Books and Podcasts to Study Fashion

MakersValley Blog | Books and Podcast to Study Fashion
Anna Spaugh

Anna Spaugh

There is a huge amount of information out there on fashion, however, as the internet becomes the world’s primary resource, fashion references are becoming distorted — sourced from a widely distributed yet shallow pool of information, cherry-picked out of context and often misunderstood. If you want to start working in the fashion industry, start your own fashion brand, and/or if you want to prepare for fashion school, there is a lot of information that you will need to study.

Here we have listed eight categories of recommended books, magazines, and podcasts to listen to and study. You won’t have to check out every single one, but these will help you get started, or keep sharp, on fashion.

1. Books on Fashion Design

Fashion Books

When you are looking at the different categories of fashion books, a lot of the authors have written more than one. So if you find a book that you like, look up the author to see if they’ve written about one of the other categories here too.

    • Fashionpedia - The Visual Dictionary of Fashion Design by Fashionary.
    • Fashion by Design by Janice G. Ellinwood.
    • Shoe Design and Fashion - or The American Footware Designer by Louis Kessler.
    • Drawing Fashion Accessories by Steven Thomas Miller.
    • Menswear by John Hopkins.
    • Draw Fashion Now by Danielle Meder.

2. Books on Fashion History

It’s a good idea to read up on historical fashions. While historical designs may not be what you specialize in, it’s good for inspiration and learning about key designers and designs that made an impact on the fashion industry.

    • Fashion Design Directory by Marnie Fogg, Jonathan Saunders.
    • Fashion since 1900 (World of Art) by Calerie Mendes and Amy de la Haye.
    • Human Figure: An Anatomy for Artists by David K. Rubins.
    • Edith Head: The Fifty-Year Career of Hollywood’s Greatest Costume Designer by Jay Jorgensen.
    • The Worldwide History of Dress by Patricia Anawalt.

3. Books on How to Sew

How to Sew

You certainly don’t need to know how to sew to be a fashion designer, but if you're curious and want to know a little bit about how things are put together, these are good books to read:

    • The Art of Manipulating Fabric by Colette Wolff.
    • Couture Sewing Techniques by Claire B. Shaeffer.
    • Draping: The Complete Course by Karolyn Kiisel.
    • Professional Sewing Techniques for Designers by Julie Cole, Sharon Czachor.
    • The Complete Book of Sewing by DK Publishing.

4. Recommended Books on Patternmaking

Patternmaking is taking a design and creating the pattern for it. These are good books to learn about how to make patterns.

    • Pattern Cutting by Dennic Chuman Lo.
    • Patternmaking for Fashion Design by Helen Armstrong.
    • Pattern Magic by Tomoko Nakamichi.
    • Dress Pattern Designing by Natalie Bray.

5. Books on Fabric

Fabrics

Knowing about different types of fabrics and textures will help you understand how to pair things together.

    • Knitwear Design by Carol Brown.
    • Fabric for Fashion: The Swatch Book by Clive Hallett, Amanda Jonhston.
    • Woven Textiles: A Designer’s Guide by Sharon Kearley.
    • Fabric for Fashion: The Complete Guide to Natural and Man-mad Fibers by Clive Hallett, Amanda Johnston.
    • The Fashion Designer’s Textile Directory by Gail Baugh.

6. Books on Color Theory

Learning about color and which colors go well together is a good skill to have to help you with designing garments.

    • Designing with Color: Concepts and Applications by Chris Dorosz, J.R. Watson.
    • Pantone on Fashion: A Century of Color in Design by Leatrice Eiserman, E.P. Cutler, Julien Tomasello.
    • Color Choices: Making Color Sense Out of Color Theory by Stephen Quiller.

7. Fashion Magazines to Read

When you study fashion, it’s a good idea to research fashion from other countries and cultures to better understand forms, trends, and supply chain issues, plus to get inspiration.

    • Vogue US
    • Vogue Paris
    • Vogue Italia
    • Elle UK
    • Elle Spain

8. Fashion Podcasts to Listen to

Podcasts

Podcasts are another way that you can learn about the fashion industry:

    • The Business of Fashion Podcasts
    • Dressed - The History of Fashion
    • Creative Conversations With Suzy Menkes
    • Successful Designer Podcast
    • Blamo Men’s Fashion Podcast
    • The Andrew Coelho Show
    • The Fashion Consumer Podcast
    • Spirit of 608
    • In Vogue
    • Fashion Is Your Business
    • Wear Your Values

Going to museums, or looking at them online, is a good source of information as well. To save some money on books you can see if your local library carries any of them and you can certainly purchase earlier editions as well.

You don’t need to be an expert in all categories, but having a well rounded knowledge in fashion and how everything works will help you be a better designer.

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