As a writer, I spend a good amount of my life reading other people’s words. And most of those words are about fashion.
So in the spirit of sharing, I’ve put together a recommended reading list for those who work in, want to work in, or simply love, fashion. In addition to my own thoughts, I’ve conulted Fashionista’s contributors, sources and friends. This list is by no means comprehensive, but these books have taught me a lot about the industry’s past–as well as it’s future.
The End of Fashion: How Marketing Changed the Clothing Business Forever, by Teri Agins
This book changed my life. Really. A long time ago, when I first started as a reporter at Forbes, I knew that I wanted to be a fashion writer, but I didn’t know what kind of fashion writer. Since the job was at a finance pub, I was forced to learn about the business. And one of the first books recommended to me by an editor was The End of Fashion, written by the Wall Street Journal‘s longtime fashion reporter. The book explains how conglomerates like LVMH and red carpet fashion changed the industry forever. Some ideas are dated, but in general, it’s a fascinating, educational read. After finishing, I knew that I wanted to focus my career on what was happening behind the scenes.
The Fashion Designer Survival Guide: Start and Run Your Own Fashion Business, by Mary Gehlhar
A successful designer friend of mine recommended this book. While there’s no denying that starting your own label is incredibly, incredibly tough, it can happen. And it can go on to become successful. With a forward by entrepreneur Diane von Furstenberg, Gehlhar aims to give aspiring designers a bit of guidance.
House of Gucci: A Sensational Story of Murder, Madness, Glamour, and Greed, by Sara Gay Forden
The ’90s was a hugely important time in the fashion industry–that’s when the big conglomerates began to emerge as fashion’s most powerful players–and Gucci was right in the middle of a battle between PPR’s Francois Pinault and LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault. But there’s more to the story: Like Tom Ford‘s emergence on the scene and a family murder mystery. Juicy stuff–it’s even being made into a movie!
Chic Savages: The New Rich, the Old Rich, and the World They Inhabit, by John Fairchild
Legendary WWD editor and publisher John Fairchild’s memoir has a lot to do with fashion and fashion journalism, but it’s mostly a study of upper class society, starting with the late 1960s through the end of the 1980s. Fairchild writes like an old-fashioned newspaper man, and it’s thrilling. A good read for anyone following W‘s overhaul.
Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster, by Dana Thomas
The first book to address fashion’s issues with counterfeiting in a constructive, easy-to-understand, exciting way. What’s more, it’ll teach you a lot about modern-day manufacturing and production.