How to Sell Designs to Clothing Companies in 7 Easy Ways

Navigating the fashion industry can be a daunting prospect for budding designers. Despite the challenges, it’s a space ripe with opportunities, especially when it comes to selling your original designs to clothing companies. But how to sell designs to clothing companies?

This blog post will provide a clear roadmap for those creative spirits eager to see their designs come to life on a larger scale. I’ll walk you through seven practical steps that will help you understand how to successfully pitch and sell your designs to clothing companies

Whether you’re a novice designer or an experienced professional looking to venture into new markets, this guide is for you. Let’s bring your creativity to the forefront of the fashion industry!

how to sell designs to clothing companies

How to Sell Designs to Clothing Companies in 7 Easy Ways

Designing clothes is not only the job of a fashion house or designer anymore. With the rise of social media and e-commerce, many retailers and clothing brands seek unique designs and ideas from independent designers. 

Hence, it is a great time for creative designers to step into the industry and sell their designs to established clothing companies. Here are seven easy ways to sell your designs to clothing companies are discussed below.

#1. Build Your Portfolio:

Before approaching any clothing company, you must have a solid portfolio showcasing your work and expertise. Designers should invest time and resources to create a portfolio that represents their skills, experience, and unique style. 

While creating your portfolio, focus on creating trendy and original designs, as most clothing companies prefer designs that are currently popular and relevant to their target market. You can create your own fashion design website for the portfolio purpose. Remember, your portfolio should demonstrate your creativity and showcase your best work.

Here are some tips for creating a portfolio as a designer-

  • Choose the best pieces from your previous work that highlight your design skills. 
  • Include a few sketches of new ideas to demonstrate your creative thinking. 
  • Do not forget to include information about yourself, such as awards, education, and any relevant experience you may have in the fashion industry.

#2. Research Clothing Companies:

The next step is to research clothing companies that are open to collaborating with independent designers. Many established clothing brands outsource designs from freelancers or independent designers. Researching clothing companies allows designers to determine which companies are most compatible with their design style and the target market to which they cater.

For example, if your designs are tailored towards a younger demographic, look for companies that specialize in apparel and accessories catering to the youth. Likewise, if you’re designing luxury clothing or couture pieces, research high-end brands such as Gucci or Dior. 

Market research will provide insight into their businesses, such as their products and services, brand identity, and target audience. You can then tailor your designs accordingly and approach them.

#3. Create a Design Proposal:

A strong design proposal should cover all the essential elements of your design work. It should include a brief introduction, a summary of your design work, why you think your designs are suitable for that particular company, and how your designs can meet their needs. It should be a well-structured document showcasing your design experience, creative abilities, and unique selling proposition. 

Additionally, designers must ensure their proposal includes designs catering to the specific market and target audience of the respective clothing brand.

Also, make sure to include a timeline and pricing structure. After all, provide the company with a clear understanding of how long the project will take and how much they should expect to pay for your services.

#4. Approach the Clothing Brands:

Once your portfolio, proposal, and research are complete, the next step is to approach the clothing brands. Designers need to introduce themselves and request to speak with someone from the relevant department, such as product development or design. 

Also, be professional and polite when approaching clothing brands. Make sure to thank them for their time and follow up after a few days if you don’t hear back from them. It might take several attempts before they respond, so don’t give up too soon!

Try to attend trade shows and other industry events to introduce yourself and your work and network with potential clients.

Consider using online platforms such as LinkedIn or Twitter to reach out to potential clients. You can use these sites to showcase your work and connect with the right people in the fashion industry. Doing this also creates an opportunity for you to build relationships with potential clients and eventually land design gigs.

#5. Negotiate the Terms and Conditions:

The clothing company can agree to or reject your proposal or may require some changes to your designs or the terms of your agreement. Regardless of the initial response, designers must be ready to negotiate terms and conditions to finalize the deal. 

For example, designers should negotiate the payment terms. They should know their worth and aim for a fair deal in terms of money and working conditions. Furthermore, they should also be clear about the project’s timeline, how much work is required from them, and what materials will be provided by the clothing company.

Designers must also ensure that there is adequate copyright protection for their work. This is important in order to protect their creativity and the originality of their designs. They should also make sure that all conditions regarding the ownership of the design are clearly stated in any contract with the clothing brand. 

Finally, designers should be aware of any other potential legal requirements, such as insurance or tax obligations. Remember, you are selling your intellectual property; hence, it’s vital to agree on payment terms and the usage of the designs going forward.

#6. Deliver the Designs:

Once the agreement is complete, the designer should deliver the designs. Clothing companies may request sketches, samples, or finished production-ready designs. Make sure that all work is delivered on time and meets the requirements of the clothing company. 

Remember, ensuring that your designs are original and not copied from someone else is essential. Ensure your design files are formatted and structured to aid the smooth running of the production process.

#7. Follow-up:

After delivering a finalized design, designers should still stay in touch with the client for follow-up by providing any necessary updates or revisions. Additionally, they should send progress reports to their clients to keep them informed about the project’s status and completion timeline. Doing so will help build a strong working relationship and maintain the client’s trust. 

Designers should also ensure that all their communication with the clothing company is documented, including any emails or phone conversations. This will provide evidence in case of any misunderstanding or issue later down the line. 

For example, if a designer has made changes to a design that the clothing company has not agreed upon, having documentation of this conversation can help protect the designer from a potential dispute. 

Designers should also keep an open line of communication with their clients throughout the production process to support any changes or alterations made during manufacturing. This will ensure that the finished product meets both parties’ needs and expectations. 

How to Submit a Design to a Clothing Company

Submitting a design to a clothing company requires careful planning and execution. Firstly, research the company’s design aesthetic and ensure that your design aligns with its brand ethos. Familiarize yourself with the company’s submission guidelines, as they may have specific requirements for design format and file types. 

Ensure that your design is unique, visually appealing and has strong commercial potential. A strong production-friendly design will increase the likelihood of being accepted by the company. 

Be prepared to present your design concept and communicate any special manufacturing needs or details. Professionalism and attention to detail in your design presentation will increase your chances of success. If your submission is accepted, be prepared to negotiate a fair compensation package and any potential copyrights or intellectual property agreements. 

Overall, submitting a design to a clothing company requires thorough research, attention to detail, and a strong and innovative design concept.

More Questions on How to Sell Designs to Clothing Companies

Where can I sell my fashion design sketches?

As an expert in the fashion and textile industry, I can confidently suggest that online marketplaces are the best platform to sell your fashion design sketches. With the rise of e-commerce, these platforms have become popular among designers as they provide global exposure and easy access to customers across geographical locations.

Etsy is a popular marketplace that caters to creative individuals offering handmade and vintage items. It has a large community of buyers who are passionate about unique and innovative designs. The platform charges a small listing and transaction fee for each sale and provides a wide range of marketing tools to help you promote your sketches. Moreover, Etsy offers excellent customer service and protection for both buyers and sellers, ensuring a seamless transaction process.

eBay is another well-known online marketplace that allows you to list your fashion design sketches for sale. The platform has a vast customer base, making it a great place to reach out to potential buyers. eBay’s user-friendly interface makes it easy to create your listing and offers various promotional tools to reach a broader audience. With eBay, you can also choose to auction your sketches for a higher selling price. However, the platform charges a higher commission fee than Etsy.

Amazon Handmade is an excellent alternative to Etsy and eBay. As an Amazon marketplace, it offers the same benefits as Amazon’s bigger platform, with the advantage of targeting a specific audience of people looking for handmade items. With Amazon Prime, you can offer your customers fast and free shipping, which can help grow your sales. The platform charges a small commission fee for each sale and offers excellent customer service to both buyers and sellers.

How much to charge for fashion sketches?

When it comes to how much to charge for fashion sketches, a few factors should be considered. 

First and foremost, evaluate your level of expertise as a fashion designer. As we have seen in the background context, Upwork’s average hourly rates for fashion designers vary greatly depending on their level of experience, with intermediate designers charging nearly 60% more than average and advanced designers charging almost three times the average hourly rate. 

If you are an advanced designer, it would be reasonable to consider charging upwards of $80 per hour for your fashion sketches.

Another factor to consider is the complexity of the sketches themselves. Are you being asked to sketch a simple dress or an entire collection? The amount of time and effort required for each project will vary greatly, and it’s important to charge accordingly. 

For example, if a client is asking for 10 detailed sketches of a full fashion collection, it would be appropriate to charge more than if they were asking for a single sketch of a simple garment.

Consider your competition and current market prices. Researching what other freelance fashion designers are charging for their services can help you determine what may be a reasonable rate for your fashion sketches. This can also help you identify any niches in the market that may be underserved, allowing you to stand out and potentially charge a premium for your expertise.

For more detail you may check out the below video on how to price your fashion designs.

How to sell fashion sketches on Etsy?

To sell fashion sketches on Etsy, you must start by creating an account and setting up a shop. Next, define your target audience and research the competition to ensure you’re offering something unique in the market. Determine your specific fashion sketches and create them with care and attention to detail. 

Once your products are ready, connect your shop to a Printful account to streamline production. As you add your sketches to Etsy, perfect your listings with engaging photographs and clear product descriptions. 

Finally, focus on marketing your Etsy store to your target audience across social media and other relevant platforms in order to maximize visibility and drive sales. Following these steps and staying dedicated to your craft can build a thriving Etsy business selling unique, high-quality fashion sketches.


Designers are an essential part of the clothing industry and can bring a lot of value to a company. By following the tips I discussed above, designers can collaborate successfully with clothing companies and produce quality products for their clients. With dedication and clear communication, designers can create beautiful garments that customers around the world will appreciate. 

Tamim Shikder
Tamim Shikder

Head of the editorial team of I have been working as a merchandiser in the apparel-sourcing industry for the last seven years. Over the years, I have gained a strong understanding of the clothing business and have developed skills in product development, quality control, pricing negotiation and customer service. I am also well versed in the latest trends of fashion and retail industry. For any clothing manufacturing needs, please email me at

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