The 'Cheapest' Way To Design Clothes!

The 'Cheapest' Way To Design Clothes!

In this article we’re going to share some top tips on how to design a clothing collection, without breaking the bank…

Starting a clothing brand is a significant investment. When starting out, it can be daunting to know where to put your money, and where you can cut costs.

It’s easy to waste a lot of money when designing and making clothes. If you’re feeling worried about the financials of building your clothing range, don’t worry, we're here to help you design in a cheaper way.

Here are a few insider tips to help you design so that your sample and bulk manufacture pricing is as low as it can be while still retaining cool and interesting designs.

1. Keep your clothing designs simple

The number 1 factor that affects your garment costing is the amount of work that goes into making it.

The higher the complexity of construction = more work to make it = higher cost.

If your clothing design has lots of construction features like panelling, different types of pockets, zips and graphic applications, it will take longer to make and has to go through several processes, meaning it will cost more to manufacture.

Take a look at the below examples. The jacket on the left has several graphic applications, branded hardware, pockets and striped rib. This will always cost more to manufacture than the one on the right, which has simple construction and 2 print applications that only use one colour.

clothing design construction comparison

So, you may be wondering, 'how can you make your designs interesting without adding construction features'?

Read on for ideas on designing your clothes in the most cost-effective way, whilst still getting a top-tier end result.


2. Design your clothes by shape

Using interesting base shapes is a great way to add instant impact to your collection. Although the amount of fabric used for more oversized, drapey shapes will be higher, meaning more fabric cost, using simple to construct bold base shapes is a cheaper option rather than adding in complicated construction details and numerous graphic applications that will increase your manufacturing price.

Interesting block shapes for clothing


3. Use pre-developed styles as your base shapes

This is an alternative to designing by shape, as instead of creating a bespoke clothing shape, you may choose to use a pre-developed style for your garment design.

This is a style that the pattern (the template for fabric cutting and construction) has already been created for. You might be thinking, 'won’t that be the same as what other people use?'. The good news is that even when using pre-developed shapes, your designs can still look completely unique.

The pre-developed shapes are just used as a starting point. From there, things like fabric, graphics and details can all be changed and completely bespoke to you and your brand, giving your clothing designs a completely unique look.

This can be a much cheaper way to design as a) you don’t pay a custom pattern fee. And b) you know exactly what you are getting – there is no ambiguity about the fit and reduces the likelihood that you will want to make changes and re-sample.

Find out more about pre-developed clothing styles here.


4. Design with your fabrics in mind

Considering your choice of fabric for your clothing designs can save you a lot of money. Heavier fabrics often translate to a higher materials cost, alongside higher shipping costs. Heavier weight does not mean better quality, so be careful when considering fabric weights and your reasoning for choosing them.

You can also reduce costs by utilising fabric consumption cleverly. Fabrics have a minimum order quantity that need to be met, and the cost of this quantity is spread over your unit costs. Use the same fabric (in the same colour) across multiple designs to increase your fabric consumption and reduce cost.

Fabric consumption, clothing collection

There are lots of different fabrics to choose from - for helpful tips on choosing here's our guide to choosing the right fabric for your clothing line.


5. Don't overdo the graphics on your designs

When adding branding or graphics to your designs, choose the type of application wisely. Some people prefer minimal branding with just a simple logo, if you want more of an impact, design big, bold graphics that make an impression rather than adding several different details and components that will shoot your manufacturing bill right up.

The type of graphic application also makes a difference to cost, for example embroidery and applique will always be more expensive than screen print. Read our blog post here for more guidance on the types of graphic applications that you can choose for your clothing designs.


6. Make branded hardware a long-term investment

Branded hardware such as logoed zip pullers, buttons or drawstring tips are lovely details that add a bespoke touch to your designs. If that’s something you want to include, commit to using it for both your first and future collections.

There is usually an initial mold cost and minimum order quantities you have to commit to, which can be daunting, especially when you're just starting out. Consider it an investment though, and design hardware for longevity that you can use on future collections too. Most manufacturers are happy to keep leftover hardware/trims at the factory that you can use for future collections if you don’t use it all on one collection.


In Conclusion: The Cheapest Way to Design Clothes

The more complicated your clothing designs, the higher the production costs will be. So, to keep costs low (whilst still maintaining interesting, unique designs), you can use the tips above to make cost-effective choices in your design process.

Remember, sometimes less is more. By not over-designing, you will be able to keep the focus on the quality of fabric and construction of the garment which will keep your customers happy and build brand faith for your future drops.

Fabric and graphic application choices also affect costs, so always design your clothes with these factors in mind.

In our tech pack and design sessions, our experts will help you utilise the above tips and create a range that is suitable to your requirements and will tee your brand up for success. Click here to book a tech pack and design session with one of our experts.

Love Joss & the H&E Team xx 

P.s We're here for you of you have questions drop us a WhatsApp on +447939591255