Despite Winter Quarter being the busiest quarter of my entire 4 year college career, I’ve taken a step to flourish my leisure reading as a de-stress mechanism. Also, partly due to the fact that I recently started an online course with Parsons, I thought it may be a good cue to expand my knowledge in fashion history/business/people etc.
This is a list of my all time favorite and recently acquired infatuations of fashion books. Some had given me a very throughough understanding of fashion concepts, others are just good for a laugh. Better still, they all shaped me into the person I am today.
- Man Repeller: Seeking Love. Finding Overalls. — Leandra Medine
Founder and editor in chief of the Man Repeller site: a humorous site for serious fashion, Medine reveals hilarious life episodes and her passions for fashion in this autobiography. Having read and followed MR for a few years, I really grew to appreciate Medine’s mix of humor and culture with fashion. In her book, she reveals that Man Repeller stemmed from a shopping trip with her friend after a bad break up, where they found items in a Forever 21 that will instinctively shun the opposite sex. From then on, Medine launched her site and encouraged women to embrace their true selves, to follow their love for fashion despite all.
Medine also highlighted her relationship status from middle school till marriage. Her bad break up with the love of her life to casual dating to finally marrying the same guy that had broken her heart.
This was an excellent read when you are feeling dull with life. Medine’s self-deprecating and brutally honest humor never fails to make me burst out laughing on the bus.
2. Fashion Design research — Ezinma Mbonu
This was a great resource for me prior to my study abroad at Central Saint Martins. Inspired by my fellow classmate from a draping class in Shanghai a few summers ago, I started to explore fashion research. At that time, I couldn’t really comprehend what it meant to do creative research. From a scientific standpoint, (I was well versed in researching peer-review articles through my psychology training) does that mean I find everything I can and read about them?
So yes, without much clue about creative research, I bought this book from Amazon. Here, CSM graduate Ezinma Mbonu, introduced an array of research methods: from primary research to color palette to fabric research to collaging methods. It was truly a gateway for me to initially understand research in the fashion context.
Then of course came CSM, and everything just fell into place.
3. The Teen Vogue Handbook
This is basically my textbook. As required reading material for my online Parsons course, it introduces the different sectors of the fashion industry.
Featuring designers, photographers, the Teen Vogue team, digital pioneers, the Handbook is an essential guide of how to make it. Though every one has different paths and experiences, one thing is certain: it is not always glamorous, and talent is nothing compared to years of hard work, dedication and underrating positivity.
My favorite part of the book was from Karl Lagerfeld’s interview:
“Be informed, not only about fashion but also about art, history, and music. […] In the days of the internet, it is easy to be informed. Also, speak other languages. Show that you are interested in things, that you want to learn. And never look bored. It can be boring sometimes in the world of fashion.”
I guess my love of ‘different things’ is putting me on the right track.
4. Girl Boss — Sophia Amoruso
Founder and former CEO of the online fashion retailer, Nasty Gal, Amoruso is not your typical boss. In this biography, she shares her journey to success from being a penniless, high school grad with no formal experience in business.
Tired of her receptionist job at the Art Institute in Cali, she started scouring vintage stores and reselling items on eBay, launching the Nasty Gal brand. Today, the brand carries new clothing, shoes, accessories under their original label along with a couple other designers.
Amoruso’s book was a powerful message to all girls: You can be your own boss if you work very very very hard.
This is it for now. The list is ought to grow! Stay tuned.