A longer article? There's 7 years and nearly 3,000 posts on my site about it. I don't know how it is that people posting here haven't found, it's the most popular site in the industry. They're probably not using the right key words. It's been mentioned enough in the press (NYT, WSJ, NPR etc).
What I tried to add to my post is the issue of gate keeping -that you need a referral for everything but once you get in (usually with a pattern maker), it all works out provided you're not a fruit loop, a drama queen and pay your bills.
Referrals are important because the business is SOOO much smaller than people think. Everybody knows everybody from design school on out. I keep in regular contact with professors on their most promising students and nurture ones I can.
Awhile back, one little girl at a school in the midwest tried to blackmail me, she threatened to give me a bad review if I didn't give her free stuff. First I talked to her professor which was very embarrassing for everyone that I had to do that (never assume whoever you're talking to is a nobody just because YOU have never heard of them before). Last month she applied for factoring (financing) in NY -I guess she moved there- and her factor who is a friend of mine, called me because she told him she had read my book (most financiers and service providers won't take someone unless they've read it). I told him that she tried to blackmail me. I don't know what he decided since he makes his own decisions and it's not my business to ask but things like that will follow you around.
In a nutshell, this business isn't any more cut throat or hard to break into than other businesses but you have to be nice to get referrals. That someone isn't fawning over you or giving you free stuff or walking backwards on their hands for you because you're a designer doesn't mean they are being mean to you. Many young girls are the only designer they know and are used to special treatment from other people who also don't know any designers but ALL of our customers are designers so nobody is special unless they're nice, are nice to work with and place nice orders.
I still think this is a great business to be in and you can make a nice living at it without offshoring your production, running a sweatshop or making crappy stuff. I don't know why everyone persists in saying there is no manufacturing here, all of us are so busy we can't see straight (and I need to get back to work!), or that you can't make money at it or that no one will help you. You just have to do your homework rather than whatever way you've worked out in your head because it doesn't work like that. When the student is ready, the teacher appears.