Books Every Fashion Designer Should Read
Although I don’t have a good memory, the essence of every book I’ve read remains in me somewhere, inspiring connections or reflections when I least expect it. I’m sure it’s the same with fashion designers. Ideas and visual references are stored away; no gallery or museum visit is ever forgotten. I’d argue that no time is wasted when you are reading either, even if the sky turns dark and the day seems to have nearly gone.
My favorite place for research is the National Art Library at the Victoria and Albert Museum. I discovered it when I was still in school and was amazed to discover that I was allowed to study in the company of some very serious looking scholars. The library is open to anyone, and any fashion designer who can manage to spend some time there will surely be inspired. I simply cannot imagine life without books, from novels to biographies to histories to catalogues.
The following recommendations are just the tip of the iceberg. I would say to aspiring designers (and we meet quite a lot of them at the museum, which after all was set up in the 19th century to inspire creative design), let life, and books, lead you where they will. History is infinitely rich; the present is exciting, and it’s this ever-changing mixture of now and what was that makes fashion so inspiring. A sort of transience-within-permanence. If the result is magnificent clothes or patterns or new combinations of colors, that’s cause for celebration. As Vivienne Westwood said, “You have a better life if you wear impressive clothes.”
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