Books Every Fashion Designer Should Read
A fashion designer should first of all understand the power of authentic clothing. The real clothes that real people wear demonstrate the richness and diversity of human thought. The Kyoto Costume Institute’s historical collection of examples of Western fashion, along with the institution’s exhibitions and related books and catalogues, reflect this belief in clothing and the act of dressing as manifestations of our very being.
New generations of fashion designers will no doubt examine the meaning of clothing in new ways. They would do well to look for inspiration to Japanese design, which began to prominently influence global fashion in the early 1980s. Several photographic books of the early designs of Issey Miyake, Rei Kawakubo, and Yohji Yamamoto, who challenged Western ideas of beauty and established definitions of fashion, show that this work still retains its strong impact and freshness.
To understand the Japanese design mind, it is necessary to understand what informs Japanese culture, from traditional aesthetics to anime and manga, which authors such as Jun’ichiro Tanizaki and Hiroki Azuma explore.
Of the many tools at a fashion designer’s disposal, books may be among the most important. They provide access to the great works of art and architecture and other design-related fields and to what may be the most critical tool for fashion design’s future: philosophical thinking.