How to create your own denim fashion start-up: five expert tips

Denim fashion start-up expert tips

Denim fashion start-up


At WGSN our denim team is always super busy tracking the latest denim trends, heading to key trade shows, scouring street style, and hanging out with fellow denim heads (those at the top of their game, and deciding on the jeans that consumers end up wearing). We asked our Denim team (hey Dio, Sam, and Lourdes) just how an emerging fashion student, or fashion start-up would go about creating their own denim company and making it a success. This is what they had to say:

1. Think about your market

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, Amsterdam is the denim headquarter of the world, the place where most of the big denim hitters are based, from Calvin Klein to G-Star.  So you want to start all of your research there, and the annual Amsterdam Denim Days Festival is a great place to start. But if you want to stand out think about the global denim market, Los Angeles is becoming a key focus and design hub for denim, last year Candiani opened its new design facility in Downtown LA researching and creating new innovations in fabric and washing. It’s also important to see how global influences impact the denim market. There are overarching similarities in silhouettes globally, but washes are lighter and vintage is more prevalent in LA. EU (north) is a bit more clean and Scandinavian. You find more RAW and relaxed colours.


2. Seek inspiration online

Scour the internet for brand and design inspiration, making sure your company stands out against the competition, while tracking trends. Get to know the key industry players on Instagram Ash Black (with his denim care garment business) and Olaf Hussein are also good to watch for business strategy. For inspiration check out Peppinopeppino and Double Denim Addiction, both great Instagram accounts to help you start your search. As well as our in-depth denim reports on the main WGSN site (subscribers head here), which cover everything from wash and finish reports to our fabric trends, and forecast reports. The streets are always a great source of inspiration for original styling and seeing how denim is being interpreted by tastemakers and what the hottest styles are for the season (check out our most recent denim street style blog here).


3. Do market research

One of the most important parts to creating a brand is doing your research. Knowing what’s hot and what’s already on the market helps you to differentiate yourself, as well as see what design details, materials and styles are important to include in your assortment. Some of the best places to do market research are physical stores and trade shows. Desert and Denim Festival is a great place to meet other vendors, then if you’re interested in more vintage denim head to Rin Tanaka in California. Plus the main womenswear and menswear trade shows like CIFF and Revolver (subscribers, check it out here!) in Copenhagen are top-notch shows to check out for denim research.


4. Define Your Brand

What’s your brand USP? Ash Black from Mr Black Garment Essentials is a denim brand but rather than make jeans, his business focuses on garment care for your favourite jeans. Then there’s DIY denim brands, that have made their mark with their unique styles painted onto the denim. While designer Alyssa Lesser makes embossed denim and for 1Denim’s new brick and mortar store they opted to serve coffee with their jeans. You could also explore the plus size denim market too.

5. Up Your Social Media Game

One of the best ways for new brands to get noticed is on Instagram, that’s where we discovered Julian Prince Dash– The San Fran Artist Making One-off Jeans for Young Thug and 2 Chainz, his Instagram acts as a store window for his quirky designs and stand out denim styles. There’s also the queen of denim Kelly Harrington (a firm friend at WGSN) her Instagram feed is a sea of denim and her calling card. Kelly has over 38k followers and her viewers get to follow along on inspiration trips, and discover new denim brands with her.

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