Every new season designers, retailers and brands send out 'look books' to press. They do what they say on the tin - show all the looks from a collection on numbered pages, so people can pick out the items they'd like to shoot or feature.

Some brands, especially those on a budget, have started to do this via email or download which is perfect if you work online like us (though note to some: 15mb attachments? Not so good...) but a lot still go the traditional route of printing up a chic little spiral-bound booklet, popping it in the goodie bags at press days or sending it out to all the editors...

I secretly love this, as there's nothing more exciting in the world of fashion than getting to see the next season's clothing before everyone else, and having something tangible to flick through is still nice, despite my loyalty to the online world.

The problem is, until a few days ago, my entire desk was stacked precariously with hundreds of the things. When I finally tidied it, bagged up the books and stashed them in a cupboard, my desk looked so empty someone asked me if I was leaving.

You see, this time of year is the worst. We're not quite over with Summer yet, so we haven't recycled the S/S books yet. The Autumn and Winter books have all arrived or been collected at press days because long-lead publications needed them months ago, and now the wonderful media event known as 'Christmas in July' is in full swing. Yep, Christmas press day invitations and festive look books are arriving chez CQ on a daily basis. I'm wondering when I'll be offered my first mince pie?

Why am I telling you all this? Because a lot of people ask us where we get our product images from when we're doing previews and sneaky peeks, and the answer is usually from a look book (most also come with a CD of images or a link to a download site - very handy). They're a vital resource for any fashion writer and if you're looking to work in the industry, I suggest you start grabbing them at every given occasion!