Is this a good time to start a fashion business? While I can’t answer that for sure, I know that I have seen lots of changes over the last decade that makes me think it might be.
When I first came into the fashion industry an individual with little funds could start a business and be successful. That was in the early 80’s when companies could do little wrong. Customers had money to spend and spend it they did. There were also many US factories and mills that would make small quantities, for a collection, at affordable prices.
With the end of the 80’s came the end of the boom. Money became tight. Factories and mills went to Asia and minimums on orders grew. While there were many stores to sell in the 80’s, the 90’s and 2000s saw stores going bankrupt, out of business, or merging into mega chains. Stores like H & M and Target started offering fun fashions at cheap prices. The landscape of the industry started to change. Now in order to start your own business you needed serious money. Anything less than $1 million and you really couldn’t go into business.
The last several years we have started to see another change. This time it’s for the good. At least that is what I think. With the growth of the Internet and shopping cart web development sites such as Shopify, one could now sell direct to the consumer. There is also a resurgence of resources in the US of factories taking small quantities for cuttings. Mills are being started up in the states. And sample rooms are being opened in US cities. If you don’t have a lot of money you can get crowd funding from sites like Kickstarter.
This breathes new life into the industry. Designers with a unique point of view are coming into the market with new ideas. Yay!! The industry needs this. Fashion has gotten stale. The same old players are dominating the market. All the stores look alike. I for one am happy to see the changes.