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How To Start A Fashion Brand On A Budget

Starting a fashion brand can either be very difficult and very expensive, or it can be  very easy and relatively inexpensive. When I hear what some professional people in the fashion industry say about starting a clothing company they make it sound so hard and serious. In my experience most people are not aiming to be the next Mcqueen,  Versace or Stella Mccartney. They just have a good fashion business idea and want to give it a go in a safe environment. To them, it is meant to be fun, not purgatory.

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The experts insist that  you must do a massive amount of research into your potential competitors and customers. That you must make sure  your branding is  in place before launching. That you must have a marketing strategy and business plan . That you must give up work and employ an army of experts. All of this costs an arm and a leg before you even start. So you will also have to have to have your financing in place. But where do you get the financing from ? Banks are not interested in lending to businesses at all, and certainly not to fashion businesses. They have far easier ways of making money than lending, even to productive businesses. And lets face it, when the price of money (interest rates) is at practically zero, why would anyone bother to lend. So this avenue is only open to individuals who can command a great deal of financial backing.


To succeed on a budget  without expert help is virtually impossible. Not only is it virtually impossible, but it is extremely  frustrating, because the fashion industry is notoriously  inept and unreliable. You will find problems at every turn that you will have no answer to. Your money will just disappear down a black hole and you will have nothing to show for it.

” Capitalism demands the best of every man – his rationality – and rewards him accordingly. It leaves every man free to choose the work he likes, to specialize in it, to trade his product for the product of others, and to go as far on the road of achievement as his ability and ambition will carry him”. AYN RAND

If you have a limited budget you need to spend your money judiciously. You need to know where you can save without affecting quality. Ideally you would need to employ a mentor who is experienced in  all aspects of the fashion industry . This could be in the form of a fashion industry consultant, who you would employ purely for advice. Or alternatively you could employ an experienced pattern cutter or technician who understands the fashion industry.

As someone who is both a highly experienced pattern cutter and a fashion industry consultant, I am of course more than a little biased. I dont see the point in employing a clothing business consultant who cannot serve another function. But you do need a very good pattern cutter.

I have forty years experience in the fashion industry, working with some of the very best U.K. designers and clothing companies, alongside complete novice start-up fashion companies.  My services are aimed mainly at these small startup clothing brands with a limited budget. Most of my clients are virtual or complete novices to the clothing business. They are would- be clothing entrepreneurs with a passion for clothing, or they have a specific idea for a product that they want to get to market. Sometimes their ideas are specifically fashion related, but sometimes they are  more generally clothing related, But often they have no idea where to start and are concerned about how to spend the limited money they have wisely.

It is tempting for a start-up to consider getting the factory to deliver a complete service with patterns, grading, samples and production. But I would say that this is asking for trouble. Firstly, factory pattern cutters are rarely professional pattern cutters. Secondly, you need a pattern cutter who specialises in the type of styles you want to produce. Thirdly, you need someone to advise you on which factory is suitable for you. And fourthly, the factory needs to be held to account by in independent  party. It is really important to have this separation.

While it is possible to save a considerable amount of money by purchasing cut price fabrics from discount suppliers or trimmings, it is not possible to do the same with factories or pattern cutters. It is not necessary to go to the most expensive factories or pattern cutters to get good quality results, but it would be a big mistake to go to the cheapest. If a factory is cheap, they are cheap for a reason.

PHONE – 07905-965-305


We provide a number of  one day and half day workshops for fashion Business Startups. These are invaluable workshops for both complete novices and more experienced fashion people. Please check The London Pattern Cutter for details. Workshops we offer include :-


Helping fashion startups since 1984