Don’t start a brand.
If your first intention is to make money, go do something else. We have enough businesses whose only goal is to convert (terrible) garments into money. Your passion for the art and craft behind fashion must be more than any incentive to profit off of it, lest your work turns into meaningless pieces of cloth. We have enough landfills.
Art does not happen in a vacuum.
Though you may be a lone wolf, the only stylish creative big dick person in your town, there is a hard ceiling of where you can go alone. Good designers are good, but great designers are surrounded by great people. Having even one set of eyes look over your work with honest feedback will do you good. As long as it’s honest and constructive. Under no circumstances should you surround yourself with yes-men, lest your work turns into meaningless pieces of cloth.
The three types of clothes.
- Clothes you like to look at.
- Clothes you like to wear.
- Clothes you like to design.
(3b. Clothes you can actually make.)
In many cases these three types won’t overlap (nor is that a prerequisite for it to be good). But it gives you clear guidelines over what to design, what to implement, and what not to do. For years my designing style was all over the place, mainly because I designed and wore clothes that I just liked. There are many garments that I love to look at. But I should never ever try to design or wear them.
Not everything you like is important to your personal style.
Be a Nerd.
“What is/are your inspiration(s)?” is a top contender for questions I get asked most. Not only is it the wrong question to ask, it is (for me) something that 9/10 times doesn’t have a concrete answer. Yes, sometimes I see a single thing and get inspired to make something. But that’s rare.
What I do for inspiration is take in everything around me (that I like). Besides fashion and drawing I have dozens of other hobbies and interests. Many of which I reference unintentionally throughout my work. You can’t express what’s not already inside, and if there’s nothing inside, nothing comes out. The rabbit holes the internet offers you to dive into are plenty so there is no reason not to be inspired. (But don’t be discouraged if you’re not instantly inspired). Recently I spent a few hours searching through artwork of 80s fantasy roleplaying games. Will I make a garment based on that? No. Has it influenced me? Most definitely.
Build a world.
Every item you make, every picture you post, and every word you say as a brand is part of the same universe within your brand. This may sound like a pretentious hippy, but it’s something that should always be kept in mind. Chances are many will not look back at your older/other work but however small it is, anything leaves an impression. Making sure it is all one consistent message and vibe is key. I haven’t figured out how to control this myself since it is something that I do almost automatically, but I can say that being aware of it is half the work. As long as your brand is reinforced by your taste at every single turn, and as long as the drive to make the best you can is present, there is not a lot that can go wrong.
That seems to be all the unsolicited advice I have in me right now. Remember that all of the 600 words above here are mere suggestions and ramblings, not hard rules. What’s considered a good creative habit differs per person and these are mine. Good luck on your journey. Go make some good fucking shyt.