How to Start Your Own Clothing Line: An Interview With Overalls Designer Aidan Nelson
April 28, 2015
•Fashion Design and Merchandising, General
• 0 Comments
The three young founders behind Rousers have redesigned overalls to appeal to modern, professional men. Before Rousers, none of them had any experience in the fashion industry, with two working in management and one in filmmaking. Co-founder Aidan Nelson talks about the team's foray into the fashion world and gives some tips on how to start your own clothing line:
Question: How did you get your start in the fashion industry?
Answer: Rousers launched a Kickstarter campaign at the end of last year to raise the funds to produce a single product: slim-cut men's overalls. For us, three guys with an idea, a few prototypes and very little in the way of overalls market analysis, the response was more than encouraging. Within a few weeks, our campaign exceeded its goal and we were receiving emails from strangers who had been looking for slim-cut overalls for years. Since then, we have further refined our pattern, sourced fabric and trim and started production at a factory in Pennsylvania. Right now, we're excitedly awaiting delivering the final product to customers and seeing Rousers out on the street.
Q: What inspired you to start your own brand and style?
A: The type of overalls we wanted simply didn't exist before Rousers. We had fond memories of wearing overalls as kids but couldn't find anything out there that we could see ourselves wearing. Over the months it took to bring Rousers to market we realized that what we had developed was more than a product. It was a way of thinking about clothes. We want to wear clothes that are fun, comfortable and look good, whether or not they vibe with a traditional menswear aesthetic.
Q: What have you learned in the process?
A: Garment production may start and finish with the designer, but the craftspeople and technicians in between keep the industry running. They help turn the ideas and drawings of the designer into patterns, fabric orders and fit measurements. Their work is rarely recognized but plays a major role in the final fit and construction of a garment.
Q: What would you share with fashion students about how to start your own clothing line?
A: The feel of a garment — the intangible element that can give it "style" — depends on exacting fit and careful construction. Ideas are important, but ideas are never seen. The success of your idea depends on your ability to translate idea into pattern, fabric choice and construction. We started with an idea — recreate a classic workwear garment for a new time and place — but were only able to generate something we were proud to show off after months of adjusting and readjusting the pattern. We never changed our original idea. We did change our understanding of how to make that idea work in the real world with real fabric and trim.
Photo credit: Rousers