How to Start a Clothing Line Online

by Lynn Johnson

Starting a clothing line is a labor-intensive process. Tight deadlines must be met each season to ensure sales; deadlines are set by the industry. Collections must be ready to sell approximately six months before the season begins if you plan to sell wholesale.

Items you will need

  • Pattern maker
  • Sewing contractor
  • Web designer
  • Sales rep

Starting a clothing line

Step 1

Find a showroom you would like to sell your clothing. Ask when they need your collection to begin selling. This will be your deadline for samples.

Step 2

Make a storyboard, a collage of images and colors that will inspire the design for the collection.

Step 3

Draw sketches for garments inspired by your storyboard. Your garments should be cohesive and work well together.

Step 4

Source fabric for each garment you have drawn.

Step 5

Work with a pattern maker to create garments from your drawings. After patterns are correct, have samples sewn with the correct fabric. Determine a sample size; make all garments the same size.

Step 6

Use sample garments to photograph. Create a look book with photographs. Make many copies.

Step 7

Do line drawings of your garments for line sheets. Add descriptions of the items.

Step 8

Give your look books, line drawings, samples and pricing to the showroom.

Step 9

Interview sewing contractors. Ask to see samples of work they have sewn. Check their licenses and permits. Schedule a time to begin production. Create a contract with the sewing contractor.

Step 10

After the sales deadline, figure out your fabric yield based on orders placed. Order fabric for yields.

Step 11

Have fabric cut and sewn into garments based on orders placed.

Step 12

Create a Web site and press kit to advertise your brand. Add a shopping cart if you want to sell retail. Advertise your brand through online blogs and social-networking sites. Send your press kit to appropriate media. Get a PR person if needed.

Step 13

Once garments are sewn, inspect all garments before shipping to buyers. Package garments and send to buyers.

Step 14

Begin the design process for the next season.


  • It is best to "cut to sew" when starting a line. Garments are only cut and sewed after an order is placed.

    When you have a sample of your garment sewn, you may need multiple samples for showrooms.

    Order additional garments if you plan to sell retail.

    When interviewing a sewing contractor, ask what happens to defective garments. Make sure all agreements are written.

    Trade shows give your line a lot of exposure but are expensive. Use a showroom when you first start your line. Go to a trade show after completing a few seasons.

    Different states have different requirements for the garment industry. Extra permits or licenses may be required.

About the Author

Lynn Johnson is a textile artist, fashion designer, mother and small business owner. Johnson has been copy writing since 2006. Some of her work is published on sites like eHow. She writes about parenting, crafts, fashion, games and textiles. Johnson has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Kansas City Art Institute and has attended Master of Fine Arts programs.