4 Books That Will Advance Your Fashion Knowledge

The books you need to learn about fashion.

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Are you currently a fashion major but feel like you’re not in-tune with the industry? Just want to learn more about fashion? Here are 4 fashion books for students that will help you to increase your knowledge immensely!

First I’ll list the books on fashion design that will help you with the business side of fashion. They will give you insight on how to run a business, how to merchandise products, and how to market them to customers. Let’s get started!

1. The Fashion Business Manual

Photo of The Fashion Business Manual by Fashionary.

Product: The Fashion Business Manual

This book from Fashionary just came out at the end of January but it’s already one of my all-time favorites. It’s so relevant to all aspects of the fashion industry. From visual merchandising to branding, The Fashion Business Manual will teach you everything you need to know! 

One of the major benefits of this book is that it gives a really good overview of the entire industry and not just one specific segment. The book states that it covers 12% branding, 12% production, 8% wholesaling, 12% marketing, 25% retailing, and 8% business. 

Again, this is one of the most well put together books about fashion that’s out right now. They offer industry insight and even include photos and diagrams to show you exactly what they mean!

2. The End of Fashion

Photo of The End of Fashion by Teri Agins.

Product: The End of Fashion

This novel is perfect for anyone who is in between the millennial and generation Z generation bracket. This book was written in 1999 and talks about the state of the fashion world in the 1970s-1980s and how much things had changed just in the ’90s.

I read this book for my Fashion Presentation and Promotion class and it really gave me a look into how fashion was promoted and how designers were born into the industry in the past. It was also amazing to see how much the industry has changed since this book was published!

This book is a wonderful pick for any fashion student because it fully details how designers/brands succeeded (or failed) in the past and brings you along to see how they adapted to new industry trends and are now thriving. 

The next books I’m going to list are about amazing designers who have singlehandedly changed fashion and built couture fashion houses from the ground up. 

3. Elsa Schiaparelli: A Biography

Photo of Elsa Schiaparelli novel written by Meryle Secrest

Product: Elsa Schiaparelli: A Biography

Elsa Schiaparelli was a couture goddess in the 1920s and ’30s. After being born in Rome and living in Paris most of her life, Schiaparelli relocated to New York with her husband and began the clothing line that would change her career forever. This book details her fashion journey. 

Her legacy can be summed up in her iconic lobster dress that changed the industry forever. She drew this inspiration from the surrealist movement and collaborated with Salvador Dali for this famed gown. She was also the first designer to consider a built in bra for swimsuits! 

There are many other outstanding accomplishments on Schiaparelli’s rap sheet and her work can still be seen in fashion items today. This book gives you a wonderful overview of her life and legacy.

4. Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life

Photo of Coco Chanel biography written by Justine Picardie

Product: Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life

Coco Chanel. The epitome of fashion and a name that almost everyone knows, whether they study fashion or not. This book looks into what made Coco Chanel the woman, and brand, that we all know and study today. After learning to sew in the orphanage she was sent to, Chanel’s life was forever changed.

Some of her first collections were ensembles that were sporty and could work as leisure wear — pretty unheard of at the time. One might argue that Chanel was the catalyst for the prominent athlesiure movement that is massively popular today. 

This novel looks through her life and also shows how Chanel built the brand that continues on today. 

What are your must-read fashion books?

I hope you decide to read these amazing books to help further your fashion knowledge! If you have any other book recommendations you think would be helpful to other College Fashion girlbosses, definitely drop the names in the comments!

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