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Posted February 1, 2011
I loved the practical, down-to-earth attitude of the book. Many guides for first-time business owners seem to emphasize the excitement and ease of being your own boss. Fashion Unraveled makes no such claims--it lets you know that you are definitely capable of starting your own successful business but it's going to take time and a tremendous amount of effort. You shouldn't expect your business to turn a profit until the third year of operation, but if you have a desirable product and know how to sell and market it, you will eventually be able to live off the income from your business. I think this book could definitely be used by people who choose fashion design as a hobby rather than a fulltime career (for example, I've met a few women who design purses or t-shirts, but don't intend to launch their own line or open their own store), but it's mainly aimed at those who would prefer to work for themselves one day.
Fashion Unraveled is also very user-friendly. It explains some complicated business concepts in a very straightforward manner, and it keeps its information clear and understandable without ever talking down to the reader. As the preface states, the whole layout of the book is designed with creative people in mind--almost every page contains lined space to jot down notes and ideas, and the Case Study examples at the end of every chapter shows the entire development phase of one woman's fashion design business, accompanied by identical pages for the reader to fill in with their own market research, mission statements, business model, etc. The case study and the various interviews listed in the Designer Profiles were very inspiring--here are real people who are making a living in the industry!
This 2nd edition of the book presents extremely current information about the fashion industry, and takes into account the recent economic downturn and the explosion of new media like Twitter, Facebook, and blogs. The author lists dozens of internet resources that designers can use to find trade show listings, distribute press releases, connect to indie fashion communities and more. A contemporary businessperson must know their competition, cultivate their online presence, and be constantly ready to network, follow up, and promote their clothing line. The advice is perfectly geared toward today's audience and is coming from an author who has extensive hands-on experience in fashion design, business, and teaching.
I must say, I am not a fashion maven. This is not my field, and yet I was absolutely riveted by this book. The parts I was most moved by were the discussions of eco-friendly practices in the fashion business. I visited some of the sites mentioned and as a result, I've developed a strong interest in upcycled and recycled clothing and sustainable fashion. It's like discovering a whole different world, where instead of contributing to a disposable culture, fashion can be turned in the opposite direction and used to help people be more aware of their impact on the environment.
Fashion Unraveled is basically an entire college course in one book. Whether you're a newbie to the world of fashion like myself, a serious-minded designer or crafter ready to become an entrepreneur, or just a fan of Project Runway and the fashion world in general, you'll find this book informative, inspiring, and tailored for your keeper shelf.
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