Currently I am working on a bra project. Now, like most fashion design graduates, I learned next to nothing about making a bra at school and as the “self-supporting” small type I have virtually no personal experience of wearing bras, or trying them on. I have in the past made a bustier and some corsetry, and understand the basic bits (cups, band, straps!)… but I really need to do my homework.
Fortunately, I live in southern Ontario, not too far from Hamilton where Beverly Johnson from Bra-Makers has her bra-making school. Beverly knows everything about bras. I had the great pleasure of visiting her school and speaking with her personally – she is so cool! Beverly was so kind to share her knowledge, and I was fascinated to hear the story of how she became a bra expert. I am so priviliged to have the benefits of experienced and generous industry mentors.
Now I’m back in Toronto reading The Bra-Makers Manual, Beverly’s book – doing my homework! Bras are such complex garments. It seems like every small niche in the fashion industry can easily fill a big book – and I know that this book holds only a fraction of the vast arcane knowledge from Beverly’s experience. It is an excellent book – full of clearly drawn diagrams, written with both the authority of experience and a wonderfully conversational tone. Since I’ve met her in person, I can hear Beverly’s voice in my head as I read it – intimate, amusing, and easy to learn from. She is a natural teacher.
Some people don’t understand how a single garment, a certain stage of the design process, or a single type of fabric, or even a single type of fiber, can easily provide a lifetime of fascination and work. The more I get into the industry and meet people, the more I realize that any industry segment has so much more depth than meets the eye. Someday I expect I will have my own arcane specialization too.
As we all have our different specializations and abilities, I am in awe of the interconnectedness of the whole industry. We all need eachother.