Best fashion books of all time
For people looking to work in the fashion industry, sometimes it’s as easy as a quick phone call or a procedural interview, but for most people breaking in requires skill, knowledge, and perseverance.
The thing that will make you stand out most as an employee or intern is being aware.
Knowledge of the industry and its history is priceless when faced with tough competition.
Whether you are looking to break into the industry, or just interested in how your clothes made their way on to your back, check out some of these practical fashion business books.
1. An honourable mention should go to The Fashion Book, which is one of the ultimate encyclopedias of designers, models, and industry greats. A must read!
2. Deluxe: How Luxury Lost its Lustre by Dana Thomas.
This is an incredibly well researched and informative book that really delves into the history of licensing and marketing by former Newsweek reporter Thomas. Deluxe touches on everything from counterfeiting to the fragrance boom and is a true resource.
Who should read it: anyone interested in LVMH beyond the shop floor, or fascinated by the facts and figures of aspirational dressing.
3. D.V. by Diana Vreeland
If you don’t know who Diana Vreeland is, you may want to turn back now. This icon and legendary editor’s autobiography explores her early life in Paris, tenures at Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue, and opens a window to her dream-like world filled with memos, fashion, and world travel.
Who should read it: anyone looking to work in magazines or just up for a good read about a very interesting woman.
4. Shocking! The Art & Fashion of Elsa Schiaparelli by Dilys E. Blum
This retrospective of sorts is a feast for the eyes and the imagination. With hundreds of photos and lively commentary, Shocking! is a celebration of the revered designer, and shines a spotlight on the fashion climate of the 1930’s and 40’s.
Who should read it: anyone frantically following the rumours of a Schiaparelli redux.
5. Fashion Today by Colin McDowell
Veteran journalist McDowell had seen firsthand the ups and downs of fashion, and this textbook documents them. From the Dior New Look to the early noughties, McDowell explores the past and present themes that dictate fashion.
Who should read it: fashion school hopefuls and new writers looking to nail all of the important reference points.
6. The Beautiful Fall by Alicia Drake.
Drake’s portrait of two of the 20th century’s greatest designers, Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent, is a revealing and enlightening read. Hundreds of firsthand accounts are pieced together to paint a scene of 1970’s fashion, and those who reigned over ready to wear.
Who should read it: 70s fashion enthusiasts and Karl addicts.
7. The End of Fashion: How Marketing Changed the Clothing Business Forever by Teri Agins
While this book breeds mixed reactions among those who read it (some love it and some denounce it with a passion), Wall Street Journal writer Agins covers a wide spectrum of fashion from retail to manufacturing, marketing and more.
Who should read it: those looking to see what the controversy is about, and anyone who has already read Deluxe (see above) and is itching for another perspective.
8. Stylist: The Interpreters of Fashion by Anna Wintour, Sarah Mower, and Raul Martinez (& Style.com)
This coffee table book profiles a variable pantheon of stylistic talent, including Polly Mellen and Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele. Enough said.
Who should read it: aspiring stylists (obviously) and production editors, and those who are interested in what makes that perfect look.