is what I do not have interest in.
I didn't mean that you were required to handstich lapels or handsew buttonholes. What your posts imply is that you don't want to learn anything traditional in the sense of construction or style. Do you respect the craft that goes into a handstitched lapel? To articulate, there are certain nuances of fit, even in tee-shirts and casual jackets, that owe themselves to what the couturiers and tailors of the past conceived of. Unless you want to exclusively alter pre-fabricated items as a business venture, then not knowing basics of construction, henceforth formal tradition, is not a particularly good decision. As for Heidegger and friends, I only used them as an example of how to understand something there is needed a foundation.
post #39 of 52
Thread Starter 
Absolutely not. I'm not opposed to learning necessary technique, and I realize while I may hate suits and formalwear, there is a lot to be learned there about fit, construction, cut, etc. Obviously, I could really only hope to ignore all of this if I wanted to work exclusively with printing on prefab stuff. My point has really only been that while I find history interesting and informative, tradition does not hold value simply by virtue of establishment. And I was jokng about Thales. If anything, mentioning those guys is closer to saying I don't want to learn the intricacies of selvage loincloth construction.
post #40 of 52
Whether you like it or not, tradition is there in minds of buyers and, albeit likely subconsciously, the general populace. You may choose to tweak or completely rebel against it and do something different, but you should understand what you are working against. Even Yohji was trained in tradition. His knowledge and respect for the Japanese tradition, specifically, is part of the reason he has been so successful.
post #41 of 52
This thread is very informative. I want to bring up Trovata as an example of a fairly sucessful company started by four liberal arts undergrads with no fashion experience or training. IIRC, they just started putting stuff together and sent it to different stores. I believe they were first picked up by Barney's. I have never tried emailing them, but they would probably be willing to answer any questions you have.
post #42 of 52
... even companies like "imitation of christ" that were taking preexisting items and deconstructing them really had a hard time making it in the marketplace and if you look at the company today, i believe only one of the two original designers are around and they design now, don't deconstruct (it's a limited market i guess)

... josia lamberto-egan at trovata responds back well to inquiries, albeit often in a highly obscured creative manner
post #43 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arethusa
Unfortunately, this is pretty much exactly how I feel as well. I wouldn't mind doing the prints separately, but beyond that, I don't know.

Learn to cut and sew. Oh, and obviously how to make patterns. There are plenty of books on the former, and the latter you can try by starting from existing patterns. You will learn a lot about what is, and what is not possible, not have to go the tee-shirt and hoodie route (although there are plenty of good brands that start that way), and when it comes time to work with other people (the cutters, graders, etc...) for scaling up your production, you will be set.

Another way to go about this is to open a retail store, and introduce (along with other brands) a first rate house line (first tees, hoodies, shirts, belts, and other things that can easily be Made-to-order, then more). Steven Alan, Opening Ceremony, Nom de Guerre, all started this way.
post #44 of 52
The practice is the foundation. All creative work is supported by a foundation. Spend the next 10-15 years working on your practice, that is, the thing that is going to hold your work up.
post #45 of 52
In whatever way you prefer to do so, you need to educate yourself. Arethusa, it seems from your posts that you have an aversion to doing this which I do not understand. It is a common fallacy that ignorance breeds creativity. Picasso could replicate the great masters.

Fashion design is not my profession, so feel free to correct my list of topics that one should know in starting a new business in fashion design.

1-Fabric: All artists need to know their media. The choice of fabric is foundational to any piece, and you need to know what is available. IMO, this is Jay Allen's biggest strength. He was patient enough to get the chemistry right between the fabric and the dye.

2-Diction: You need to be able to talk the talk if you are going to walk the walk. You must be able to accurately describe your work and your ideas. It is not just about sounding like an insider (this can help or hurt) but about communicating enthusiasm for your work and also giving your reps/retailers the language to describe it.

3-Trends: What has been done (everything)...ok, then what has been done recently. You should follow the popular culture well enough to see the rise and fall of trends and to be ahead of the curve. I know, I know, your line won't be trendy, it will be timeless.

4-Construction: You should be familiar with how garments are made even if you are not the one making them. You must be able to check QC on production or on the pre-fab products that you are choosing between. You want to make a good first-impression, and the buyers that you will be talking to know something about construction.

5-Retail: As mentioned in 4, unless you plan to only hock your wares on the web, you are going to deal with retailers. It is useful to know something about their business as it will strengthen your position in negotiations. It goes without saying that you should know when to show your stuff (when the buyers are buying for fall, show fall!)

6-Customer: Somebody needs to buy this stuff. You might want to figure out who would both wear your designs and have the money to pay for them. Then you can focus on retailers who attract those customers.

7-Finances: This is a business after all. Unless you plan to hire an accountant, you should learn how to keep good records (everyone should know this) and become familiar with tax law for small businesses. Sure, you don't need to know about this when you're just printing runs of 30 t-shirts, but by the time you need to know, you'll be too busy to learn. You should also decide how you plan to raise initial capital. Good credit could get you a loan. If you don't have the money yourself, good samples and a good vision may be able to land you a backer (with some loss of creative control).

8-Plan: What does success mean to you? If you have no plan, you just might end up a very bitter old man.
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