BRANDING – How To Create A Fashion Brand: 6 Untold Steps To Start From Scratch

Hi guys,

I have a confession to make: a few years ago, I thought of launching a fashion brand myself.  So I started to look for information. I read books and books.  I attended a few classes given by fashion consultants.  I subscribed to tons of blogs.  But none of the information out there was good enough.  It was either too theoretical, too specific, too general, or too basic.  I felt so frustrated.  None of the books and blogs out there was able to tell me exactly how to create a fashion brand and what concretely to start with.
What is step one? The collection? The website? A Facebook account? The prototype? Company registration?  I had to put all the puzzle pieces together to understand what to begin with.
So here is what I learned out of this.  Before designing your collection, before prototyping, there’s one thing you absolutely need to do.
Have you ever tried to compare a failed beginner fashion brand to a successful one? It is an interesting exercise to do.

The successful brand conveys a certain feeling.  It has beautiful pictures.  The colors are harmonious.  The tone used in their posts fits perfectly with the pictures.
Bus back ground (1)
On the opposite, you certainly have seen one of those less successful awkward looking beginner brands (.  The pictures are blur.  The photo backgrounds are sometimes cluttered and busy. On one brand’s website, I could even see a funny person waving behind the garment.  The so called fashion piece is not ironed properly.  They use the word chic in their communication and yet it screams that the people who designed this never ever set foot in anything chic.  Do you see what I mean?
Bus back ground
The reason why the successful brand is able to convey a certain feeling is because they threw a brand concept before anything else. In order to avoid condemning your brand to a big fail, you absolutely need to start with one thing:


Branding DNA defines the personality of your brand, what makes it truly unique. It can be built in six main steps that we are going to break down hereafter.  If you follow those steps, you can avoid shooting yourself in the foot and launch your brand the smart way.

#1 – Have an undeniably strong physical signature

Your logo.  Does it tell your brand story?  Does your font in your logo correspond to the feeling you want to share?
Which colors represent you?  Do they fit with one another?
Is there a symbol that you constantly use as a general thread?  Does this symbol mean anything vital to your brand?
What about the shape and cut of your products?  You should make sure your silhouettes remain cohesive as a whole.

For the use of which fabrics or seam will you be famous for?  Is there any specific treatment that you submit your fabric to?  I once worked with a designer who buried the fabric before using it.  This became her signature. Maybe you have something similar to say? It is okay not to but if you want to stay classic, then go 100%.
Find an answer to all those questions.
And learn from the best: see what Chanel did with their visual identity.

#2 – Flaunt a strong brand personality

If your fashion brand was a person, how would you describe it?

#3 – Refer to an easily recognizable cultural background

College?  Manhattan NYC?  California beach lifestyle?  Classic British?  Marais district in Paris? Hippie?
Make it fit with the previous elements and have the brand cultural background show in your photographs.

#4 – How should the customer feel when wearing your brand?

Empowered.  Confident.  Comforted.  Happy.  Audacious.  Free. Melancholic.
Find that feeling and suggest it in your communication.

#5 – Give an obvious impression

Which impression should a customer wearing your brand leave on other people?
Of course, always be careful to remain congruent in your approach.
If you want to make an impression of high sophistication and trend awareness, make sure that the physical elements of your fashion brand are chosen this way. In this case for instance, avoid cheap looking fabric and go for cuts and shapes that say trendy. You cannot just name the word “chic” (or “mode” in the case of the picture below) and expect it will cover the visual mismatches.
Cohesion is everything.

#6 – Find your own voice to interact with your audience

You will need to find the voice to speak to your customers. Set an easily recognizable tone that defines you, to communicate with them.
This is where you can beat the big fashion corporates: be yourself.
As previously stated, the tone should be in line with the other brand DNA elements. For example, if you set your décor in the French high society, make sure not to use slang. On the contrary, if you go for a street style brand from a popular neighborhood, try not to sound stuck up.
In some cases, you can mix two opposite cultures together but it should be part of your fashion statement from the start. For example, artists such as Pharrell Williams made a strong fashion statement mixing street styled garments with dandyesque felt hats and extremely well-tailored jackets.

#7 – Make it all work perfectly well together

Résultat de recherche d'images pour

In my opinion, this is the most important piece of advice I can give you once you end  this exercise.
Be cohesive. For the sake of this exercise as well as in the long term.

#8 – Zero concession on the quality of visuals and photos

Your general impression needs to be generated by choice, not by accident.
So if you start in the fashion industry, even as a small brand, you need to raise your level of expectation (as we explained in a previous article). Since looks are (almost) everything in fashion, it does have to look stunning.
Always have strong well-made visuals that respect the 6 branding elements listed above. Nice free tools such as offer very good quality for example if you cannot afford Photoshop.

Also work with a good photographer who is able to translate the emotion you aim at in pictures.
I know it comes at a certain cost, unless you have a nice well-intentioned friend who gets what you are into. However I assure you: this is not the area where you can afford lowering your standards.
Some of the brands I work with were dead broke but they always found a way to have amazing looking pictures and visuals.
So you have absolutely no excuse with that one. Seriously!


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BRANDING: Why Use Fashion Movies To Enchant Your Customers

Lalie et jam.jpg
Photo: Michaela Bigjee
Hi guys,
In today’s post, we will discuss fashion and luxury videos.
As you probably know, today’s customers respond better to video. Its use increases tremendously and is bound to go up even more: Cisco reports that by 2018, 69% of total internet traffic will be video. Besides it’s an excellent way to promote a brand : according to an Animoto Survey performed on over 1,000 consumers in 2015, 84% had liked a company video in their Facebook newsfeed and nearly half (48%) had shared a company video on their profile.
Video is vital for a business today, not to mention in the fashion and luxury sector. However beautiful videos are numerous. So how can a brand best build a video that makes a difference in the eye of the customer?

To answer this question, we interviewed a team of video makers: Lalie Rabeharison of Tanzania Fixer and Maxwell Gougoueï of Jam Prod international.

Can you describe what you do?

We are two film makers, we are truly passionate about what we do. We work for the luxury and fashion business.
Besides we also select and promote exclusive locations in Paris on one hand and in Africa on the other hand. Through Tanzania Fixer, we promote cinema tourism and initiate related territorial marketing strategies.

We wanted to associate with the extraordinary quality of these territories a key value: establishing a communication offer for luxury brands became a foregone conclusion.
Our offer contains two elements:
– the video support. The brand becomes the hero of a story told from an exclusive conceptual angle, coupled with a dense and sophisticated film-making. Far from advertising, each video produced is more of the encounter, the injection of the DNA of the brand, than a mechanically executed brief…
– The second element is the video. In an era of repetitions inevitably shared through social media, we want to render the image its unique character. Luxury today is not a material possession but a rarity. As such, the territory is luxurious as soon as it deploys the access to great spaces, untouched nature: they are invaluable in the swarming of a now overpopulated and polluted ground.

Jam, you won awards for some fashion movies. What is the recipe for an outstanding fashion and luxury video?

An extreme rigor in the conception, mixed with creativity, images and sound, which enables to enhance the locations we choose, the makeup, the fashion and the models.Both of us are extremely demanding. We expect quality and innovation. We expect the people to do their job well while being able to adapt to all environments, as long as there is a true faith in the excellence of the product.

We share similar views, especially the analytical and emotional reading of the identity of a brand as we wanted its creators, the legend to be built around a product, the enhancement of a personality and the focus on what forges its distinctive qualities…

There are so many film makers on the market. What would you say is your specificity then?

Content. It is a fact: the enthusiasm for reading evaporates dangerously and it is tradition to say that a picture is worth a thousand words. Our particularity is therefore not to be one more image among thousands, but to transcend the video beyond the object of contemplation, to use it as a sesame that decomposes the access to some confidential happiness…
The video must surpass the aesthetic bet and the technological prowess to recover the emotion in the raw state. It is my definition of luxury, but also a current trend that advocates a return to the original, in what one eats as much as in what one wears, as well as what we give our time to, which is the height of luxury. To find the essence of the essential is where our offer stands out…because luxury is very essential, isn’t it?

How is Africa a relevant setting for luxury brands?

Like luxury products, the African continent is unique. It is all the more so today because it is one of the last bastions which escaped wild industrialization hence preserving unspoiled landscapes.

On the other hand, luxury brands have long given the continent the cold shoulder, while many of them have the continent to thank for the prestige of their products (fabrics, precious stones, wood, spices, luxury products such as vanilla, grand cru coffees or exceptional chocolates, etc.): the origin of the products is not systematically promoted…
Because they have never been filmed, many visual treasures are still exclusive: these places held incidentally secret are therefore a conception of the treasure, of the primacy that completely fits with the values of luxury. Secrecy is a form of refinement; the elite that get access to it follow the codes and are approved by a circle of happy fews. Africa, by the distinction that characterizes it, is to this day the jewel of this closed circle…Africa, continent of creators where we manufacture what is most unexpected and amazing with the what we have to hand, will give a definition of luxury, a new impulse in an era that marks the fall of the elites and, consequently, must reinvent the notion of exclusivity that is its own …
Finally, in our video creations, the diversity of Africa will have something surprising as we have long relegated it to a uniform space … Colors, textures, atmospheres, architectures have the power to sublimate the Luxury, to revisit high-end.. Eminent African filmmakers, either emerging or confirmed, set the tone to reveal this beauty… We are the fortunate inheritors of a rich image tradition that established itself orally… and visually.
Africa is a refined mosaic, a bewitching song… It is the cradle of humanity and therefore it carries all the symbols of the sacred that abound in the luxury world.

What message would you like to send to these brands?

We want to invite them to an enchanting and exclusive journey that shapes a new language, at a time when luxury itself is renewed to meet the expectations of new consumers. We are able to record a strong identity in posterity. We create the language of security, of sure value, in an era punctuated by a perpetual movement, driven by uncertainty.

Lalie Rabeharison, founder of Tanzania Fixer and the AFRICAN FIXER GUILD
Maxwell Gougouweï aka Jam, founder of Jamprod International









Did you find this article interesting?

Find more tools to help you with your fashion business in the number one FXF guide. “The Fashion Business Plan” by Bako Rambini is available on Amazon.


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MARKETING: Criteria To Check Before Calling Yourself A Haute Couture Brand

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Hi guys,

today we are going to address a rather sensitive area. Nothing makes me loose interest faster in a brand than when I read its description self-labelling itself as a Haute Couture brand.
I know how tricky it is to find your own brand segment. But you should be careful with the Haute Couture label and here’s why.
1. Haute Couture is a highly protected and strictly regulated label
The Haute Couture label is protected by law. The label is regulated by the chambre syndicale de la haute couture. Each year, it determines which fashion houses are eligible to be true haute couture houses. Their rules state that only those companies mentioned on the list drawn up each year by a commission domiciled at the Ministry for Industry are entitled to avail themselves of the label haute couture.
Then they invite guests to showcase their designs. Those are designated as Couture houses.

So if you have not been officially granted the Haute Couture label for the ongoing year, you cannot use the Haute Couture to label your designs.
2. In practice, several criteria and signs enable to recognize a Haute Couture label
Naturally, Haute Couture is not just an empty label. There are actual features like uniqueness, rarity, exclusive quality just to name a few.
In her book called “Couture Sewing Techniques”, Claire B. Shaeffer listed a few signs that differentiate Haute Couture from for example high-end ready-to-wear.


Photo credit: shakko – Eigenes WerkCC BY-SA 3.0


How to position your fashion brand?

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SALES: 7 Tips To Improve Your Sales Process And Sell Your Luxury Fashion Pieces

7 tips to sell luxury fashion

Source: Creative commons – Anya Kvitka (#6166) by mark sebastian

Hi all,

Exchanging with my clients made me realize how painful it was for them to go through the sales process. Is it because you made the piece and you fear others’ judgement ? Are you afraid that the price of your pieces may not reflect their inner value ? Well, when it comes to selling, most fashion designers are reluctant and dream of a magic agent who would do that for them. However, you may not be able to hire one for the moment.
And yet, you may operate a shift in your sales just by changing your focus. What if you stopped focusing on your fears and just thought of the reason why you started designing at the first place and created your pieces ?
People are not buying a mere item. They are buying an idea.
Selling luxury fashion is a matter of emotion.

So after our article about marketing tips revealing 7 secrets to sell luxury pieces, here are a few tips from “Selling to the New Elite” by Stephen Kraus, James Taylor and Doug Harrison to help you communicate your passion to your customers.

  1. Demonstrate your customer you love showing them your fashion pieces. Share your authentic passion for what you do and for your products. An interesting way to practice and prepare is to remember your most satisfying interactions with customers. Also describe what you sincerely like in the products and services you sell, go into the details of the fabric, the draping, the cut, the way the color stands out…
  2. Master the art of storytelling. Practice by crafting detail-rich stories about :
  • you and the origin of your brand.
  • The origin of a collection and specific pieces. Why not share the ideas you had when you made your moodboard ?
  • What makes your high-end pieces different from mainstream products. Maybe it’s the technicity of a certain stitch they have been traditionnally doing in your culture ? or the way you use a certain pearl you can only find in one region of the world ?
  • How your company treats customers and employees extremely well. Maybe you also pursue an old family tradition that you implemented in the way you interact with people ?
  1. Look for a shared interest to deepen the relationship. Observe your customers, try to understand what they may be into, notice what they wear, the stories they tell. Make a discrete self-disclosure and observe whether it is reciprocated.
  2. Present your atelier, your boutique or your showrom, the way a museum docent would. Offer your clients a tour. Show them objects that mean something to your brand and tell them the stories behind. Place your story in the historical context, highlight the origin of the pieces you created, go into the fabrics, the materials and the techniques you used.
  3. Create a ritual of celebration when your customers buy a piece. As they described in Selling to the New Elite by Stephen Kraus, James Taylor and Doug Harrison « Consider Hermès. Sales associatesdon’t slap your purchase in a bag and hand it across the counter casually. It is carefully wrapped in a signature orange  The sales associate typically comes out from behind the counter. He or she presents it to you respectfully, with both hands, and expresses happiness for your purchase. »
  4. Ask questions that show your passion and enthusiasm :
  • Do you want to see something you can’t see anywhere else ?
  • Do you want to know what really makes this brand different from other ones ?
  • Do you want to see something truly exceptional about this dress ?
  • Do you know what first excited me about this fabric ?
  1. Be happy. A Harrison Group and American Express Publishing survey of affluence and wealth in America in 2010 showed that 71% of the affluent describe themselves as happy. Your customers do not shop to be happy, they shop because they are happy. And the best way to reach out to them is to be happy yourself.


Find out how to build a cohesive sales strategy  and other tools to write your fashion business plan, with the number one FXF guide. “The Fashion Business Plan” by Bako Rambini is available on Amazon.
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