Start a Fashion Company

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If you have knowledge or experience in fashion designing you can start a company making clothes, shoes and accessories and selling them to specialty stores or in your own boutique. Our basic guide will help you discover what you need to know about starting a fashion company.

Fashion generally refers to the prevailing style at a certain period of time, but most often people associate it with clothing and accessorising.

It is an important part of our culture so that it has become a multi-billion dollar industry. Yearly, fashion shows are held in fashion capitals of the world like Paris and New York. One can start a company under this industry as a clothing designer, accessories designer or footwear designer. What you need to have is knowledge of fashion, textile fabric and ornamentation, maybe from a university or design school or from working in a fashion designing company. Better still if this knowledge is supplemented by a degree in business or marketing. Visit The National Association of Schools of Art and Design for a list of accredited institutions that offer art and design courses.

Starting a Fashion Company Big or Small

If you are planning to start a fashion designing business, you must first determine how large your business should be. Of course, it would depend on how much capital you have. Determining how big or small your business would be will clarify what will be your function in your business. If you have considerable experience and is starting big, you can be a lead designer for a staff of technical designers. As such you become responsible for creating the designs, and choosing the colours and fabrics, but it is the group of technical designer that should do the work of turning into final product the designs you made. It means you will have your own patternmakers, tailors, hand sewers and dressmakers.

If you are starting small, which may mean alone with just an assistant, you do most or all of the work, from designing to patternmaking to sewing the clothes. You can design clothes made of high-quality, expensive textiles sewn with top-of-the line expertise for individual clients or you can do original work for specialty stores, or retail your work in your own store. You can start this project as a home business. What you would need are fabric, sewing machines, lightings, need-craft kits, scissors and cutting tools, and pattern making tables. Fashion designers can earn up to $80,000 yearly.

Miscellaneous Tips for a Fashion Designer

  • computer-aided designs are gaining popularity, but keep your sketching ability as they always remain useful for a fashion designer
  • keep yourself updated about what's going on in the fashion business by associating with people within your local fashion industry and reading from magazines what others are saying about coming trends in fashion so that you will be able to make designs that are relevant to the times
  • create a fashion look that clients could identify as being your work
  • develop a strong sales and presentation skills – you’d need this as much as your fashion designing skills in bringing your business to success

73 Comments

  • 1. april said on 4/7/2009 2:46:24 PM
    wow that was a lot to read please help me with every thing i am only 13 years old.
  • 2. Mathew said on 4/22/2009 4:20:43 AM
    That was really OK. I actually want to start a fashion school which will handle training on dress making, jewelry, make up, etc. What suggestion would you have for me. I need some materials to study first. joyjudah@yahoo.com
  • 3. janelle said on 5/18/2009 10:45:33 PM
    wow that's cool but what i was looking for was how much money it pays to start designing or becoming a fashion designer
  • 4. anthony said on 6/1/2009 2:01:56 PM
    give me some fashion manual.
  • 5. hb said on 6/11/2009 10:59:06 AM
    it doesn't pay much - beginning designers in big cities w/ BFA degrees can expect to earn around 32,000, annually... once you gain experience, after about 8 yrs, you can expect to earn about 75-125k, starting a business in this area is very costly due to materials and labor expenses.... between 250k-1m depending on size and location.
  • 6. sandra said on 8/10/2009 8:12:08 AM
    I'm so interested in fashion and I'm 15 years old. one of my biggest dream is to open up a fashion business in the future, i can't saw that well and my designing skills needs to improve. i love designing and anything that got to do with being creative. i do have very big passion for fashion and i would love to achieve my dreams. what are some advise can you give me?
  • 7. lims vincent said on 8/13/2009 6:52:05 AM
    I am planning to start a business in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Anyone in India who is interested in approaching me with wholesale garments, with the latest fashion in chudidhaar, salwar, and other garments..
  • 8. loveth said on 9/24/2009 1:51:10 PM
    i need materials on this
  • 9. ankur said on 10/13/2009 2:47:38 PM
    Mr. Lims Vincent, it would be my pleasure to explore some business opportunity with you so email me if you can at ankurjas1980@yahoo.com
  • 10. Orzbor Williams said on 4/21/2010 6:30:50 AM
    i 24 years and in Ghana, aspires to be a great fashion designer, what help do you have for me. and where will i get the nice fabric from
  • 11. keisha said on 5/4/2010 3:28:21 PM
    am only 15 i really love designing clothes i have lots of ideas right now please contact me as soon as you can thanks
  • 12. Rea said on 6/23/2010 3:45:26 AM
    We carry large selection of silks, fabrics, and fashion products. We are supplier for buyers and also can do large production of sewing, cutting for your design. We are located in Cambodia. Contact me at sapphirise@yahoo.com Thanks.
  • 13. olivia dobrin said on 7/8/2010 12:31:18 PM
    i really want to become a fashion designer with my friend but we have no idea on how to? how much does it cost? how to get money? i need help@!! anyone can you help me!!!!!!! i love to design clothes but not sure were to begin!!
  • 14. Anamika Purti said on 8/16/2010 3:07:10 PM
    I just had a desire to implement my skills in fashion designing business... i have not done any course concerning this
  • 15. Anamika Purti said on 8/16/2010 3:10:19 PM
    What are the courses necessary regarding business establishing in fashion....m 26...n has not been associated to this field...what kind of Masters degree is required
  • 16. Bukky Pearse said on 9/26/2010 3:24:57 PM
    am a Nigerian located in Lagos, i want to start a fashion label known all over the world. I need to improve my designing skill and my finishings. How do i go about it. is there any online course i can do?
  • 17. Sasha said on 1/17/2011 11:58:58 PM
    To anyone who wishes to become a designer, the first thing you need to do, if you are in an English speaking country, learn to write well in English. You will have to do a lot of paper work and a LOT of writing. Also, you will have to do more than just take a few courses if you want to do more than just work from your home. You will need to take an entire program. Parsons and are among the top design schools, but if you have to study at home the Academy of Art University offers both a bachelors and masters degree program in fashion design completely online. You need to do a lot more research than asking people on this website to give you one-on-one help - they really don't care THAT much. You need to decide exactly what you want to do. Do you want to work for yourself? or for a big company? What part of the fashion creating process are you interested in? clothing design? textile design? pattern making? buying? . . . You need to know what you want before you ask others for help with how to get there.
  • 18. Sophia Ratnam said on 1/21/2011 9:11:26 PM
    Wellington, New Zealand. I am planning to start up a designer wear in womens wear.I have great interest in creating different designs with skirts.I take interest in making different kinds of skirts.I have already made about 15 designs for my skirts which include long version and short version.I am looking for fabric supplier where i can get good fabric for cheaper price.Also i would appreciate if i can get somewhere i can get my garments made with good quality. sophie.ratnam@hotmail.com
  • 19. aisha ahmed said on 1/27/2011 4:18:49 PM
    please i want to start a fashion school but need a professionally recognized fashion school for franchise. or a sort of affiliation, but at an affordable price. i'm from kaduna city, nigeria
  • 20. Kiera said on 2/25/2011 12:47:15 AM
    Hey, I am considering creating a website where young designers (including me) can sell their designs and get opinions and suggestions in making them better.. I would need a few designers to start off with. I'm looking for fashion designers of any age that are interested in designing and making their clothing, I will then post them on the website so then people can buy the designs and then the designer will receive money for their designs. I might start off with a $1 fee for posting each design... But you will receive all profits on sales... Anyone interested? Email me: kcblab@hotmail.com. If you are interested or want more information..
  • 21. Nifemi said on 3/17/2011 5:40:35 PM
    Am a nigerian, based in Lagos. have great passion for fashion designing. am a student in one of the fashion school around. need to improve my designing skills and finishing. please, need a good school in Ghana, South-Africa or London. so that i can sharpen the little skills have got. thks
  • 22. Chikita said on 6/18/2011 7:14:48 PM
    San Fernando Ca. Hello I have a degree in Fashion Design..(AA) The skills I have is out of passion and what I was taught at school. My goal is one day being able to have a clothing line of my own for plus size women Active Wear/Ready Wear as well Career Wear, Though out time I have bought 3 industrial machines, 1 straight needle/1- 5'needle overlock/1 Merrow stitch. I love what I do and have studied I just don't have much knowledge of starting my own business as well Money. Not very many people believe in me because theirs NO! Money! to start up......any good advise that won't detour me from my goals...
  • 23. Taniya .S. said on 7/26/2011 8:21:48 PM
    Charlotte NC I'm 11 years old and i wanna start my own fashion company i've been designing clothes for years and i love it i want to share my things with the world what can i say I Have a passion 4 fashion
  • 24. Adeola said on 8/15/2011 12:01:25 PM
    I want to start a fashion school, dress making. i need ideas on how to start small and grow big. and i need where i can get good fabric for less price. OGUN STATE, SAGAMU NIGERIA
  • 25. D|ASIKO said on 9/19/2011 11:55:23 AM
    Lagos, Nigeria. I am young and talented with a degree in Fashion Designing. I have my fashion line but it's small scale. My goal is to have a full-fledged fashion company with state-of-art machines, warehouse, sales outlets and my team of staff. I need financing....i hereby write to interested investors to please email me: adeolafalodun@yahoo.com...Thanks!
  • 26. Indu Arora said on 12/9/2011 7:09:08 AM
    If you are a retailer I have high end to luxury line of apparels for mens and womens. I am located in USA and designs are from USA, Switzerland NZ etc.
  • 27. tijani mariam said on 12/29/2011 5:30:47 AM
    hi,i've gone thru your site and people's comment-guess am in the right place.am a graduate of accounting from one of nigerian university,residing in lagos nigeria.decided to quit my job about two years ago b'cos i felt the to start something i have always had passion for and also to be my own boss.finished my basic sewing skill course about a year ago but since then i've only been sewing for my self and my daughter b'cos people around dont believe in me and i believe in starting from home b'cos in my opinion,it will enable me improve & build confidence in myself before getting an outlet outside.but the customers are not forthcoming certainly not becos my work is bad. though,there's still room for improvement and am still learning.how can i get customers while i operate from home and continue with my skill and confidence building in preparation for the outside world?My dream is to become a famous and renowned designer throughout the world building my success from the scratch with hard work.I WANT MY SUCCESS STORY TO BE A SOURCE OF INSPIRATION TO OTHERS,thanks!
  • 28. SALIM said on 2/5/2012 12:17:04 AM
    i start of perfumes and watch , location near airport, doha, Qatar
  • 29. ShanteldeWet said on 3/17/2012 8:31:32 AM
    I am 18 years old and have a double dose passion for fashion. I don't have money to study next year so I'm going to work and save money for later studies. I just want to get experience in the fashion world so long but every time people say I need experience. So I just want to know is there anyone who let young people work for them and get experience and let them study part time? I am in South Africa but my dream is to be a fashion designer in Los Angeles or New York.
  • 30. Rico said on 7/16/2012 7:33:44 AM
    I want to open up a clothing line how can I get d breakdown of everything I need to buy and labour I need to put in to make it a success.Am from Lagos Nigeria
  • 31. Nifemi said on 7/26/2012 7:39:07 PM
    well anyone who is in Nigeria at this moment and wants to start a fashion line should please contact me 08167845800... i really need to start up fast.. i design clothes, shoes and bags...
  • 32. Olashupo said on 9/19/2012 5:49:17 AM
    I will love to go into fashion fully, am a graduate of electrical & electronic engineering. am 27 by age' base in ketu, lagos nigeria. please kindly help me out cos i need an expert to start with which the payment is affordable.
  • 33. mac innocent said on 9/23/2012 10:10:40 AM
    I want to open up a small clothing line-a brand and my focus is on casual wear ( t-shirts, shirts, short, jean etc) how can I get the breakdown of everything I need to buy and labour I need to put in to make it a success. i base in Lagos Nigeria. and how much will be ok to start the small business. my target are middle class. thanks.
  • 34. Amaefule Gold said on 10/4/2012 2:05:12 PM
    My business is located at Ikeja Lagos, Nigeria. I actually want to start a fashion school which will handle training on dress making,Hair dressing, make up, etc. What suggestion would you have for me. I need the names and price list for fashion designing machines and Hair dressing Equipments. Princessnwanganga@yahooo.com
  • 35. ganiyu olanrewaju bankole said on 10/9/2012 2:11:52 PM
    Write your business loam a dress maker and located in lagos ikotun . I make men and women wears but willing 2 see and know more
  • 36. joe said on 11/14/2012 8:41:39 AM
    i am a fashion designer but i don't sow. i have all my designs in a catalog but how to go about it, is what i really want to know as i plan venturing into it big time.
  • 37. maryjane said on 1/26/2013 3:59:12 PM
    i am a talented designer from nigeria. an undergraduate. anyone who needs a feminine wear designer. should pls contact me. +2348161263654. i would luv to work with any serious fashion firm..either large of small..my styles.. and designs..r really lovly..nd it what evry woman wud die for...
  • 38. Safina Kimbokota said on 3/5/2013 4:05:58 PM
    I'm emerging fashion design, I'm looking forward to start a fashion house, Can you please advice me on the things I need to do so as my dream come true
  • 39. Marian said on 3/16/2013 3:58:12 AM
    I want to start a fashion business, though I already have a small boutique but my vision is to be a fashion designer, like own my own designs, my label and what have you. I want to have an overview of how to start the cost and all. Am Marian from Lagos Nigeria.
  • 40. Hafshelline said on 3/23/2013 3:30:25 AM
    Hello All, lovely comments all here, it feels real good to hear all your questions, passions and motives in the fashion business. Fashion is a very fun business to venture into, but i must tell you that it is a very tasking bus
  • 41. Fatokun taiwo said on 3/23/2013 7:57:21 AM
    Good day to you sir/ma, having gone through a number disappointment, i decided to come online to see what real help i can find. The situation in Nigeria is quit challenging. Having gone through the university, it is really challenging when one is unable to secure a gainful employment. God is good to me in so many ways and i know it. He gave me extraordinary talents in making cloths, shoe and some other crafts without even learning them. When i was doing my NYSC, i made shirts and even a skirt without learning it(i knew i always have the passions). i have since gone to learn more about these things. My major challenge is setting up an outfit for my self. Raising capital has not been easy. I have a sewing machine which am using to manage at home(where i am hidden, because it is a remote place). I desire to come out to the open now, but i don't have the capital to achieve this desire. It is my second year running waiting on my people to help me raise some many. They tried... but, it is really small to leave home with. I will never harm anybody or do any ungodly run to achieve this. I need help, please help if you are lead and if you can. My number is +2348057879545, i'll be really grateful. Clothe and shoe making, Ogbomoso, Oyo state, Nigeria
  • 42. hena said on 4/2/2013 11:52:52 AM
    Hi anyone in birmingham uk want to start dress making business. Please email me and well chat further I have a plan just need some help!
  • 43. aderonke bodunde said on 7/1/2013 11:33:58 AM
    hi my name is ronke , am a fashion designer and trying to open a fashion outfit. i need fashion designers who i can employ to work with me.am in nigeria lagos isolo. if you are interested please send an email to aderonkebabs@yahoo.com. thanks
  • 44. Christabel Odiase said on 7/4/2013 9:57:55 AM
    Hello; my name is Christabel, am a fashion designer, i have great plans of setting up a fashion house and school but dnt have finance for it. However, if i could get a sponsor which whom we could make a team, it will definitely be awesome. I have a sense of high fashion and couture. Interested sponsor could call me on +2348166656446 or inbox me on citibelltreads@yahoo.com . thanks . Also i will love to work in a reputable fashion house and fashion school as a pattern making instructor .
  • 45. atiereanieysimpson said on 7/28/2013 4:46:16 PM
    Hi, i am in houston and i'm 11 years old and i think that people should half to be a sertin age or have any thing to start a business, or have a really good ideas and a great personality, you might think i am immature to do this, i'm in the six grade and i just want to be the next big thing at a young age. if you want to contact me call:409-225-8410 if no one answer please leave a message please call. From, atiereaniey simpson. On chimneyrock ap#406
  • 46. Creamycake said on 8/20/2013 11:37:14 PM
    I'm ten years old, and I want to be a successful designer. So I was thinking I could make jewelry and maybe sell it like it was a lemonade stand. Then sell it to some of my friends and my moms friends. Then I would buy material from hobby lobby and make a skirt or dress. And keep that as an example, and do it more and more often until I made at least 300 dollars from selling my designs and then I would mention it to someone I know that can get my business started!!
  • 47. Habibat nasiru said on 8/28/2013 4:07:02 PM
    Am from Abuja, Nigeria. I want to establish my clothing line but i have no experience in the fashion industry but i know how to design cloths, bags and shoes what do i do to make my dream com true is there any outstanding fashion school in nigeria i can go to. Pls contact me @: mohabna1@gmail.com
  • 48. Mpho Mareletse said on 10/4/2013 7:26:47 AM
    Hi My name is Mpho from South Africa, i have a 12 years old daughter and she wants to be a fashion designer. Her role model is Kimora. She knows how to design clothes and she's attending sewing classes on Saturday. She wants to have her own business.. that's her dream. please contact me at mphozam434@gmail.com
  • 49. Maryam moha said on 10/4/2013 11:35:30 AM
    Hello my name is maryam and i am 18years old i am a nigerian from kaduna i really wanna start a fashion business but dont know how to plz anyone who can help should contact me 08135692888
  • 50. Prempeh said on 10/14/2013 9:14:35 AM
    I am 21 yrs of age in Ghana i want to become a fashion designer i help being making designs i need help to be employed in a company. If u can help me contact me 233\0540754440
  • 51. lawlah isie said on 11/14/2013 10:52:46 PM
    i want to start a fashion house that will empower the youths, please advise me on how to start.
  • 52. Em jay aroo said on 11/23/2013 9:00:42 PM
    I have already opened a fashion designing shop at Abeokuta , but I need advice on I will improve on I will make more customers because my area is within a new estate.
  • 53. Em-jay aroo thread and needle shop said on 11/23/2013 9:10:32 PM
    I have opened a fashion designing shop at Abeokuta , I need advice or guidelines on how to make more customers, then how to make name on the business
  • 54. Naomi said on 12/9/2013 3:46:46 PM
    My name is Naomi. Am an undergraduate, am also an experienced, Talented fashion designer. The skill I have is out of passion. I draw my own sketches and sew the dresses myself. I have designed dresses that attracts so much attention from the public. People around me believes in me. I have hoped that one day I will have a fashion house of my own. But I have no money to start the business. please I need a financial support. If I could get a sponsor or probably an investor I will be very grateful. Interested sponsors/investors should please contact me on +2348026103073, +23432244276, or email me at authentic_nora@yahoo.com, authenticnora@gmail.com. I will be waiting.
  • 55. samuel said on 12/11/2013 11:19:11 AM
    naomi, this is a opportunity for you, i am well known model in nigeria, i would love to open a fashion house, i have the money but no experience of the making but i can design to the fullest,here is my email chijiokes26@yahoo.com......send me an email so we meet, but at the moment am in thailand hoping to hop in my 22 december maybe we have some chat. samuel chijioke
  • 56. anita arries said on 12/16/2013 5:04:44 PM
    hi my name is Anita I'm from Cape Town South Africa and it has been my life long dream to become a fashion designer. The stuff I draw mostly is haute couture dresses. The thing I most likely want to do is sewing or if there's any one who would be able to help me pursue my dream please contact me at anita.arries@gmail.com.My sketching ability is self taught a true gift but I am really good at it so please any one out there who is willing to help please. please contact me
  • 57. Bolanle Ogunjobi said on 1/14/2014 8:15:09 AM
    Lagos Nigeria. I already have a building of my own in a good location in Nigeria .Am planning to start BIG . what advice and support can you give . I have the experience about garment studio and a fashion school.
  • 58. Ade said on 5/28/2014 7:34:42 PM
    i am a fashion designer in Lagos Nigeria, does anyone know about a good manufacturing house in india or china? please i need help with mass production of my fashion line. please contact me through my email : ade.ogundoyin@gmail.com
  • 59. olateju said on 5/31/2014 4:02:21 AM
    I am a fashion designer, and I need fashion designers who can work with me, I am currently based in ogbomoso. urgent response pls. 08167751124
  • 60. gbemisola thompson said on 6/30/2014 12:10:03 AM
    Am interested in learning fashion design, pls is their any fashion design school in abeokuta. pls kindly contact me on 07069539074.or gbemisolaosibodu @yahoo.com
  • 61. Rubi Deen said on 7/17/2014 6:00:34 AM
    Hi. I'm Rubi and an aspiring fashion designer. I have a certificate in fashion and designing and I am looking to set up very soon. I want my business to be neither too big nor too small. Please I need assistance with knowing the sort of people to employ and the type of machinery, equipments and sewing materials essential for starting up. Also I have to prepare my business plan and budget but i'm kind of stuck. I would deeply appreciate it if you could help me with that as well. My e-mail is Sapphire5559@live.com.
  • 62. Percy said on 8/12/2014 9:29:59 AM
    Does The Government Have Funds For Novice Designers Who Also Want To Manufacture Their Own Textile
  • 63. Mhariden said on 8/18/2014 2:37:48 PM
    Hi everyone, ve been reading d comments n decided 2 make an appeal 2 any1 who is interested in starting a fashion designing business. I have thousands of sketches on gowns, wedding dresses, skirts, blouses, jeans, jewelries n bags. I av new ideas running tru my head evryday jus 2 show aw deep my heart n soul is into fashion. I need help from anybody who cud help me into becoming a designer. Pls contact me tru my mail (mhariden08@nokiamail.com). Am 17yrs old n wud not mind help 4rm anybdy. Tank u n hp 2 hear 4rm sbdy soon.
  • 64. taiwo said on 10/21/2014 12:04:06 PM
    my name is taiwo am a fashion designer i want to open a fashion house with my own label i need ideas from people on how to run the business. i dont know how to write a business plan please if u have ideas u can contact me on my email tobi4reel2001@gmail.com or my number +2348036984014 +2347039225786.am from lagos Nigeria
  • 65. Okoro Chigozie said on 11/10/2014 1:24:33 AM
    My Name Is Chigozie,I'm a Unisex Fashion Designer Specialize on Cloths, I'm Looking for a Fashion Company Where I Can Work And Earn More Money To Start Up My Own Firm, I Already Have Some Fund With Me So I Need An Advice, On How To Start Up A Fashion Firm In Port Harcourt Nigeria.
  • 66. adetola said on 11/10/2014 7:37:34 AM
    Do you want to be a fashion designer? how to cut, sew very well and be your own boss? we offer 6 month training and 6 month(weekend program) for home fashion training. Pls call tola:08096300065 for more infor
  • 67. Tricia beginner adviser said on 1/3/2015 5:34:47 PM
    I always say talent will only get you there but knowledge will keep you there. I am a fashion business consultant with a vast knowledge of fashion entrepreneurship. I also run an outfit that caters to needs of fashion designers called Business of Fashion Network. Let me help you. Add me up here 7C6C114E or Whatsapp 08068802264. Let's give your dreams flight this year.

    bofnaija@gmail.com || Consultant

  • 68. Itoro offong said on 6/2/2015 11:21:58 PM
    Am a fashion designer about starting my fashion outlet but advice on how to go about it
  • 69. Ethel Louis said on 10/22/2015 3:19:12 AM
    Hi, Am a fashion designer planning to st up a Fashion House which involves, A fashion School and Fashion factory in Lagos. pls what are the important steps to take to achieve a successful fashion house.
  • 70. FT Nuga said on 10/30/2015 8:53:58 AM
    This quite interesting. I am a fashion designer, with the aim of setting up my fashion outlet n training school @ Sagamu where I reside at the moment. Like every bit of this page
  • 71. Yekini Kayode said on 3/31/2016 9:47:20 AM
    I want to start a faschion school that would be involved in training and sales of fashion product. Please can i get some information or manual on how to go about it.This is my email: romeobukkuyum@yahoo.com Thank you Yekini Kayode
  • 72. michael said on 5/29/2016 6:59:47 PM
    Good evening.My company is in need of young,creative designers to showcase their creative designs in our forthcoming fashion show to be staged in Ibafo,ogun state. Interested Designers can call/whatsapp +2348060591973
  • 73. tolani said on 6/1/2016 5:27:42 PM
    am tolani, a young fashion designer, from Lagos surulere, Nigeria am very good at sewing and cutting, but need funds to boost myself to bring out the real me, pls any one who can help should email turlarniey@gmail.com or 08175776801, thanks
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