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Apparel Design 101: How to Get Started Designing Your Clothes

With the ever-changing trends in the fashion industry, it’s no wonder that more and more businesses are interested in learning how to design their clothes. Apparel design is a creative and challenging field that allows you to express your individuality and style. If you’re thinking about starting a clothing line or just want to design your clothes for fun, there are a few things you need to know before getting started.

This article will give you an overview of the basics of apparel design, from finding inspiration to sketching your designs to choosing the right fabrics. By the end of this article, you’ll have all the information you need to get started on your journey as an apparel designer. Let’s get started.


Fashion designer

apparel design

1. What’s Your Goal? 

The first step in your apparel design journey is asking yourself your goals. Do you want to design clothes as a hobby? Are you looking to start your clothing line? Or are you interested in working as a professional designer for an existing brand?

Your answer to this question will determine your path as an apparel designer. For example, suppose you’re interested in starting your clothing line. In that case, you’ll need to be a great designer, have business acumen, and be well-versed in manufacturing. On the other hand, if you’re simply looking to design clothes as a hobby, you can focus on honing your design skills without worrying about the business side.

Whatever your goals, the most important thing is to enjoy the process. Apparel design can be a lot of work, but it’s also a lot of fun. So make sure to take the time to explore and experiment, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a great designer.

2. Create A Business Plan

With your goals in mind, it’s time to start thinking about how you will achieve them. If you want to start your clothing line, create a business plan. Your business plan should include your target market, pricing strategy, and manufacturing plan.

Include Your Target Market

Who do you want to sell your clothes to? It’s important to have a target market in mind when starting your apparel design business. This will help you determine your designs, marketing strategy, and price point. For example, if you’re targeting a high-end market, you’ll need to focus on luxurious materials and design details.

    Sketching Designs

    apparel design

    Pricing Strategy

    How much are you going to charge for your clothes? Pricing is an important aspect of any business and is especially crucial in the fashion industry. You’ll need to consider the cost of materials and manufacturing when setting your prices. You should also be aware of the prices charged by your competitors.

    Manufacturing Plan

    Where will you manufacture your clothes? You have a few options when it comes to manufacturing. You can manufacture your clothes in-house, outsource to a third-party supplier, or use a combination.

    3. Sketch Your Designs

    Now that you have your business plan, it’s time to start sketching your designs. This is where your creativity and individuality will shine through. When designing keep your target market and price point in mind.

    Inspiration can come from anywhere, so it’s important to keep your eyes open and be aware of the world around you. Look at fashion magazines, pay attention to trends on the runway, and browse through clothes in stores. You can find inspiration in nature, art, architecture, or everyday objects. Once you know what you want to design, it’s time to start sketching your designs.

    If you’re not confident in your drawing skills, don’t worry. Fashion sketches don’t have to be perfect. They’re often rough and imperfect, as they’re simply meant to be a starting point for the design process. The important thing is that your sketches capture your design’s overall look and feel. To start sketching, you only need a pen and paper (or a digital tablet).

    4. Think About Details

    Next, start thinking about the details. What kind of silhouette do you want? What type of fabric will you use? What colors will your design be? Answering these questions will help you refine your sketches and create a more detailed plan for your design.

    For example, let’s say you’re sketching a dress. You’ll need to decide on the neckline, sleeve length, skirt length, and waistline. You’ll also need to select a fabric and choose the colors for your design. Once you have all these details, you can start developing your pattern.

    5. Create A Pattern

    Creating a pattern is an important step in the design process. This will cut and sew your fabric into the finished garment. There are two ways to create a pattern: flat or draping.

    Flat patterns are created using measurements to draft a two-dimensional garment representation on paper. Draping is when you take fabric and shape it directly on a dress form to create a three-dimensional representation of the garment.

    Once you have your pattern, it’s time to cut and sew your fabric. If you’re not confident in your sewing skills, you can always outsource this step to a professional.


      Fashion designer in work room

      perfect apparel design

      6. Choose Your Materials

      Now that you have your pattern, it’s time to choose the materials for your garment. Fabric is the most important aspect of any clothing item, so selecting something high-quality and durable is important. You’ll also want to consider the fabric’s weight, texture, and stretch.

      Other materials you’ll need to create your garments include thread, buttons, zippers, and interfacing. Interfacing is used to stabilize the fabric and add structure to garments. It’s often used in collars, cuffs, waistbands, and other areas that need extra support.

      7. Find The Right Suppliers

      You’ll need to find the right suppliers to bring your designs to life. This includes everything from fabric to packaging. You should also look for suppliers with experience working with fashion designers and brands.

      Arcus Apparel Group is great for apparel design and manufacturing. We can help you bring your vision to life from sketch to the final product. We offer a wide range of services, including pattern making, fabric sourcing, and garment construction. We also have experience working with a variety of brands and designers.

      8. Build A Strong Brand

      With your business plan and details, it’s time to start building your brand. Your brand is what will set you apart from other designers and clothing lines. It should reflect your unique style and personality.

      Start by creating a strong name and logo for your brand. This will be the first thing people see, so make sure it’s eye-catching and memorable. Next, develop a brand identity by creating a style guide. This guide should include your color palette, typography, and overall design aesthetic. Once these elements are in place, you can begin applying them to your website, social media, packaging, and marketing materials.

      Also, consider the customer experience when building your brand. How can you make shopping with your brand an enjoyable and seamless experience? Creating a strong brand will take time and effort, but it’s worth it. A strong brand will help you attract customers, build loyalty, and grow your business.

      Tailor with paper patterns

      Bespoke pattern making

      9. Market Your Clothing Line

      Now that your clothing line is launched, it’s time to start marketing it. There are several ways to market your brand and reach your target audience.

      Start by creating a strong social media presence. This is a great way to connect with potential customers and create a connection with your brand. Share photos and videos of your garments, behind-the-scenes content, promotions, and more. You can also use social media to run ads and boost your posts.

      In addition to social media, you’ll need to create a website for your clothing line. This will be the central hub for your brand and where customers can learn more about your products and place orders. Make sure your website is well-designed and easy to navigate.

      You should also consider email marketing, as this is a great way to stay in touch with your customers and promote new products and sales. Lastly, don’t forget about offline marketing tactics, such as print ads, PR, and events.

      10. Grow Your Business

      As your business grows, you’ll need to scale up your production. This includes finding new suppliers, increasing inventory, and hiring additional staff.

      You’ll also need to continue marketing your brand to reach new customers and keep existing ones engaged. As you grow your business, you’ll be able to experiment with different marketing channels and strategies. The most important thing is to keep learning and growing to take your business to the next level.

        Fashion Marketing


        1. What Skills Do Apparel Design Students Need To Learn?

        To be successful in the apparel design field, students need to develop a strong understanding of the design process, have excellent sketching and visualization skills, and be knowledgeable about fabric construction and garment construction. Additionally, they should have a good eye for color, texture, and pattern and work well with other design team members.

        2. What Is The Difference Between Apparel Design And Fashion Design?

        Apparel design is the process of creating clothing designs, while fashion design is the art of applying design, aesthetics, and natural beauty to clothing. Fashion designers typically focus on creating stylish garments, while apparel designers focus on creating garments that are functional and meet the customer’s needs.


        Sewing work room

        3. What Are The Different Types Of Apparel Design?

        There are three main types of apparel design: ready-to-wear, to measure, and bespoke. Ready-to-wear garments are produced in mass quantities and sold in stores. Made-to-measure garments are custom-made for an individual based on their specific measurements. Bespoke garments are those that are completely custom-made from scratch without the use of a standard size chart.

        4. Do I Need Technical Skills To Design Apparel?

        No, you need not be a seamstress or have other technical skills to design apparel. However, it is helpful to have some knowledge of garment construction to better communicate your vision to the people responsible for bringing your designs to life.

        5. Is There A Lot Of Competition In The Apparel Design Industry?

        Yes, there is a lot of competition in the apparel design industry. However, there are also many opportunities for talented and creative individuals to succeed. To increase your chances of success, it is important to stand out from the crowd by developing your unique style and point of view.


        With our tips, you’re on your way to starting your apparel company. But don’t stop here—keep learning about the industry and growing your business. The sky’s the limit!

        Arcus Apparel Group is committed to helping you grow your business. We offer a wide range of services, including apparel design, manufacturing, and sourcing. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you take your business to the next level.

        Sketch pad with color pencils on a table