Tag Archives: How To Start A Design Label

So you want to start a clothing label? Here are some tips to get you started :)

some of the most popular clothing labels around

some of the most popular clothing labels around – Nike, Mambo, Stussy, Billabong, industrie

1) Establish a Clothing Label Name

Start a Clothing Label

The first thing you would need to begin with is a label name! What is it going to be called? Start by looking at some of the existing clothing companies out there. What are they called? e.g. Billabong, Mambo, etc. Will your name have some deeper meaning that connects you to the brand ID? It is all about the brainstorming process! Perhaps begin by writing down a few names on a piece of paper and run them past some friends and family and see if anything calls out to you. Your next step is to check to see it isn’t taken yet. You might come up with a great clothing label name, but it may also be taken by someone else. Register a company, and also don’t forget to register a website domain name.

2) And your Target Market is …?

who is your target market?

who is your target market?

Who is going to be your target market? Are you a surf/skate style brand, or are you an indie, underground designer illustrative style brand? Or are you targeting gyms and sports? Start with an alternative niche market or go with something that already works and add your unique twist so as to add value and offer some difference.

3) Computer, Paints, Pencils…It is time to get creative

TShirt Designs

TShirt Designs

Now that you have decided who your market is, you need to get some T-shirt designs – without this you will have no clothing to sell! Are you a self-confessed T-shirt designer? Then come up with some designs. Or you might find that you already have some designs you created in the past that may want to print onto a T-Shirt. If graphic design or any type of art is not your strongest suit – then hire someone who can help you express what you have in mind. Chances are you have a friend of a friend who is a regular design genius simply waiting to be discovered. Join forces, or alternatively pay them for their services.

Once you have a collection of designs together – work out which ones are the best of them. Discard of any of the “I’m not so sure if they will sell T-shirt designs.” Remember always show your designs to friends and ask for their honest opinion.

4) Off to the printers we go!

Against them Clothing Label

Against them Clothing Label – Printed by Pistol.

We won’t lie to you – but you’re going to need some money set aside to get you off the ground. Getting good quality items printed locally in Australia will set you back some dollars, but if you plan it right – you may see a profit at the end of the tunnel. Start by doing some research and visit  some printers in your local area. Setup some meetings with a few T-shirt companies and work out which ones share your vision and can meet your printing requirements as well as your budget.

Most T-shirt print companies can also set you up and help organise the ordering of your choice of garments whether they be hoodies, jumpers or T-shirts! They usually have the best connections with T Shirt suppliers and can recommend which ones fit, print and overall best suit  your needs. If sourcing the garments is something you have taken care of yourself all you will need is to contract a printer to see your designs come to to life. If you are unsure where to begin looking for some Australian based apparel suppliers here are a few to get you started: AS Colour, Gildan, Sportage.


5) Choose your weapon

Print Decoration Options - Screen, Transfers, Digital and Embroidery

Print Decoration Options – Screen, Transfers, Digital and Embroidery

Customised garments are ever so popular and it’s not so uncommon to walk down the street and see people of all ages wearing their very own customised garments. Upon closer inspection you will see everything from plain garments, printed, transferred prints to even embroidery.
The methods are endless, the most common being Screen Prints or and Embroidery but if you are after something slightly different in terms of feel or final output there are various methods for specialty printing including glitter transfers / rhinestones / poly flex prints / heat transfers.

Sample of a screen printed tshirt

Sample of a screen printed tshirt

Why choose Screen Printing? Screen Printing is great for customers looking for medium-large size print runs, their artwork contains a limited amount of colours – e.g. 1-8 and customers looking for retail quality. Once you get past the initial setup costs, print runs can be very cost effective. Screen Printing is great for producing solid PMS and colour matching artworks. Please note it’s best to always have an EPS – Vector Artwork file ready, to make it easy when printing.

Digitally printed tshirt

Sample of a Digitally printed tshirt

Why choose DTG – Digitally Printed Garments?
You may or may not have heard of digitally printed tees. This technology is quite new and there are many terms that people use to describe – digital prints. Direct to Garment printing is not a file that is printed onto paper then transferred onto a tshirt! The process involves a T-shirt is  loaded into a inkjet based printer – it prints directly onto the T-shirt using specifically formulated inks and essentially “stains” the fabric. Patented inks are used in the printer to ensure that the print does not wash off.  This method is perfect for anyone just starting out – looking to produce a small-medium size run of items. There is no limit to the amount of colours – so you can print full colour photos onto T-shirts. Its also perfect for fast turn around and even same day T-shirt printing. The downside to this method you ask? DTG printing has trouble producing bright solid colours and can be costly when producing bigger sized runs.