Starting a clothing brand can be done in literally a million different ways. Here, I'll share how we started Nice as Heck, and what got us off the ground.
We started in our basement back in high school. We loved thrift shopping and the graphics used in many vintage pieces, so we wanted to create our own. We started by buying a one-color silk screen press and blank tees, hats, etc. Screen printing was the most viable way to start off, so we watched a couple of YouTube videos to figure out how to burn screens and we were off. Soon enough, we were pumping out tees, hoodies, and other products, obviously in batches of 5-10, but we were creating. This was a great place for us to start, to figure out what it takes, and to get our clothes on our friends at high school.
If I were to recommend a way to start, it would be this. I've attached a link for a $90 silk screen press here if you are interested, and it's pictured below. Just get the rest of the supplies and you are off. I also always loved the idea of taking vintage stuff and screen printing on top of it, creating your own piece straight from a vintage garment.
If you don't want to front the cash and make a design you have no idea will succeed, make a mock-up first. Literally just a drawing on a blank tee. Take this drawing and post it in the Reddit sub Streetwear Startup. Get some feedback before you commit to something, but don't take everyone's feedback as the absolute truth. Your judgment, passion, and belief in something is what gets people to buy, but regardless it's a good place to start without actually committing to anything financially.
Now, when you want to get serious and have an idea for a cut and sew product but don't know how to get it made, your next step is Alibaba. Alibaba will be your saving grace in connecting you with manufacturers overseas for literally anything. They will be the only manufacturers that will do a 25 piece run for you. You want to make a custom air freshener, you got it, we made them and they were sweeeet. A custom tech deck, done. Literally anything you can think of, they will customize for you.
Forewarning though, do your due diligence, look at reviews and customers in the past. Make sure they are legit and will actually deliver on your product. You don't want to place an order and it ends up being completely different from what you envisioned. Make sure you sample, sample, sample until it's exactly how you want it. Don't rush this step, give yourself plenty of time to perfect what you are making, sizing, fit, details, etc. Don't half-ass this step. And boom, eventually, you will get a killer product.
Now sell the product to your friends through social media, or even take the next step and build a site on Shopify. The world is your oyster. Keep experimenting and improving, figuring out how you are trying to position yourself. As long as you keep evolving and going at it, you will get somewhere. Not saying it will be easy, but it's worth the effort. The more you experience, the more you will figure it out. Just make sure you spend your time and money wisely.
Starting a clothing brand can be a rewarding and exciting venture, but it requires dedication, hard work, and a willingness to learn and experiment. There are many different paths you can take to get started, but the key is to start somewhere. Whether it's by screen printing your designs on thrifted garments or using Alibaba to create custom cut and sew products, the important thing is to stay focused and committed to the process. Keep in mind that success won't come overnight, but if you continue to evolve and improve your brand, you will eventually get somewhere. With the right mindset and resources, you can turn your passion for fashion into a thriving business.