I've been in the fashion industry for 5+ years now. I've watched brands that I've worked with go on to be sold at Urban Outfitters, Saks and even gain features in Forbes.
Here are some techniques I learned along the way.
1. Observe Trends
You need to gauge trends on two different levels- Content and Products.
Things are easier to sell if they’re trending. Get ahead of the curve by predicting what will make money for you. Observing things like runway shows, competitor lookbooks and online message boards are good ways to figure out what’s trending. For the most part, I source my trends in the old fashioned way. I visit people's Instagram accounts manually and check out what sort of clothes they wear. I look for patterns within my audience.
For the technical people in the audience, there are tools you can use to help predict trends. There are websites that connect designers to free preview of trends for fashion, colour, prints, and textiles. When you sign up for these websites, you get access to their free reports, webinars, and member-exclusive content. The most popular ones are WGSN, Trendstop, and Pattern Bank. These websites also offer paid consultancy but that’s totally up to you if you would opt for their service.
To gauge what sort of content does well, I just follow a lot of people. Look at profiles of people who you think could be your potential customer. Find out what everyone's talking about. Knowing the trends will make it easier for you to draw in a new crowd.
For instance, this aesthetic is currently huge in the streetwear industry.
Posting content in a similar fashion could boost your chance in effectively communicating with your customer. Keep in mind that watching trends involves looking at what products are popular AND seeing what sort of content thrives.
A great platform to source viral content is Reddit. From articles and memes, to jokes and recent world news, Reddit aggregates trending content making the Internet rounds. Posts are upvoted or downvoted, which pushes the most popular content to the top of its front page. Many people create content around the stuff that they find on Reddit, and many of the Internet’s most viral memes originated from the site.
2. Develop Tone
You need a signature tone. Something people will remember you for.
This category is better described by visuals. A brand that I think has got tone down to a science is Pleasures. Here's a look at their current Instagram feed:
Right away, you can get a feel for their tone. It's grunge, vintage and a bit edgy. They even add visuals of anime to give it a more nostalgic vibe. The tone is just the overall vibe you give off visually. This is not to be confused with a theme.
3. Develop A Theme
Every great brand presents a theme in a collection. For instance, Marble Clothing Company's theme was "Renaissance Revived." Most of the pieces they release relate back to the theme of the collection.
Here are some of my favorite pieces:
Establishing a theme will make it easier for magazine editors to write about your brand. Here's an example of how editors cover theme in their editorials...
You've found the best product to sell, you've developed a tone in which to showcase your product in, and you've established a theme. Now it's time to get the word out.
The first thing you need to consider is your budget? Do you have money for ads? Are you planning on promoting this organically? For the sake of this article, I will assume you don't have a budget.
Use Message Boards...
Don't just post your collection on Instagram and hope someone notices. Use message boards like Reddit to show people what you've done. Get traffic outside of Instagram and you will make a killing. I wrote an article on how to get Reddit traffic a while back. It's still relevant and something you can definitely use: READ HERE.
DM Your Peers
Your first angle should be reaching out to everyone around you. Manually ask people to share your content. You'd be surprised at how many people will help you. Recently, I asked my followers to tag this popular fashion Instagram account on a post of mine. This post included a t-shirt I had designed...
After posting this photo, I messaged my friends and asked them to tag the magazine I wanted to get featured in. I messaged about 100 people. Over 55 people went ahead and commented for me. Don't underestimate the people around you. They will help you get to where you want to go.
Find Niche Accounts
Find Niche Accounts that outsource content.
For instance, I come up with visuals that are vintage/grunge. This tends to fall under a trend called Vapor Wave. I went ahead and searched for Vapor Wave themed Instagram accounts and messaged them. I sent them a tidbit about who I was and offered to cross-promote their IG page in exchange for a re-post. This tactic worked! I was featured on a Vapor Wave themed account with over 11K followers.
What are some other tips you may find useful?
Message me on Instagram @Jerrelld