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Capsule collections can make great additions to any wardrobe by providing additional styling choices without contributing to fashion decision fatigue.

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What Is a Capsule Collection?

A capsule collection is a curated, minimalist selection of commercial wardrobe pieces. The capsule collection is a limited-edition product line—a more compact version of a designer’s vision—that provides fast-fashion looks that are big on style and function. Designers release these collections during the off-season, sometimes partnering with major brands for one-off collaborations that are pricey, exclusive, and produced in limited quantities guaranteed to sell out. These curated collections also offer designers an opportunity to design items outside of standard clothing, such as luggage, shoes, athleisure, lingerie, and headwear.

What Is the Difference Between a Capsule Collection and a Capsule Wardrobe?

A capsule collection differs slightly from a capsule wardrobe. A capsule collection is a limited line of fast-fashion looks that designers release off-peak. A capsule wardrobe functions as the basic building blocks of your closet and contains essential, timeless, high-quality pieces that you can wear at any time.

Boutique owner Susie Faux coined the term "capsule wardrobe" in the 1970s to describe mix-and-match basics, and designer Donna Karan popularized the term in the 1980s when she released a capsule collection of fashionable workwear.

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4 Tips for Launching a Capsule Collection

Capsule collections are smaller, new collections that often launch off-peak between seasons. If you want to launch your own capsule collection, check out the following tips:

  1. Do your research. If you’re a small brand, garment production can be pricey. Research manufacturing minimums and buying rates to ensure you’re getting the best cost possible for your collection—you don’t want to hemorrhage your entire budget before the collection is even complete.
  2. Consider sustainability. Some fashion companies are beginning to implement sustainability into their practices, with the hope that it will have long-term benefits for the environment. If your budget allows, consider launching a sustainable fashion collection made from alternative materials to counteract the adverse environmental impacts of fast-fashion manufacturing.
  3. Choose your pieces. As a clothing designer, you may not be continually manufacturing and releasing clothing year-round, so launching a capsule collection allows you to introduce a few extra pieces during the off-season. Design a few choice items to accompany or enhance your current main collection, such as leisurewear, hosiery, shoes, accessories, or headgear. Avoid adding too many new fashion styles to your collection—reserve those for peak-season collections.
  4. Promote your collection. Set aside a marketing budget to help advertise your new collection so that your customer base knows about your launch. Use photos, content, and social media to help promote your collection. Include photos with suggestions on how to integrate the new pieces with staples from your main collection.

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