verbal croquis


this is the industry, uncut

Posted in rants by verbalcroquis on January 19, 2006

This post is for those who think fashion is glamorous. This post is for those who are thinking they may want to pursue fashion as a career choice. If you know any of the either category, please forward this to them.

Basically, I work as part of both the design and production teams for a small/medium sized apparel manufacturer based in San Francisco. We do leather, suede, wool, cashmere jackets and coats for men and women. We sell to Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Saks, and the sort. We’re expensive. We’re classy and classic. We are yummy buttery leathers with understated detailing.

We’re also understaffed.

I have never worked for a company that wasn’t understaffed. Word of advice: get used to it.

I am not a big believer in the words “this is not my job”. If you like saying that, go look elsewhere for work. Like at a dull soul-sucking corporation that employs you to do one thing and one thing only, day in and day out. If that’s you, more power to you. If you say “that’s not my job” in circumstances that have nothing to do with picking up your boss’s dry cleaning, you’re out. I think I hear Heidi Klum whispering “auf weidershen” somewhere in your general vicinity. But, there are times where I just want to shout it from the rooftops.

When my coworker is sitting at her desk balancing her checkbook, and I’m asked to do something that is her realm of duties, that’s when I want to say it. If my coworker is hustling to get her shit done and needs a favor, I have no problem with that.
When every other sentence out of my coworker’s mouth is “I didn’t know” or “this is before my time” or “That’s not my fault”, I want to backhand her. Basically, you have 2 choices. You either let the mistake happen and screw up the order, or you cover her ass, get the order done and let me tell you, both are rather thankless jobs. The latter being the obvious choice, you gotta find another way to get your coworker fired. You think I’m being bitchy and horrible for trying to get someone fired? I wouldn’t have to resort to it if she carried her load.

Our head designer quit in late November and ever since my coworker and I were the ones left to pick up the slack, along with our creative director. Since I have my eyes on the head designer position, I don’t mind doing double duty her job and mine. But fuck you if you think I’m gonna do my coworker’s job on top of it all while she’s making arrangements with her mother’s caterer on her cell phone.

Enough about her, let’s get back to what my job entails. You think designing is easy and fun? Honey, designing is only 1/10 of a designer’s job, if you’re lucky. Ordering samples, picking swatches, making samples, overseeing fittings, schmoozing over the phone, meeting with vendors, research research research, trying to get everything to cost out to your pricepoint, edit edit edit, hyperventilate, hyperventilate, hyperventilate, lather rinse repeat but make it snappy–I want it all done yesterday.
Don’t get me wrong–I love all that stuff. And I love love love my job. There’s nothing else that I want to do. When I see the end result of my work, I’m so proud and happy.

My point is that’s HARD WORK. If you’re lazy, don’t get into fashion. If you imagine yourself with your sketch pad all day, get over yourself and find yourself a sugar daddy. If you’re stupid, you will get screwed over many many times, by your vendors, by your contractors, by your very own employees, employers and coworkers.

But that’s enough for today. Thanks for reading all that.

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11 Responses to 'this is the industry, uncut'

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  1. […] There’s an insightful article at Verbal Croquis on working for a fashion company. It sounds like some of the creativity and freedom has been lost, and as a designer for a small-medium sized manufacturer apparently designing is only 1/10 of the designer’s job. It sounds like a tough gig; My point is that’s HARD WORK. If you’re lazy, don’t get into fashion. If you imagine yourself with your sketch pad all day, get over yourself and find yourself a sugar daddy. If you’re stupid, you will get screwed over many many times, by your vendors, by your contractors, by your very own employees, employers and coworkers. […]

  2. Andy said,

    Very interesting article. You’re welcome, thanks for writing it.

  3. Abby said,

    Watching Project Runway, I’m amazed at the energy it requires. And I’m also astounded there are people who don’t really know how to sew. I mean, you should be the expert in all areas. If the germent can’t be made without you, there is a problem!

    It’s like the time I was a receptionist just after college, and none of the junion leaguers knew how to refill the copy machine – or at least that’s what they said.

    I mean, COME ON! You fucking know. You just think it’s beneath you. I work with a whiner right now who complains all the time about how I have this and that that she doesn’t have. Well, I brought the table from home. The computers that are set up are set up because I set them up! The large shelf got moved because I moved it!

    Entitlement and laziness REALLY piss me off.

    I mean, be lazy, but never to the extent that it encroaches on your coworkers.


  4. […] Go read Pez’s rant on what it’s like to really work in the fashion industry. Honey, designing is only 1/10 of a designer’s job, if you’re lucky. Ordering samples, picking swatches, making samples, overseeing fittings, schmoozing over the phone, meeting with vendors, research research research, trying to get everything to cost out to your pricepoint, edit edit edit, hyperventilate, hyperventilate, hyperventilate, lather rinse repeat but make it snappy–I want it all done yesterday. […]


  5. Wow, that’s worth quoting. I wish I’d known before I posted this morning on what fashion designers earn (sorry, didn’t read your blog yesterday). I’ll have to come up with a title now to post it.


  6. Kathleen! You didn’t read my blog yesterday??? tsk, tsk. ;P

  7. Jill said,

    If you read this and you still need a designer I may have someone I can send your way. We worked together in the leather industry and she’s a great designer/buyer/ etc etc etc….that’s exactly what this company we worked for was like, basically you have to do everything including advertisement and placing ad’s and negotiating the advertisement budget’s with the graphic designers/newspapers/printers! Trust me it was very crazy…send me your e-mail if you still have openings and I will forward it to her, she may be in Paris right now but as far as I know she’s still looking for a new job.


  8. […] I’ve already covered some of my opinions on the industry at large here and here. Disliking repetition, I want to focus on fashion education here. […]


  9. for jobs in fuckin industry an d i am male


  10. […] and have I mentioned that it’s a lot of hard work? I think this post from Verbal Croquis pretty much sums it […]


  11. […] not pay as well as people think, it’s nowhere near as glamorous as people think it is either. Verbal Croquis says it […]


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