Starting a clothing line is not hard in thought. However, in reality, it will probably be harder than anticipated without prior exposure to the fashion industry or other reading.
A lot of aspiring clothing line designers think one of a few ways. Some think they can use an interesting font and just add their brand name to a t-shirt. From there people will just magically love their clothing name so much they will spend heavily on the clothing collection. Some think as long as they make a design it can be made by any printer listed in the phone book or on Google. These and similar ways of thinking are wrong. It takes knowledge to make a career of clothing designing.
First, what type of clothing line do you wish to start with? Are you looking to start a t-shirt clothing line or a custom designed clothing collection?
If looking to design a t-shirt line, it is a little simpler to start your clothing line. You will need funds, a designer, an actual design, a t-shirt printer, and clothing labels (optional). Some things you will need to know from the t-shirt printer to start a clothing line properly is the size specifications (aka specs) of which your design can be, the type of shirt you want to print your design on, and the weight/quality of the t-shirt you are printing on.
One pratcie I saw work successfully for clothing lines is in the summer, cut back in costs by printing on thinner t-shirts. Guys still like to wear an undershirt, so the top shirt in the summer being thin is a benefit for the designer financially and buyer physically. In the winter of course you need thicker wears so be sure to have quality t-shirts for the cold seasons.
Be well aware the quality of t-shirt prints can vary printer to printer. As a clothing line designer you should know the different types of print, from screen printing to heat transfers to foil transers.
Foil transfers, which is seemingly harder to find these days can be done with companies such as Jimmy Jam Foil Printing, Print Wear, and We Need Merchandise.
Two great printers to work with for normal t-shirt prints are Power Digital Printers and Custom Ink.
Starting a clothing line with custom garments? This may get a bit more complicated but really is more-so mental than physical.
To start a clothing line with your own fashion designs, instead of just having a design transferred onto another brand's garment, is not hard. You do need to have creativity however or have a designer that knows about fabric materials, fashion, and has an eye for detail.
Abby S. Clothing Design Sketch
Detail is everything in designing your own clothing collection from scratch. You will need to create a layout that shows how many pockets on pants or a jacket, zippers on a coat, and rips in the denim jeans. You should have an easy to read design that gives proper terminology for each feature you add whether talking about pleats of a skirt or frills versus tears. If you do not know what the proper name is, find a photo of it and ask your manufacturer.
The designs you have created to start a clothing line will be turned over to a garment manufacturer for production after you complete designs. If you want, you can find an American garment manufacturer but your costs will of course be higher. If you are not familiar with garment manufacturers overseas, use sites such as AliBaba as a networking resource. Quite a few clothing manufacturers list here.
Beyond only manufacturing your clothing line, using ApparelSource.com as another great resource for listings and knowledge would be wise.
The key points to starting an original fashion line in my opinion would be quality, price point, fabrics. If you take the time to find a clothing manufacturer, you might as well talk with a few to see who offers the best price for what you want. Also ask for turnaround times and how fast you can get samples sent to you. A good manufacturer should be able to provide samples before all your designs are finalized for production.
Typically, clothing lines today are produced in some part of Asia or South America. Google the names of manufacturers you are thinking of working with to see if you pull any prior customer statements, good or bad.
Always ask questions to whomever you are thinking to work with because if you don't have questions, you might not be sure about what you are getting in return. Always get things put on paper and do not go by word when dealing with such a major action. Honorable references are always great in international business.