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How to plan a clothing collection

Updated: Jul 14, 2023

Many may think that designing a clothing collection is just creating clothes that you like. And whilst it’s certainly important to like the clothes you design, it’s also important to think about the purpose of each item and what return you expect to receive from them. This is where strategic thinking comes into play. Throughout the clothing collection process, you have to strike the healthy balance between creating attractive clothing and making a healthy profit. 

Choose a few key pieces 

Trying to create a variety of different styles to suit a wide range of people just won’t work. Instead focus on key garments that you think will sell well and that clearly represent your brand. Also make sure these items are versatile and can be paired with other pieces from your collection.  

Signature garments

The goal here is to create a signature piece of clothing that people will automatically associate with your brand. It needs to be recognisable and memorable right from the start and will become what your brand is known for most. 

Complementary pieces

These are items of clothing or accessories that are essentially ‘add-ons’. The customer would purchase these to complement another item of clothing. For instance, a belt to go with jeans or a running headband to match with a running jacket.  

Money makers

Pricing is one of the most important factors to consider when designing a clothing collection as it determines your profit margins and the quality of materials you’ll use. It’s a good idea to include a few items that are sold at high margins in order to generate more cash flow to put back into the next collection. You’ve always got to think one step ahead. 

The WOW factor

To help make your collection stand out, including garments that have a certain wow factor is a great strategy. Finding your brand’s USP is crucial to competing with existing brands already and helps justify why people should buy your clothes over other brands they’re already loyal to. But make sure it’s always aligned with your brand image! Don’t go creating a neon jacket when your brand is all about muted tones and connecting to nature.

Bearing all this in mind, it’s a good idea to write yourself a range plan where you plan out the overall collection consensus and the specific details of each item:

  1. Total number of garments

  2. Rough design drawings of each garment

  3. Garment categories (e.g. tops, shorts, leggings)

  4. How many different colours (e.g. two tops in the same colour)

  5. Different fabrics

  6. Any specific garment details 

  7. Order quantities of each garment 

  8. How many sizes of each garment  

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