verbal croquis


Posted in DE stuff,recommendations by verbalcroquis on March 14, 2007

I like books that make me feel stupid. The good kind of stupid, of course. Makes it worth the money. If I didn’t learn anything, it means the book didn’t cover enough information or go in deep enough, because if I know anything, I know I don’t know everything. Far from it.

Some of you have asked me what books I’ve ordered. Of course I refuse to review books until I’ve read them, so the book reviews will trickle in, but first of all, I’d like to make sure all VC readers who are in the industry have read Kathleen’s book. (If you haven’t bought a copy yet, go buy it directly from Kathleen here.) I’ve read it twice. I don’t really care if you’re a designer, a patternmaker, an accountant at an apparel manufacturing company, working for yourself or someone else–you need to read it. No, Kathleen didn’t pay me to write this. Kathleen asked me to start writing for F-I in May of last year and I wouldn’t have agreed to if I hadn’t already read the book and the blog and respected both.

I also just finished this book, The Fashion Designer Survival Guide: An Insider’s Look at Starting and Running Your Own Fashion Business, by Mary Gehlhar. Don’t buy the book only because Zac Posen wrote the forward. It’s just a half-page blip basically saying Mary is rad. I’ve met Mary; she is indeed rad. Incredibly professional in a sea of slackers and laggers.

If Kathleen is the head cheerleader, teaching, guiding, training, and cheering your way to success, Mary is the deadpan goth chick who makes a point of warning you of every single possible wrong thing that could happen. Honestly, if you can read the whole book, every word, and finish it still wanting to start your own business, you, at the very least, have the necessary passion. Ms. Gehlhar isn’t negative, she’s just very good at presenting a huge range of possibilities of what could go right or wrong in every stage of the business, from contracts, money, production, shows, sales, press, and more.

My opinion? Read Kathleen for an indepth look in how an apparel manufacturing company should operate. Read Gehlhar for an honest overview of how the industry operates for an apparel manufacturer.

By the way, I’m returning this book, Fine Embellishment Techniques: Classic Details for Today’s Clothing, because it’s too hobbyist for my purposes. Definitely check it out if you’re into making one-offs for yourself or custom clothing clients.


5 Responses to 'books'

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  1. "katie" said,

    my co-worker (she actually works for me, but I can’t bear to admit it) just bought it. now I’ll read it.

  2. Paize said,

    Thanks for sharing. I love what you said about how you like books that make you feel stupid, very true. I love books, books on fashion, books on art, books on fiction, just books.

  3. Thanks Zoe! It’s funny what you say about Mary’s book. Well, not “funny”. I tell people to buy her book in order to figure out if they *really* want to get into the business and tell them to buy mine if they want to know how to run the company they start. A lot of people only think they want to do this. Imo, $16 is an investment, a way to explore your options to know whether you really want to get into this, it’ll save you a lot of grief and money. Mary knocks the silly fantasy ideas right out of their heads presenting an honest introductory view of what you can expect.

    The weirdest thing about my book is that most of my buyers are people who’ve been in the business for several years. In a way, it’s very flattering since they’ve been around long enough to know what’s bogus or useful. With their experience, they pass over the intro texts since they already know. It’s also a tough audience. Since they already learned some of the ropes the hard way, I have to provide some real value, things they don’t know. They all say the same thing, “I wish I had this years ago”.

    Thanks for the plug!

  4. >Mary knocks the silly fantasy ideas right out of their heads presenting an honest introductory view of what you can expect.


  5. […] Original post by verbalcroquis […]

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