More than just clothes. Bigger than just a cool design screen-printed on a t-shirt. Beyond just your local area. That’s the type of creative mindset you have to adopt in order to coexist with the successors of the streetwear industry.
At the end of the day, streetwear and the style within it is, of course, mostly subjective and opinion-based. However, there are distinct similarities among the industry’s leading brands, and how they’ve all cemented their place in the game isn’t much of a coincidence.
Unfortunately, we aren’t here to tell you we’ve cracked the code and that this article details a secret formula to success because there isn’t one. There is a trial and error process that just about every creator has to go through. What we can say, though, is that we’ve assembled a list of ways to not only shorten that process but also establish longevity and have your brand stand out from the rest of the competition.
The Marathon Continues
Before jumping in head-first, realize that creating anything of significance is going to be a challenge. It’s going to be a long haul and you’ll have to weather the storm through the times of adversity.
But instead of allowing those times to discourage you, learn to appreciate them. It’s all a learning process and you can’t have the ups without the downs. Understand it’s a journey and enjoy every step of the way, even when it seems to have no end. In the wise words of Nipsey Hussle, the marathon continues.
Create Your Identity
The importance of an effective identity for your streetwear brand goes without saying, but we’ll be diving into detail with this one, so get ready. It may seem easy to make up a catchy name and design a cool logo to match, but we encourage you to think beyond just that.
Streetwear came about in the 1990s, mostly originating from influences of skate/surf culture, hip-hop fashion and punk/heavy metal aesthetics. Having evolved over the many years, the overall feel of streetwear remains to encompass the rebellious, ungovernable attitude of its origins. It stood for something.
And although you don’t necessarily have to fit into that mold aesthetically, you do want to stand for something if you plan on being around for years to come. Find out who your targeted audience is and create something they can identify with. Doing so will make your process of building a core following a lot easier.
A perfect example would be the brand Anti-Social Social Club. Not only do they have a legitimate design, but they also have a name that creates an identity an audience can get behind. Parts of the youth who are naturally less extroverted and truly anti-social in real life see the brand and view it to align with their actual lifestyles. At that point, supporting the streetwear is almost a no-brainer, especially when it’s coupled with designs and materials of their liking.
Research is needed in just about every aspect of creating your streetwear brand, so don’t even think about skipping or short-changing yourself of this step. Generally, you’ll want to research and study the acumen of your successful predecessors just about any time you enter a new step of your creation, but in case you have no idea what we mean by this, here are a few key elements you’ll want to start with:
Materials – You’ll be researching a ton when it’s time to find out what materials to use. You’ll need to know where to get your blanks from, whether or not you’ll use overseas manufacturing, what quality best suits your brand, where to screen-print your designs, etc.
Costs – This is essentially your business model. List your expenses, what you’ll be charging, possible profit margins, shipping costs, etc.
During this step, note that all business aren’t immediately profitable. Again, it’s a marathon. Just breaking even or even going a little in the red won’t be as bad as it sounds as long as you’re making a consistent growth in other areas (relationships, online presence, etc).
The How-To’s – This includes information on where and how to make designs, how to cut and sew (if you choose to do so), how to build brand exposure, etc. There’s nothing like good old-fashioned hands-on experience.
Some people argue that money is the root of all evil. Whether you agree with that sentiment or not, you’d have no choice but to understand that money is the root of all streetwear brands. You’re going to need start-up capital to get your feet off the ground.
If you followed the last step we mentioned, your business model should give you an idea of how costly things will be. Knowing the numbers should allow you the opportunity to create a goal and save up a comfortable amount to start with. Remember, there’s no guarantee you’ll be profitable right away. However, you also don’t want to dig yourself in too deep and order 500 blanks off the rip. Start small and work your way up.
In most businesses, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Same concept here. Relationships can take you a long way in making streetwear. They can plug you in with manufacturers or supplies you might need at prices lower than market value, as well as simply being there to guide you in the right direction and lend a helping hand whenever needed.
As your brand starts to progress, you may begin to incorporate your relationships directly into your work by employing people. You may hire a graphic designer for your logos or someone to ensure that every order is shipped out on time. It’s best to work with someone that you know is trustworthy, hence making networking and establishing relationships extremely valuable to your creation.
By this point, you should have a good foundation set. You have written plans and realistic goals to reach. The last and arguably most important step of the streetwear process is to now protect your intellectual property by getting your legalities in order. Again, this might take a bit of research, but don’t skip this step as it’ll save you a huge headache down the line.
File for an LLC with the name of your streetwear brand. Trademark your logo. Become knowledgeable of any taxes you’ll be obligated to pay, as well as the state taxes you’ll charge customers ordering from different parts of the country. Covering all your bases in the legal sense will have you thanking yourself later, trust me.
Overall, starting your own streetwear brand can be exciting, yet overwhelming. Seeing such established and successful streetwear companies in your local boutique may intimidate you into thinking building from the ground up is impossible, but by this point in the article, you should understand exactly why it’s not. Everyone had a starting point somewhere, and here’s yours. Just remember, the marathon always continues. Stay creative and stay dedicated.
Have any of these tips helped you in starting your streetwear brand? What other tips can you offer? Let us know in the comments!
Featured Image Source: https://amuse.vice.com/en_us/article/438x7n/neek-lurk-money
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