We all get up every morning and put on our pants, which makes every one of us a consumer of fashion. And fashion is anything but frivolous; in fact, our clothes drive the world’s economy.
The global fashion industry is estimated to exceed $3 trillion in value and employs nearly 60 million people (80% of which are women), making it one of the largest worldwide economic activities. It’s an industry riddled with all the controversies of our time, including environmental concerns and fair labor practices.
It’s also a highly creative, highly personal industry. The clothes we wear tell a story and communicate to the world who we are and how we’d like to be perceived. A great pair of shoes can improve our mood, and the perfect little black dress can give a much-needed boost of confidence. Whether you love Levi’s or Chanel No. 5, follow the latest trends or stick to the classics, this reading challenge is for you.
Let’s discover the people, the clothes, and the history. Let’s discover the world of fashion.
Fashion is full of fascinating people who have left their mark on the world. The shapes and colors we wear, the images we see in magazines, the storefront displays we admire, and the ways we shop all come from visionaries like these, whose ideas have driven the culture of clothes.
Megan Hess, 2021
The name Coco Chanel is absolutely synonymous with high style, which is why Chanel is the only fashion designer on the New York Times’ list of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century. Ms. Chanel’s casual, elegant, feminine designs completely revolutionized women’s fashions following WWI, and her interlocked CC logo still graces the runways and closets of the most fashionable people today.
Discover the story of Coco’s amazing early life, the iconic fashion empire that she built, and the legacy that she left behind, brought to life with Hess’s stylish and whimsical illustrations.
Dana Thomas, 2015
In Gods and Kings, journalist Dana Thomas tells the story of fashion greats Alexander McQueen and John Galliano, the ways they influenced high fashion in the last twenty years, and the personal price they paid to do so. McQueen and Galliano created landmark collections that transformed a languishing fashion industry made up of a group of small businesses into a massive $280 billion global industry. You’ll learn about these two remarkable men and get an insider’s peek into the corporate side of high fashion.
Diana Vreeland, 2011
Diana Vreeland was the fashion editor for Harper’s Bazaar and the editor-in-chief for Vogue. Her passion for style set the tone for fashion for nearly 50 years. She tells her own story in this delightful, funny, brilliant memoir. Ms. Vreeland went everywhere and knew everyone, and she has the stories to prove it. And she’s a good storyteller as well; you won’t be able to put this book down.
André Leon Talley, 2020
This New York Times bestseller is the story of André Leon Talley, an American fashion journalist. He worked as a stylist, creative director, and editor-at-large for Vogue magazine and various other fashion publications. Mr. Talley offers a candid look at the world of fashion over the past 60 years and his experiences overcoming racism, sexism, and discrimination to become a respected voice within a cutthroat industry. He knew everyone, from Andy Warhol to Anna Wintour, and he styled everyone, including Michele Obama and Melania Trump. This book offers a perspective on the fashion industry that you won’t find anywhere else.
Sara Gay Forden, 2001
You’ll feel like you’re reading a page-turning true-crime novel as you race your way through this riveting story about the murder of Maurizio Gucci. This non-fiction book has glitz, glamor, suspense, high finance, and high fashion. Who killed Gucci and why? Read the book before you watch the movie to get the answers.
The How-to of Fashion
Wearing clothes has been around since there have been people, and being captivated by clothing and style came shortly after. If you love clothes, set aside the fashion blogs and pick up these books instead.
Richard Thompson Ford, 2021
In Dress Codes, Mr. Ford offers an informative history of fashion rules from the Middle Ages through today. We don’t even think about his rules, but they dictate how we dress. If you think that dress codes are a thing of the past, think again. The author posits that dress codes actively influence social status and opportunity as much today as they did in days gone by. This book will change the way you think about your clothes.
Christian Dior, 2007
This pocketbook-sized guide might be the only book you need to look fashionable and stylish wherever you go. Christian Dior shares style secrets and tips every girl needs to know. The Little Dictionary includes photos and drawings that will help you develop your good taste and dress with confidence.
History of Fashion – Cost & Fabric
Fashion is more than creators and clothes; it’s a massive, complex global industry. To understand how big an impact clothing has on the world, pick up these books.
Alberto Oliva, 2012
Is Vogue the world’s most influential magazine? Alberto Oliva certainly thinks so, and he makes his compelling case in this extraordinary look at the history of Vogue. You’ll get a backstage look at how the magazine is created and a taste of the many stories written for the magazine by greats such as Truman Capote, Aldous Huxley, and others. If you’re interested in fashion, culture, art, or the media, this book has something for you.
Elizabeth L. Cline, 2012
The national average for items of new clothing per year is 64. That’s just over one new piece of clothing every week. How do you measure up against that average? Author Elizabeth Cline takes a deep look at how cheap, disposable clothing impacts the economy, labor markets, well-being, and more. What’s wrong with buying that $5 crop top? Ms. Cline answers that question and many others in this mesmerizing book. She also presents solutions for breaking the cycle and feeling good about what you wear.
Virginia Postrel, 2020
The history of textiles is the history of the world; the need for fabric of all kinds has shaped technology, politics, culture, and business since the beginning of time. Postrel’s exhaustive research and engaging writing will persuade you that fabric is truly the world’s most influential commodity. You’ll discover things you did not know or appreciate about fabric and textiles as you read this retelling of history.
Take a Deeper Dive into Fashion
Add these titles to your cart today and dive into the world of fashion. Your reading will change you. You might discover a new passion for style, a new appreciation for the art of fashion, or a new commitment to sustainable clothing. We’re confident you’ll walk away from this reading challenge with a new perspective on getting dressed every day.
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