Monday, December 25, 2006
HAPPY NEW YEAR * LET’S START S.E.L.F. IN 2007
While selling my design and manufacturing business, “Shirley Willett, Inc.”, I wrote this book, “Let’s Design A Dress” and published it in 1980. There were a few reasons that I sold my business. I hated the big size that it must become if you want to maintain success, I was at the mercy of the new young 60s workers who were demanding and not like the family feeling of older stitchers and my once smaller business, and I wanted to be happy, not caught up into the making of great profits and lose my creative soul to big designer retailers. But most of all, I wanted to teach, and leave my legacy to young designers: of great styling that consumers bought and loved, and my creative and technical mastery of pattern engineering and production. I could never teach at any of the fashion schools or colleges, because with intense jealousy from teachers who could only teach what they had been taught - the old hat rules from past technical books – there would never be acceptance of creating technical systems. So, I wrote a text book that I used in the 1980s in fashion departments I set up myself at colleges or community/adult education, or with private clients in a re-incorporated, Shirley Willett, Inc., as a small business consultant. This gave me great experience with testing my innovative ideas of a new and easier methodology for pattern making – and to realize how successful the concept is.
After working on my NSF grants through the decade of the 90s, and presenting my ideas at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in January, 2004, I again made the decision to teach and leave my legacy, successfully testing my more advanced ideas for pattern making. Now, I want to test them online for all of you, the readers of my blog, Fashion Solutions.
I created the concept of “Self-Employed Laboratory of Fashion” (SELF) with some protégés I have here locally, that are willing to help me. The most important word is Laboratory, that is we will research problems and create solutions. At this stage of a “research lab” I do not personally want a business for making money, although there will be costs. That does not apply to others working in SELF, who are each self-employed with fashion clothing businesses, or aspirations to develop one, that is not dependent on SELF for primary business income. We are going to open up the concept of SELF, for all of you that are interested in becoming a part, whether you are in a business designing for others, or just want to design and make clothes for yourself and friends. There are requirements and benefits. The great benefit is that you can get some “Primitive and Generic Patterns” (called “S-Patterns”) for a low cost, and have the ability to get your pattern problems solved free. One requirement is that in order for you to understand how to use these patterns you must study three programs of many that I designed for classes here, and give us feedback. The programs, as we are designing them for online, are necessarily different than face-to-face in a classroom. So, we are making them free, but the feedback is an imperative. Remember we are a research lab, so we need a commitment and a willingness to think about how you can help us, and help others in a system that can become worldwide, and perhaps even help the poor in developing countries eventually. And that is a really exciting legacy to be a part of.
Tomorrow I will continue this discussion with more details. I have already discussed this idea with Tracey in the U.K. and Diane in Colorado, and a few that are closer that will do it on computer. Please give me feedback now if you are interested, so that we can determine if we use the blog and my web site to present the programs, or do it with a smaller group. My protégés and I are busy preparing it for after the New Year. Continued tomorrow…
Meanwhile Happy Holidays and a Happy, Successful New Year, 2007,