November 18, 2017

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A Passion for Fashion | Stylish Nonfiction Titles for Teens

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Whether tuning in to reality TV design shows, thumbing through fashion mags, surfing blogs, trend-spotting at the mall, or mix-matching items from their own closets, teens have a passion for fashion. Catch the discerning eye of these style-conscious kids with a lineup of titles that range from overview to “how to.”

InfoThe Fashion Bookrmation and Inspiration

In The Fashion Book (DK, 2014; Gr 6 Up), Alexandra Black provides an introduction to apparel through the centuries while also sussing out timeless looks “borrowed from the past and recycled, restyled, and reinvented for now.” Blending reproductions of artworks, archival images, illustrations, and full-color photos of garments, “Window Shopping the Past” spreads introduce style basics for historical periods from ancient civilizations to the modern day. From the Gibson Girl to Grunge, fashions from the turn-of-the-20th-century onward receive decade-by-decade coverage. “Something Borrowed” entries show readers how elements from a particular era can be integrated into a contemporary ensemble to create a fresh vibe (tips on how to get the look included). Interspersed throughout, other sections highlight style icons (Marie Antoinette, Audrey Hepburn, Twiggy, Kate Moss, etc.), zoom in on the story of essential materials (silk, lace, leather, denim), delve into accessories (foundation garments, shoes, bags), and spotlight young adults working or training in various fashion fields. Deftly mixing fascinating facts, an appealingly lighthearted tone, and an attractive assemblage of colorful visuals, this book informs teens while encouraging them to find their own style.

Vintage Fashion CompleteNicky Albrechtsen’s Vintage Fashion Complete (Chronicle, 2014; Gr 9 Up) is a hefty but splendidly browsable tome packed with more than 1,000 lovely photos of clothing from days gone by. Spanning the decades from the 1920s to the 1980s, the book puts a finger on the changing times, introduces the themes of 20th-century fashion, and explores the elements that make these pieces stylish even today. The text skillfully incorporates historical events, cultural trends, technological improvements, and the evolving role of women into the discussion, showing how these changes affected the industry—the connection between Hollywood costume design and couture in the glamorous 1930s, the pared-down styling that resulted from the frugality of the wartime ‘40s, the “collision of art, music, social revolution, and fashion” that characterized the ‘60s. Crisp photos of the mannequin-modeled garments and occasional close-ups showing details are presented along with alluring archival images (movie publicity photos and stills, ads, newspaper and magazine articles). A great resource for up-and-coming fashion designers, thrift store haunters, and mix-and-match mavens.

Sneaker CenturyAmber J. Keyser’s Sneaker Century: A History of Athletic Shoes (Twenty-First Century Bks., 2015; Gr 5 Up) traces the development of this now-ubiquitous footwear from turn-of-the-century origins as humble rubber-soled shoes to current-day status as a big-money industry and cultural phenomenon. Filled with interesting facts, the lively work focuses on the people behind the products, describing the rivalry between two brothers who manufactured athletic shoes in World War II-era Germany (their schism resulted in Adidas and Puma), the first professional sports endorsement (Converse salesman and basketballer Chuck Taylor in the 1920s), how teens moved tennies off the track and into the realm of fashion in the 1960s, NIKE’s Air Jordan campaign and Adidas’s 1980s deal with hip-hop group Run-D.M.C., and modern-day sneakerheads (collectors, artists, and entrepreneurs). The author emphasizes the role of young adults as top consumers, connoisseurs, and conceptualizers. She also touches upon issues such as aggressive marketing to urban teens, the inequities of global production, and environmental impact. Each chapter opens with a close-up of snazzy shoes; readers who want to see more can check out some incredible kicks in Sneakers: The Complete Limited Editions Guide (Thames & Hudson, 2014), a museum-style gallery of unique footwear artfully displayed.

Fashionable SelbyIn Fashionable Selby (Abrams, 2014; Gr 10 Up), photographer and artistic voyeur Todd Selby takes readers into the personal spaces and minds of creative—and often quirky—designers, artisans, models, and entrepreneurs. Entries provide tapestries of colorful, handsomely composed photos that depict their subjects in their studios and/or homes and showcase eye-catching examples of their work. From the well-established to the cutting edge, Selby highlights a wonderfully diverse group including Audrey Louise Reynolds, an organic dyer who cooks up colors in a cauldron in her Brooklyn, NY backyard; Amsterdam designer Iris van Herpen who pushes couture forward with laser-cut dresses, 3-D-printed fabrics, and latex materials; Nashville, Tennessee’s Manuel, aka “the Rhinestone Rembrandt,” who has clothed everyone from Elvis to Johnny Cash; and Marisol Suarez, who concocts wearable pieces of hair art in Paris, France. From the minimalist Los Angeles loft workspace of sisters and product designers Kimberly and Nancy Wu (and their lineup of understated knapsacks and purses) to the somehow eminently tasteful “explosion of color and texture” that characterizes the home Lucinda Chambers (Fashion Director for British Vogue), the images create a powerful sense of each artist’s personality, inspirations, and accomplishments. Profiles include brief and witty bios, watercolor portraits, and handwritten questionnaires. A colorful and imagination-stretching romp through the world of fashion’s finest.

Enable and Empower

Flip FashionLucille Clerc’s Flip Fashion (Laurence King, 2013; Gr 5 Up), a handy spiral-bound lookbook filled with finely detailed illustrations in a muted palette, allows readers to mix and match—and put names to—a variety of now-trending styles. Pages are split into four sections showing designs for head (makeup and hairdo), torso, hips and thighs, and feet; images are presented on the right with a descriptive adjective appearing on the left. Elements can be combined to create ensembles such as a “Sixties” coiffure (piled up with a thin pink ribbon), “Harajuku” blouse (Japanese street fashion accessorized with a Hello Kitty purse), “Rococo” skirt (pale pink flounces galore), and “Hip Hop Girl” footwear (geometric tights and winged high-top sneakers). It’s great fun to flip, configure, and reconfigure and discover what kind of pairings are aesthetically pleasing…and which ones are fashion fiascos (the afore-mentioned look will not be appearing on runways any time soon). Teens can brainstorm and begin to develop and define their sense of personal style and fashion.

How to Draw Like a Fashion DesignerCelia Joicey and Dennis Nothdruft show teens How to Draw Like a Fashion Designer (2013). This accessible book provides “Inspiration” by including interviews with and illustrations by well-known designers such as Zandra Rhodes, Christian Lacroix, and Anna Sui, introducing a variety of visual styles and artistic approaches. Next, drawing basics are covered step-by-step from choosing medium, to sketching a “croquis” (figure shape), to successfully rendering the shapes and details of different items of clothing (design ideas are sprinkled throughout). The final section takes readers through the stages utilized by professionals—the design concept or brief provided by a client, researching and sketching ideas, building a moodboard to nail down theme and approach, and creating a fashion collection. The authors’ How to Draw Vintage Fashion (2014, both Thames & Hudson; Gr 6 Up) begins with a look at trendsetting 20th-century designers and their work, covers how-to-draw basics with a decade-by-decade focus on historical styles (and, occasionally, a black-and-white photo of a back-then model rocking an outfit), and provides tips for researching vintage and designing. Attractively formatted with a retro vibe, both offerings provide clear information and instructions, while emphasizing the importance of practicing skills and sketching constantly to develop and refine ideas.

Studs and PearlsTeens wanting to update and individualize their wardrobes on the cheap can glam up the pieces they already own or can inexpensively acquire with Studs & Pearls (Laurence King, 2014; Gr 9 Up). Kirsten Nunez presents 30 “tutorials” that focus “on the creator’s self-expression,” including remaking a large square scarf into a trendy vest/ waistcoat (it just takes scissors and seam sealant), print-stamping leggings, transforming a knit tube skirt from plain to party-worthy with glitzy trimmings and sophisticated ribbons, assembling chic bracelets out of fabrics (or beads, or chains) and metal pipe couplings, embellishing rubber-soled shoes with decorative furniture nails, and much more. Each easy-to-replicate project is rated for difficulty level, illustrated with full-color photos of finished items, and expanded upon with suggestions to further modify and personalize the basic method. Upbeat and inviting, this clearly written foray into DIY fashion will appeal to crafting beginners as well as those with more expertise.

DIY Fashion Shoot BookAfter assembling their new looks, teens can consult the DIY Fashion Shoot Book (Laurence King, 2014; Gr 9 Up) for tips on creating and photographing cool images. In an enthusiastic and energetic text, Emily Stein and Celia Willis instruct readers on making a moodboard (on paper or online) to pin down and convey ideas, creating storyboards and backdrops, managing a shoot, and editing images. Sections zoom in on the roles of different professionals involved in the process, giving glimpses into the realms of model (“Everyone Is Beautiful”), make-up artist, hair stylist, fashion stylist (responsible for “anything and everything a model wears”), art director, and photographer. Step-by-step projects for teens (such as building a beehive hair-do or constructing dreamy backdrops out of fish wire and construction paper) expand comprehension, provide flavor, and inspire creativity. Other activities suggest broad and fun-to-interpret themes for shoots (e.g., “Cinematik”), ideas for accumulating or making props, and ways to explore self-expression (pinhole cameras). Packed with clear information, colorful photos (mostly artists’ images), and quotes from the fashion famous, the breezy you-can-do-it text encourages kids to spend the time to research and develop their ideas, dream big, and feel free to experiment and make mistakes.

Teen Vogue Hand BookNewly updated, Amy Astley’s The Teen Vogue Hand Book: An Insider’s Guide to Careers in Fashion (Razorbill, 2014; Gr 7 Up) is an essential resource for teens looking to make their way in the fashion world. Sections introduce well-established and newcomers in the fields of fashion design, editorial, digital coverage (blogs, vlogs, and more), styling, modelling, beauty, and photography. Interviews paired with glossy photos cover questions such as how these professionals became interested in their areas of expertise, landed their first jobs, and what they are looking for in an intern or entry level assistant. Covered here are the likes of Marc Jacobs, Alexander Wang, Stella McCartney, Vogue editor-and-chief Anna Wintour, model Karlie Kloss, and many more. Mini profiles of twenty-somethings working in the various fields and descriptions of their day-to-day duties help demystify the jobs and offer a hands-on perspective. Helpful tips for succeeding in a job search appear throughout, and a section providing advice about applying, interviewing, and dressing for internships is appended. The fascinating variety of individuals introduced, the keen insider’s perspective, and the high-quality, glam-infused photos of fashions and behind-the-scenes magic makers make this book both a valuable career tool and fun-to-browse offering.

Publication Information

 ALBRECHTSEN, Nicky. Vintage Fashion Complete. Chronicle. 2014. Tr $85. ISBN 978-1-4521-4021-6.

ASTLEY, Amy. The Teen Vogue Hand Book: An Insider’s Guide to Careers in Fashion. Penguin/Razorbill. 2014. pap. $24.95. ISBN 978-1-59514-261-0.

 BLACK, Alexandra. The Fashion Book. DK. 2014. Tr $15.99. ISBN 978-1-4654-2284-2.

CLERC, Lucille. Flip Fashion. illus by author. Laurence King. 2013. Tr $14.95. ISBN 978-1-85669-923-5.

JOICEY, Celia & Dennis Nothdruft. How to Draw Like a Fashion Designer. 2013. ISBN 978-0-500-65018-9.

_____. How to Draw Vintage Fashion. 2014. ISBN 978-0-500-65037-0.

Ea vol: Thames & Hudson. pap. $19.95.

KEYSER, Amber J. Sneaker Century: A History of Athletic Shoes. Lerner/Twenty-First Century Bks. 2015. PLB $34.65. ISBN 978-1-4677-2640-5.

NUNEZ, Kirsten. Studs & Pearls. Laurence King. 2014. pap. $19.95. ISBN 987-1-78067-369-1.

SELBY, Todd. Fashionable Selby. photos. by author. Abrams. 2014. Tr $35. ISBN 978-1-4197-0861-9.

 

WE ARE PHOTOGIRLS. DIY Fashion Shoot Book. Laurence King. 2014. pap. $17.95. ISBN 978-1-78067-299-1.

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Joy Fleishhacker About Joy Fleishhacker

Joy Fleishhacker is a librarian, former SLJ staffer, and freelance editor and writer who works at the Pikes Peak Library District in southern Colorado.

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Comments

  1. All these fashion tips are really great but I still need a stylist there are some that I don’t understand. Thanks!

  2. I agree the books can be really helpful, but in the end personalized advice is always the best.