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.

damn you, shangri law!

Posted in people i know,rants by verbalcroquis on January 17, 2006

Ever since you’ve dubbed me on your blog as “witty SF designer” my reserves of witticisms has dried up faster than day old ham.  Bleh.

what language should i learn next?

Posted in personal by verbalcroquis on January 17, 2006

I think I’ve basically narrowed it down to French or Cantonese. French for the fashion industry, Cantonese for the garment industry. Both useful, interesting, widely spoken in this weird little fabric-fabricated world of ours. I already know some Russian. Do you suppose Russian will become important enough in the next ten years for me to work on it?  I already know the alphabet and numbers, basic verb conjugation and syntax.

Or, I could just stop thinking about my career for just two seconds and do something personal, like advance my Korean (I basically write, read, and speak at a junior high level a.k.a. Not Good Enough.  One of my goals for this year is to get in touch with my mother’s side of the family again and I need to improve my Korean. My mother passed away when I was 13 and I haven’t kept in touch with her side of the family. Enough is enough.)

Of course, if I were to take up something extracurricular that doesn’t have anything to do with my career, I’d probably start taking cello lessons. But it’s not very productive, this cello-playing thing.  I used to play violin and piano for a few years back in my former life of symphony auditions and rehearsals. The reason I didn’t pick up cello back then was because my mother didn’t think it ladylike to spread your legs in public like that.

Someone help me make up my mind? I swear I’m not a Libra.

No, seriously, industry peeps, offer me some pearls of wisdom?

yes, this song is about me

Posted in events by verbalcroquis on January 17, 2006



I am such a dork.  My boyfriend calls me “statwhore”.  I think he kinda regrets egging me on to do this blogging thing.  He should know by now that once I start something I get kinda obsessive about things.

notes on vegas

Posted in events,the day job by verbalcroquis on January 16, 2006

Things I forgot to pack:

  • heavy moisturizer and body lotion
  • comfortabler (yes, it’s a word–i just made it up) shoes
  • matches (they took 3 lighters from me at the airport!)
  • the boy (i didn’t realize a queen-sized bed was so huge until i had it all to myself.)

Day 1:  got in, got harassed/hit on by shuttle driver in front of a dozen suburbanite couples, watched tv (I don’t have one so this is a treat for me), worried too much (this was my first tradeshow), crashed.

Day 2:  got up, went to our booth to set up.  Forklift guy decided to swing by our booth oh, maybe 20 times to hit on my sales rep.  Offered us a “cruise around the convention center”.  Uh, no thanks.  Went to my favorite Vegas restaurant, only to find out my favorite ahi tuna ceviche had been dropped from the menu. My sales rep had to stop me from gouging out the manager’s taste buds, one by one.

Day 3:  the first day of the show.  This is pretty much when i got sick.  My whole body was screaming at me to lie down.  No can do, buddy.  I froze my game face on and ploughed through the day.  I seriously don’t think I’ve ever pushed the physical limits of my body that far, not even when I was “nature girl” growing up in Alaska.  (Yes, it’s true, back in my old life.)

Day 4:  some woman came into my booth.  Without any preface, she comes up to me and snaps, “Who do you private label for? [1 second pause] What, do you not talk or something?”  In that 1 second, I was completely taken aback and was trying to find a polite way to say, “Look, hobag, you couldn’t possibly order enough jackets to excuse your level of rudeness.”  Instead, I told her I was new to the company and wasn’t sure if my boss would appreciate me divulging that information. She stormed off without a word.
Throughout the convention center there were valet booths at the end of every other aisle.  The people that run these booths take things from the people walking the show and send stuff to either their rooms or direct ship them to their offices.  I had befriended the woman, Annette, working the one next our booth.  She overheard this exchange and whispered to me, “Ooooh, ain’t nobody mess wit’ my girl like that.  I’mma gonna send her shit to the wrong place.” D’oh!  I tell ya, you just can’t afford to be rude to anyone.

High point of the day:  getting the big 3000 piece custom order!  I was still feeling like crap, but I had to go to drinks with [big private label customer].   My sales rep and I entertained and boozed up the team from [big private label customer] and it totally paid off.

Day 5: last day of show.  After the show, we had to pack up the jackets, take them down to the business center and catch our flights back.  We were told we couldn’t borrow any dollies.  WTF???  How the hell were we gonna be able to take all 5 huge boxes downstairs?  The convention center is huge!

Annette to the rescue!  She found out about our predicament, “borrowed” some carts from the convention center equipment closet, grabbed a coworker, helped us pack up and schlepp everything all the way down to the business center! I gave them both my card and said if they were ever in the area, I’d get them a leather jacket “at cost.”  We got everything done in 45 minutes flat, thanks to them.

Sigh.  Great experience, great trip, other than getting insanely sick.  Back to work tomorrow.  Gotta get the linesheets done for the New York retail show.

i’m back

Posted in events,the day job by verbalcroquis on January 14, 2006

It’s sooooooo good to be back.  I got terribly sick on Wednesday, but I trudged through the tradeshow and the evening schmoozfests.  It totally paid off cuz I am now looking at a 3000 piece custom jacket order that I’ll be designing!  It’s for 25-40 year old guys, the funding is set, she gave me colors, and we’re meeting with her again in 2 weeks to go over sketches!


Proper Vegas wrap-up post coming soon, for now, I have to tend to more important things, like my boyfriend.  😉

see you soon

Posted in recommendations by verbalcroquis on January 9, 2006

I’m leeeeeeeeeeeeeaving, on a jet plane, don’t know when I’ll be back again…

Actually, I’m back on Friday. But never fear, loyal readers, I leave you in good hands. Check out these blogs in my absence, if you don’t already. These ladies hold some of the prime positions in the “read this first” folder in my bloglines.

Final Fashion: I heart this girl. She reminds me of me a few years ago when I was finishing up my fashion degree. Ambitious, smarter than the average designer, thinks a bit differently from her classmates, has some interesting things to say. Go through her archives and check out her work: her illustrations kick some serious ass, her designs are beautiful, and she really knows her garment construction.

Almost Girl: Fashion commentary from the brain of one very smart, ambitious, observant chick recently moved to New York. I don’t always agree with what she has to say, but she’s always thought-provoking, to say the least.

Fashion Incubator: The blog of one brilliant patternmaker. If you have any interest at all in garment construction, you need to buy her book and read her blog. Some-odd years from now, when I have my own company, I’d love to hire her, even if it’s just for consultation purposes. ‘Nuff said.

Shangri Law: Shallow thoughts from the hallowed halls of Yale Law School. If I “obeyed” my father and went to Yale, I’d be writing this kind of stuff. Three smartypants ladies, writing about fashion, pop culture, and the assorted. I imagine their laptops strewn with torte law papers and bookmarks to, kinda like my high school days, when my calculus and physics notebooks were strewn with equal parts logarithms, Cartesian coordinates, and evening gown sketches. Okay, maybe not exactly equal parts. (No, they don’t write about fashion law in their blog. For that, go here and here.)

Speaking of Cartesian coordinates, (how often do you read that phrase in a fashion blog?) I’m currently reading this fascinating book called “Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea”. Sharp, witty overview of the discovery and evolution of zero and its tango with theology and astrology through the ages, complete with mathematical diagrams (visuals like graphs help me absorb info much faster). Pick it up if you have any remote interest in mathematics.

P.S. Ladies, if you disagree at all with my blips about your blogs, feel free to correct me in the comments box!

fashion don’ts that drive me nutters

Posted in events,opinions by verbalcroquis on January 9, 2006

(Carnivale of Couture #2)

Ah, the subject matter that just screams “let’s get catty”. But what the Manolo wants, the Manolo gets.

When I read it the way he phrased it, I can’t help but interpret this in two ways: things I halt and inwardly scream over or fashion don’ts that I don’t understand why it’s a “don’t?. So let’s go over both, shall we?

First, let’s go over things I can’t stand.

Men with overgroomed brows.

Mustaches. On men or women.

Women with freckles who wear so much foundation you can’t see any freckles on her face. You know she has them–you can see them on her neck! That shit is just gross.

Proclamations like “red is the new black”. Please. Stop. This is only allowed with heavy doses of irony.

Overalls with one clip undone. Honey, go home, finish getting dressed, and then come back out.

One-piece snowsuits on anyone over the age of 7.

Purple. I just don’t like it. Don’t ask me explain. That’s another post entirely.

And my number one fashion pet peeve:

When women run errands looking like they just rolled out of bed, pulled something out of the laundry bin, put it on, and carry a really nice fancy beautiful purse. What is going on here? It’s just wrong, I tell ya, just WRONG.

I know this one woman. Ugh. She wears those ugly sweatshirts with doodads on them, with high waisted jeans, really expensive Nike kicks, and carries a [pretty nice label] purse you would wear a power suit with everywhere. I feel that if you’re trying to project a certain image, just go all the way. Don’t half-ass it! Go ugly all the way! Don’t get me started on her perm.

Okay, now that I’ve sufficiently gotten that out of my system (although I’m sure I’m forgetting a lot), here are some things I don’t understand why it’s a fashion “don’t?.

The whole no white shoes after Labor Day thing. Maybe it’s the six years in L.A. talking, where we had nothing but summers and slightly less scorching summers.

(By the way, will someone finally tell me what shoes you’re supposed to wear with a navy suit? I keep hearing brown, but the very idea is unsettling to me.)

Smoking. Oh so very PC to say smoking is bad and unfashionable, but who are we kidding? There are so many sexy images out there of smoking. Consider it a health don’t and give it a rest.

Man-purses. My dad is a very stylish man, in a very Asian mafioso sort of way, and he always travels with a bible-sized black leather purse on a wrist strap. It looks good, and fits his passport, ticket, cigarettes, lighter, and a book for the flight perfectly. You just have to wear it right, have the right presence, which my dad has.

That’s it for now. I gotta go pack.

more work posted

Posted in my work by verbalcroquis on January 9, 2006

Look to the right. —————————————->

Under “cone mills/todd oldham”

this time, with feeling

Posted in events by verbalcroquis on January 7, 2006


Okay, it’s official.  I’m the biggest dork alive.

Now seriously, who are all you people? (Other than the cool handful of peeps who answered the first time.)

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