How to Start Your Own Clothing Line

Are you a budding designer? Have you ever wanted to know how to start your own clothing line? Did the recent round of Graduate Fashion Weeks inspire you or set you free from university? Then hallelujah, we have some majorly helpful information to get you on your way. 

Launched in 2010, ASOS Marketplace has grown into a platform that has helped people create life-changing businesses. With 898 boutiques from over 45 countries, where better to find real-life experiences of budding fashion brands than here? We've grilled some of the site's chicest, most successful ventures to find out how they've paved the path to being both lucrative and well-loved. Which is particularly important right now because the ASOS Marketplace team—who spend a great deal of time nurturing their new finds—are current scouting for fresh brands to stock. That could be you

So to get the lowdown on what it's like setting up your own fashion line from scratch, scroll down to see interviews with four of our favourite ASOS Marketplace labels (and shop a few pieces from them to show your support)…

Based in Hackney, London, House of Sunny is all about alternative basics for purists who don't like their minimalism too minimal. Think perfectly knotted shirt-dresses and split-leg trousers worn tonally head to toe with sneaks.

 

A photo posted by House of Sunny (@houseofsunny) on

WHO WHAT WEAR UK: Why did you set up your brand?

HOUSE OF SUNNY: I was inspired by my tailoring experience and Savile Row training but wanted to inject pace, staple fashion and cult branding to ultimately everyday clothing techniques and traditions.

WWW UK: What was the biggest challenge?

HoS: 12 hour days, seven days per week.

WWW UK: What do you think is the key to your success on ASOS Marketplace?

HoS: The ability to add products with ease and share new styles in the simplest of ways.

WWW UK: If you could give one piece of advice for someone looking to follow your lead, what would it be?

HoS: Focus on achieving skill, talent, pace and precision. If you build this, it’s infectious.

Austro-Thai founder Delie Kastner makes her speciality lingerie and swimwear at home with her family in Bangkok—so you know you're onto something very unique here with Essentials for Zula.

WHO WHAT WEAR UK: Why did you set up your brand?

ESSENTIALS FOR ZULA: I had a vision to create unique and affordable bralettes for the every kind of woman. 

WWW UK: What was the biggest challenge?

EFZ: There are always different challenges, and they make the job fun! The other day we were discussing the problem of packaging. All of our products are wrapped with paper and ribbon and come with personalised messages. We are currently trying to find a way to deal with the increasing demand, whilst keeping our packages personalised like before. 

WWW UK: What do you think is the key to your success on ASOS Marketplace?

EFZ: Communication and consistency. I think that customers want to be communicated [with] about the brand story; all of our products are made by us in our family workshop. I design, my father produces, and my mother packs and ships. Additionally, consistency is very important, in terms of imagery. Focus on the pictures that you choose to upload—choosing the right model, posing in the right lighting, taking it in high resolution. I spend a lot of time selecting the product images.

WWW UK: If you could give one piece of advice for someone looking to follow your lead, what would it be?

EFZ: Go for it! It costs little more than £20 to set up a boutique on ASOS Marketplace. 

With a distinctly '90s vibe, Wirral-based Olive and Frank by Chloe Torpey is all about the cheeky slogo placed artfully on wardrobe basics. Get your message across with one of their many options.

 

A photo posted by Olive and Frank (@oliveandfrank) on

WHO WHAT WEAR UK: Why did you set up your brand?

OLIVE AND FRANK: I interned for a while in different areas of the fashion industry, but I didn't feel like I had found my niche. Starting my own label allowed me to have a creative outlet while combing my interest in business and marketing. Creating something from nothing, that I can scale and grow, was really important to me and is still one of the most exciting parts of owning a label.

WWW UK: What was the biggest challenge?

OaF: Not having a traditional fashion design background has probably been my biggest challenge. Working out how to manufacture my pieces while retailing within my price point and not compromising on quality was quite challenging—and is a continual process as the brand grows. However, I think coming from a non-traditional background has advantages too, such as a "nothing is impossible" attitude!

WWW UK: What do you think is the key to your success on ASOS Marketplace?

OaF: I think having a strong brand identity is really key to our success. Photography is important on [the] marketplace as it allows your brand to stand out, we put a lot of effort into our product photography creating lookbook-style images. 

WWW UK: If you could give one piece of advice for someone looking to follow your lead, what would it be?

OaF: Start small from wherever you are now. It's very easy to get caught up in planning and figuring things out. It's not always easy but work hard, keep going and believe in yourself. 

Originally from Seoul but now positioned in London, Freckle London offers up in-house designs, sources cool buys from across the globe and stocks some well-edited vintage pieces.

 

A photo posted by Freckle London (@freckle_london) on

WHO WHAT WEAR UK: Why did you set up your brand?

FRECKLE LONDON: I always wanted a brand that represented myself and that sold something I’d wear. As I am originally from South Korea, I wanted to bring ideas from Korean fashion and sell them internationally. Being my own boss has its perks as well!

WWW UK: What was the biggest challenge?

FL: Setting up Freckle London wasn’t too difficult, as I already had experience founding The White Pepper back in 2011. I guess the hardest part was leaving a company I had built up over four years in order to start afresh.

WWW UK: What do you think is the key to your success on ASOS Marketplace?

FL: The key is uniqueness—creating good images that stand out. I spend a lot of time on each shoot, working with young artists, photographers and models in order to make my brand a bit different.

WWW UK: If you could give one piece of advice for someone looking to follow your lead, what would it be?

FL: Be creative! Come up with an idea and give it 100%.

Have you discovered a new label you love? Or could you set up shop on your own? Shout out in the comments box below...

Opening Image: House of Sunny