The key to succeeding in the fashion industry is knowing your history. It is by knowing what style ancestors wore before that helps today’s African American designers and stylist in raising the style bar, especially in the digital age. Today, it is imperative that those clamoring for a seat at the creative director’s table— whether creating for your own brands or designing for an international label—understands the concepts and strategy that go into creating a timeless fashion heirloom.
Check out three books that are must-reads for the current climate of the fashion industry. Prepare to be inspired and possibly revamp your entire wardrobe.
Vintage Black Glamour curated by Nichelle Gainer started out as a tumblr page dedicated to showcasing the glamorous style of some of old Hollywood’s most revered African American actors, writers, models and dancers. What followed was a huge social media following that devoured the rare photographs and landed Gainer a publishing deal. Some highlight images include Supermodels Beverly Johnson and Donyale Luna and singers Lena Horne getting her portrait done by the late choreographer and dancer Geoffrey Holder.
Michael McCollom’s The Way We Wore chronicles black style beginning in the 1940’s through the present. The book will bring out the inner stylist in everyone – showing that style is truly subjective and personal. Not only does McCollom showcase his roster of celeb friends like fashionista Audrey Smaltz and media mogul Oprah Winfrey – The book also showcases intimate images showing the varied style of his family members.
Design consultant Andre Walker re-imagined what an artist reference book could be. London born Walker has consulted with major brands like Louis Vuitton and Alfred Dunhill – his current collection ‘AndReWalker’ can be found at the infamous Dover Street Market store. TIWIMUTA serves as a coffee table book and reference point for aspiring creatives across any artistic medium. With interviews with model Chanel Iman’s mother China Robinson and tongue in cheek photoshoots with Marc Jacobs photographed by Jean Paul Goude TIWIMUTA is a book you’ll come to again and again.