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6 Books to Understand Fashion

If you are a fashion enthusiast or work in the area, you can indulge your quest for precious information by reading these fantastic books we curated and think might help you understand beyond what we see every day. Curiosities, history, backstage, the life of creators, and the fashion market are all subjects that will enrich your work and inspire you to create. After all, the more we know, the more we can bring things to the surface and debate putting more truth in what we pursue as fashion professionals and thus, contributing to the fashion business and world.

6 Books to Understand Fashion

1. The Chiffon Trenches: A Memoir

"During André Leon Talley’s first magazine job, alongside Andy Warhol at Interview, a fateful meeting with Karl Lagerfeld began a decades-long friendship with the enigmatic, often caustic designer.

The Chiffon Trenches offers a candid look at the who’s who of the last 50 years of fashion. At once ruthless and empathetic, this engaging memoir tells with raw honesty the story of how André not only survived the brutal style landscape but thrived - despite racism, illicit rumors, and all the other challenges of this notoriously cutthroat industry - to become one of the most renowned voices and faces in fashion."

6 Books to Understand Fashion

2. Fashion History from the 18th to the 20th Century

"Clothes define people". A person’s attire, whether it’s a sari, kimono, or business suit, is an essential code to his or her culture, class, personality, even faith. Founded in 1978, the Kyoto Costume Institute recognizes the importance of understanding clothes from sociological, historical, and artistic perspectives. With one of the world’s most extensive clothing collections, the KCI has amassed a wide range of historical garments, underwear, shoes, and fashion accessories dating from the 18th century to the present day."

6 Books to Understand Fashion

3. Circular Fashion: A Supply Chain for Sustainability in the Textile and Apparel Industry

"This introductory text to sustainability in fashion includes best practice case studies and profiles of companies such as Patagonia, Veja, Christopher Raeburn, and Stella McCartney. It begins with an overview of the fashion business, tackling the issues of the linear production model of make, use, dispose, before exploring the idea of the circular supply chain across all areas of the industry.

Circular Fashion is the must-have book for students, creatives, and anyone passionate about sustainability and fashion."

6 Books to Understand Fashion

4. Costume and Fashion: A Concise History (World of Art)

Another classic fashion book by James Laver is a true masterclass about fashion and the history of fashion. A must-read to anyone curious about this industry and also to understand the link between our behavior and society with the clothes we decide to wear.

The updated sixth edition features a new foreword and concluding chapter by Amy de la Haye and a new discussion about the major political shifts within the fashion industry, highlighting how it has responded to issues surrounding racism and sexism, LGBTQIA rights, mental health awareness, body and age diversity, and global sustainability. Generously illustrated with paintings, drawings, and photographs, and with a new angle on the emergence of ethical fashion, Costume and Fashion feels more current than ever.

6 Books to Understand Fashion

5. Women in Clothes

"Women in Clothes is a book unlike any other. It is essentially a conversation among hundreds of women of all nationalities—famous, anonymous, religious, secular, married, single, young, old—on the subject of clothing, and how the garments we put on every day define and shape our lives."

6 Books to Understand Fashion

6. Alexander McQueen: Unseen

"Never-before-seen photos of McQueen’s brilliantly creative world from an exclusive backstage photographer.

Alexander McQueen, the iconic designer whose untimely death in 2010 left the fashion world reeling and fans worldwide clamoring for more, fused immense creativity, audacity, and a hauntingly dark aesthetic sense into powerful, unforgettable imagery. The strange, singular beauty of his clothing was matched by the spectacle of his legendary fashion shows, which demonstrated his outstanding showmanship and consistently pushed the boundaries of runway events. Robert Fairer’s intimate, vibrant full-color photographs of McQueen’s collections, taken backstage and on the catwalk when few photographers were allowed access, offer a unique insight into the life and work of one of the world’s most captivating figures."

Fun Fact: Rita Avellar, founder of Avellar, LLC is passionate about fashion, especially the history of fashion. She graduated as a fashion designer and has worked in different brands as a marketing manager, written for different blogs and social media, hosted a TV fashion show, and taught Fashion Marketing for 6 years. Fashion here is taken seriously. ;)

6 Books to Understand Fashion
Rita Avellar during the recording of her fashion show in Rio de Janeiro


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