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The Fashion Designer Survival Guide: An Insider's Look at Starting and Running Your Own Fashion Business
 
 
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The Fashion Designer Survival Guide: An Insider's Look at Starting and Running Your Own Fashion Business [Paperback]

Mary Gehlhar , Zac Posen
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)


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Book Description

September 1, 2005 0793198992 978-0793198993 Original
The national retail apparel business has grown to a $172 billion per year industry, and the employment rate for designers is expected to outpace that of all other occupations through the year 2008. The Fashion Designer Survival Guide is a must-have for the thousands of talented designers who want to see their dream of creating an independent fashion line become a reality.Mary Gehlhar, author, industry authority, and consultant to hundreds of designers (including newcomers Alicia Bell, Keanan Duffty, and Milly), gives readers behind-the-scenes advice and essential business information on creating and sustaining a successful career as an independent designer. The Fashion Designer Survival Guide provides the necessary tools to get a fashion line or label up and moving on the right track, including: •Start-up costs and financing •Legal issues •Business plans •Public relations and sales •Marketing and manufacturing •Distribution-trade, trunk, and runway shows This book also provides case studies from independent designers at different stages of their careers, including tough letdowns and exciting successes. Young designers weigh-in on topics important to them when they were starting out, while several top name designers offer personal perspectives on a single question, providing a window to their world and a variety of answers.Designers are bursting with creativity but often fall flat going into business as an independent. The Fashion Designer Survival Guide provides designers with the one thing design school didn’t-intelligent and successful business practices.


Editorial Reviews

Review

"A must-read for anyone in the world of fashion. Gehlhar offers practical tips and strategies to increase chances of success." -- Soma Magazine, September 2005 Wordplay

"Every aspiring designer needs this book. Mary Gehlhar wrote an invaluable, step-by-step guide to succeeding on Seventh Avenue and beyond." -- Nancy MacDonell, Editor at Large, NYLON, and author of The Classic Ten: The
True Story of the Little Black Dress and Nine Other Fashion Favorites


"For anyone seeking to compete and succeed in our crowded and highly competitive industry, Mary’s comprehensive advice is required reading." -- —Peter D. Arnold, Executive Director Council of Fashion Designers of America

"For anyone who’s ever aspired to be an independent designer, this is the book to pick up." -- --The Daily

"Lest fashion's neophytes get too dreamy, Gehlhar is there to ground them…" -- From Women’s Wear Daily

"Mary presents many expectations he or she will confront in the marketplace and provides excellent professional advice throughout the book." -- —Margaret Hayes, President, The Fashion Group International

"This book encourages all aspiring designers ready to embark on an independent career within the industry." -- —Rebecca Taylor

"Touching on everything from sales to runway shows and everything in between, this new book has got fashionistas everywhere covered." -- Nylon magazine BOOKMARK

Must read…find out from a pro who has worked with up-and-coming designers. -- --New York Daily News

About the Author

As the Fashion Division Director of Gen Art, Mary Gehlhar has worked closely with up-and-coming designers to start, operate, and grow design businesses. She has lent her expertise to the Rising Star Award committee at Fashion Group International, the Pratt Institute Fashion Jury, and the Open Call panel for the Miramax/Bravo show Project Runway. Mary has been interviewed by the New York Times, British Vogue, Washington Post, Boston Globe, and E! Style channel.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Kaplan Business; Original edition (September 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0793198992
  • ISBN-13: 978-0793198993
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.4 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,001,956 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews
55 of 56 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Review from a soon-to-be Fashion Designer. November 13, 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I will admit-- I chose this "how to start a fashion business" guide book over the other ones because it's more famous. And because of the Diane Von Furstenberg foreword, Tim Gunn review, and many little interviews with actual designers. Lets not forget the great price (w/ free shipping if $25 is spent).

This book is definitely a good read-- its full of practical information and great advice and real-world examples of situations designers go through (designers going bankrupt, exclusivity of certain production factories, problems with selling to certain stores, etc). Its a very "real" look at fashion from a well thought out point of view.

All that said, when I began to create my business plan this book was little help. I mean it certainly gave me a great summarized outline, but it lacks numbers. I just wish it had more number examples, you know more "averages". Like the average or sample amounts of material cost, production, and overhead cost for an emerging designers. How many pieces are recommended for a new designer and if they choose to sell to a store-- whats the average amount of pieces they sell the store and how many of each sizes (ie: 20 dresses? size 2(2) size 4(2) size 6(4) size 8(4) size 10(4) size 12(4))

I know averages can greatly differ, but I wish they would have made-up or created a fake fashion line, and created a very modified business plan with numbers, just as a sample. (That alone would have made this book perfect.)

It also needed more equations. The only equation was COGS. The book was great, but it seriously lacked numbers and tangibility. As in I was thinking this book would be a onestop shop, but it wasn't.
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88 of 93 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This guide is the best apparel industry book out there December 28, 2005
Format:Paperback
Mary Gehlhar's book is outstanding. It has depth and breath. I really enjoyed all the quotes and pearls of wisdom provided by so many lovely people in the apparel industry. This book covers everything - from concept and design to wholesale price points to retail product placement. This book shows you "the what" and "the how" like no other apparel industry book has.

What I especially enjoyed learning about was the legal information. Thank you Charles Klein for you saved me much heartache that comes with losing your intellectual property. Now I can work with investors wisely for you have banished the only fear I have and that is losing control of my intellectual property as I lose some corporate control due to investors' terms. This is what I read books for - to gain knowledge and insight from people who have done it before me, do it better than me, and write it down to share with us curious souls and thirsty minds.

The other aspect of this book I found to be stellar and not noted in any other fashion industry book (and I read them all) is what Mary Gehlhar says about patternmaking and samplemaking. She states both sides of the argument, doing it yourself and others doing it for you, articulately and succinctly. I applaud you Mary Gehlhar. You wrote a great book.
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77 of 83 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not impressed. January 7, 2010
By msb
Format:Paperback
Extremely disappointed with this book. Rather than focusing on the struggles, adversities, drawbacks, and the unhappiness of being a designer, I'd rather invest my time in a text which offers concrete instruction on how to overcome the obstacles. This book is premised upon the "facts" that you: a) require hundreds of thousands of dollars in reserve to even consider launching your own line, b) MUST work for several years under another designer prior to designing for yourself, and c) you most likely won't make it, even on a small scale. Every artist is aware of monetary limitations and minuscule success rates, so I believe most of us would benefit more from tangible advice, and an author who can offer various routes to achieve discernible goals (rather than abstract ideas and incessant "words of warning"). A few good points throughout the book, but I wouldn't recommend it.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Grain of Salt Should Come With This Book September 1, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As another reviewer said, this book is best suited to those designers who want to be the next big high fashion thing. I'm not taking stars off for that fact because some people don't want to be a smaller, more independent label, and to have a book geared towards them makes sense. This is the type of career I'm after so for that purpose, this was the right book for me to choose. I started reading it before I knew ANYTHING about actually running a fashion label; I knew about fashion but I didn't know about the business side. This book provided the basic introductory information I needed and I did learn a lot. I'm in a much better position to start my business than I was before.

Having said that, Gehlhar's approach is downright unpleasant. If we're invested enough in starting our own labels to research and read in order to further our education, it's likely that we are WELL AWARE of "The Reality" she so thoughtfully placed in the very first chapter of the book. In fact, it's likely that this "advice" has been pounded into our heads since the very first moment we told someone we wanted to work in fashion. If we're at the point where we're taking the initiative to study the subject on our own, it's 100% unnecessary for this "wisdom" to be included at all, nevermind reiterated in every freaking chapter. Being told that it's hard serves zero purpose; what does telling us we *might* fail do for us in the long run? It's such a myth that "preparing" young hopefuls for the failure that might not even come is constructive. If things end up not going the way we had planned, what will having read it in a book beforehand do for us at that point? Nothing.
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