My Top Resource Recommendations to Help You Grow Your Apparel Brand This Year

This time of year there is always a focus on dreaming of what’s next and making goals to get there. If one of your goals this year is to launch or grow your apparel brand, here are my top resource recommendations that will help you make it happen.

Successful Fashion Designer Podcast – Have you ever wondered how other fashion brands launched their label, built a big following, raised funding, got into wholesale boutiques, or sourced their suppliers and vendors? Podcast host and successful fashion designer herself, Heidi (you may know her on the internet as Sew Heidi), interviews fashion brand owners, designers, freelancers, and other every-day fashion professionals on the nitty gritty of all this and more. Not one to gloss over the hard truths or uphold the facade of constant glamour that often stereotypes the fashion industry, Heidi asks the real questions we are all dying to know: exactly how each guest gained their big wins and navigated their failures, and what the numbers really looked like at the end of the day. Episodes are released every other week and there is something to learn in each one.

The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Sewn Product Manufacturing – This book is truly a must-read for any designer starting or wanting to start their own brand. Written by an industry veteran – patternmaker and factory owner Kathleen Fasanella – this book is packed with information from what size of collection to launch with and how to structure your team and development timeline to how to find and hire service providers and factories. Don’t let the ‘90s publish date scare you; this book is just as relevant today and has the best advice on how to navigate the fashion industry and be taken seriously. In addition to the book, Kathleen also runs a blog that has an impressive archive of posts about lean manufacturing and apparel cut and sew.

FashionpediaThis book, published by Fashionary, is not only a useful reference but is beautifully bound and illustrated, too. There are chapters on fashion history, apparel categories, design details, textiles, manufacturing, and more, and each section is a visual dictionary of design details, terms, and reference information. The book is great not only as design inspiration and research but also as a guide to being able to communicate your vision with the proper terms.

Garmenco Stitch and Seam GuideThis site is a great technical reference of ASTM stitch and seam types. If the technical side of things interests you, you can nerd out about all the different types and their uses (and call me because I’ll join you). If not, don’t get overwhelmed. Use this guide when you want to ask for a certain type of stitching to be used, but don’t know what it is called or how to describe it. Each type has a corresponding picture that you can easily screenshot and send to your patternmaker or factory for seamless communication.

The Spec ManualAnother great technical reference, this book by Michele Wesen Bryant and Diane DeMers is focused on how to measure and spec all types of garments. Whether you are the one writing your own spec sheets or you simply want to quality check your incoming production order accurately, this book has both visual diagrams and written descriptions of how and where to measure each area of your garment that help you do just that.

Fashion Group International –  FGI is a professional organization with chapters in most major US cities as well as some around the world. Getting involved in FGI is a great way to make industry connections and grow your career and business. They host regular business-focused events spanning all aspects of the industry with informative panels of industry leaders and behind the scenes looks at the business of fashion. The connections you’ll make with like-minded fashion professionals both at and outside of events can lead to your new best friend, business collaboration, new-hire, or career move.

I’d love to know what your goals for your fashion brand this year are and what resources you are turning to (or looking for) to make it happen?


Rogene Nelsen

12:02 pm January 14, 2020

Great information Alison!

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