It’s common for fashion businesses to label themselves “high-end”. What’s less common, however, is for an apparel brand to produce clothing that’s high quality, message their brand as luxury, and sell their products at a high-end price point. It’s not enough to simply claim the title of “high-end”. Your brand must truly embody luxury level values in every thing – from conscientiously-sourced materials, to artisan-level production, to marketing and price point.
When buying high-end, customers want to feel the value of what they’re wearing and using. It’s the difference in how car owners feel and talk about a Honda versus they way they feel and talk about a Bentley.
It All Begins with Quality Clothing Products
Building a high-end fashion brand begins with the decision to source high-end clothing products. However, MakesValley CEO Alessio Iadicicco observed, “We receive about 80 inquiries per day for artisan-level apparel manufacturing and about 50% of them start with, ‘I would like to get cheap, but great quality…’. That’s not something that our artisans, or any other manufacturer for that matter, can realistically deliver on.”
Cheap and quality, unfortunately, don’t go together. Cheap is...well...cheap. High-quality clothing is on or ahead of trends, made from high quality fabrics, and fits the needs of a discerning type of fashion customer. These shoppers would not balk at paying $300 for a pair of denim jeans that provides the quality they’re looking for.
Some fashion brands do attempt to trick customers and pad their profit margins by sourcing cheaply made clothing to sell at higher retail prices. These brands have occasional success because they invest in marketing a luxury image that surpasses the quality of the clothing they’ve sourced. This might earn a brand loyalty, but true fashion fans will always recognize and flock to apparel brands that deliver both a high-end product and a carefully cultivated luxury brand story.
To achieve that, you’ll need to manufacture your products with experienced factory partners who specialize in producing high-end garments already. Starting with a unique, high-end product best prepares you for the next step of building a high-end fashion brand: creating a distinctly luxury brand identity and marketing it consistently.
Budgeting for Your Luxury Fashion Brand
Your brand’s manufacturing costs will include paying for high quality fabrics, expert and equitable workmanship, trim materials (ie: zippers), product shipping/taxes/duties, and sometimes, fabric printing or dyeing.
While there is no standardized cost to produce a given design, there are free tools out there that can help you zero in on a realistic sampling and production estimate. Here are some basic guidelines to keep in mind when planning a product budget for working with a high-quality manufacturer based in Italy, the fashion capital of the world:
Working with an Italian factory to produce about 100 pieces of an apparel product will likely begin around $6,000-8,000 for a private label fashion design.
For white label factory designs, producing 100 pieces will cost slightly less, start near $4,000-6,000. This differs because white label removes the costs associated with sampling.
The more pieces you request to produce, the lower your cost per piece will be. For example, the single dress cost for producing 50 dresses will be higher than the single dress cost to produce 1,000 of the same dress.
Most manufacturers, even small-batch friendly ones that allow for low order minimums, will not accept production orders of fewer than 50 private label products.
Think about how many sizes and colors you want to make and ask your manufacturer if they can include those in your 100 piece order of a private label product.
These guidelines will assist you to plan your clothing line estimate, but the best way to get a firm cost is to have your design and tech pack ready to go, get bids and production timelines from multiple manufacturers, and pick the one that works best for you.
St. Louis native Jessica Donovan enjoys 3 things: tacos, cute animals, and creating content that informs, inspires, and connects people to a democratized & transparent fashion manufacturing experience.