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ontheCoMeUP said:
whats good everybody. just dropping in to ask advice from anyone who is starting to create or has already established an urbanwear shirt line. like those of BAPE, OBEY, THE HUNDREDS, LEMAUR & DAULEY. I was wondering if there is any specific advice you may lend to me. what company do they get their ****s from, what printing methods they use, how they get their designs, what legal steps does one need to take when creating their own clothing label and things of that nature. thanks for your time.
Wow, good to see someone else interested in high end streetwear on this board. I just started a streetwear brand along with a high school friend. In fact, I was chillin with the guys from The Hundreds, Crooks n Castles, and many others at a Magic party a couple nights ago in Vegas. We launched in April and are now getting ready to release a Fall line in about a month. What you will soon learn, if you are serious about this, is that help among our circle is hard to come by. With no fashion or apparel background whatsoever, we learned everything from the ground up. I understand the reason for it - but hate it - and vowed to never turn down a request for help, even when we become sucessful. (Just don't ask to see a preview of anything we're doing for the future. That remains a secret, even to my momma.)

First, what everyone else is saying is true: do research yourself. That means to read up on the internet, msg boards like this, magazines, everything. You will have a better understanding of how things work rather than if someone just told you. That being said, don't be afraid to ask if you have questions.

Of those brands you named, they are all doing cut and sew (not sure about L&D). But they all started doing prints on someone else's blanks, before they got big. And unless you know how to make a pattern and have $$$ to do cut and sew, you too will be starting w/ blanks. If you're looking for a lighter, more fitted shirt, the popular choice is American Apparel. If it's a baggier, heavier shirt you want (that still has a nice body cut), go with Alstyle Apparel. We are using Alstyle this season. That was our choice from the beginning but due to time constraints (Alstyle tends to be slow getting out their orders) we were forced to go with Gildan - and absolutely hated it.

The majority of shirts are still done with screenprinting and traditional plastisol inks. Discharge printing is being requested more due to the popularity of "all over" designs. Finding a printer who can do this will be hard, not to mention expensive. Finding someone who can do it on a pre made blank shirt is even harder. So forget all that for now, and just stick to regular screenprinting. Look at all your favorite brands and you will see most their designs are 1-3 colors tops. It is a constraint and will be something you or your designer will have to work around but these are the most profitable shirts (and that is the name of the game). Your goal is to produce something cheap, profitable, and printed w/ quality. Which leads me to this...

Find a printer who has done a clothing line. A lot of people will tell you it's not necessary. But take it from me - someone who works right up your alley - this is important. In our niche market, a lot of times designs are printed off center, over seams, on collars, on the side, etc. You need a printer who understands the constraints to these methods. You need a printer who has the desire to do more than just logos and corporate promotional pieces, especially if they're doing your separations. My rule of thumb is this: if they're pushing Gildan as their highest quality shirt, get out of there quick (no offense to anyone). If you see Alstyle boxes everywhere inside the shop, that is a good sign. Not something to live by, but it's a good start.

Don't go buckwild and order up 1000 shirts on your first run. Have your samples made first. Make sure everything is right. Don't settle for anything. They will charge you by the hour for this. It is worth every penny. Bring your samples to stores, tradeshows, sample sales, etc and get orders from buyers before you make a big batch. This is standard practice in the fashion game. The last thing you want is a big inventory sitting around. Time is money and the longer they sit, the more money you're losing. Be realistic - everyone wants to think their product will be successful (and they should) but they ain't going nowhere if your friends and your bedroom are the only ones seeing it. If you want to start out small, start out small. If you want to do it big, you better have your buyers lined up. Know that boutiques who carry streetwear will not normally buy from anyone new. Don't get discouraged, send them your line sheet/catalog anyway. Send it again when your 2nd season comes around, to show you are serious.

All that is part of a business plan. You gotta know at all times:

Where is money coming from?
How much money is going out?
How will people see your product?
Who is your target market? What do they buy? How do they dress? How much are they willing to spend....on a new brand?

Legal stuff: trademark your name, file with your state and city, get your sellers permit and tax id, have a lawyer just in case, keep your designs on the low.

Keep reading these forums. Feel free to ask if you got a question. Good luck with your company.
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