So you want to be a sustainable fashion designer....
It's easy to say that you want to a launch a sustainable fashion collection, and think "I'll just sell on-line" or "I'll open a pop-up stall", but there's so much work that goes on behind the scenes, and it's not just the designing and sewing. After speaking to many designers in Singapore, I came up with a few tips....
1. It may be sustainable, but is it attractive?
Unfortunately, sustainable fashion has the reputation for being boring and bland, but it doesn't mean that you have to fall into that category! Wow your customers!
2. Who's your target market?
You are not designing for everyone, because the "everyone" you designed your clothes for has different tastes, styles and behaviours. Zoom down to a particular age group and find out what they enjoy doing, what their aspirations and their lifestyles are. These are the things that will help you in your design process and determine the look of your collection.
3. Do you know your suppliers / manufacturers?
You may know them, but beyond checking their certifications, do you really KNOW them?
As a sustainable fashion designer, it is imperative that you develop a relationship with them .... beyond an email or an order sheet. This is especially true if they are based overseas, where differences in culture and business practices may result in misunderstanding between both of you. Knowing your suppliers and manufacturers involves:
open and frequent communication
understanding their skills, capacity and constraints
if possible, visiting their premises
One of my sustainable fashion designer friends visits the GOTS certified factory in India every year to understand their operations and the processes behind the manufacture. It's also a good way of enhancing the working relationship. Ethical Fashion Forum wrote a great piece about working with artisanal and small - medium sized suppliers in India.
Image: John Jackson
4. What's your marketing plan?
How are you going to get it to appeal and sell?
Do you have a unique selling point? Use that to your advantage!
Are you going to sell on-line or at a store?
Do you have a social media plan?
Unfortunately, none of us have deep pockets, but there are many platforms that are free (Facebook, twitter etc), and you can always send press releases (with good quality pictures of your line) to traditional print media.
5. Have you sussed out your competition?
Check them out before you start your brand!
What makes you different from the other sustainable fashion brands?
Do you have any tips you would like to share?
This is part of the Fashion Designers Do Good series!