Fashion-Academic Books…My Reviews

Ok, so these are once again Audible books. Gone is the feeling of never having any time for a good book- and I’m truly addicted!

Being both a Fashion History, and Fibres & Textiles teacher, you can imagine the thrill of me delving in both these areas combined, in not only One- but TWO books! And the truth of the matter is that you can’t really study any of these two subjects without bringing in the other.

I mean…Can anyone really answer: Which came first; history or textiles?

The two books I’m reviewing here, lean towards readable academic, or educational-type books, in my opinion.  Meaning, if you’re already in the fashion industry, more precisely, into fabrics…then these two books will win your heart.  If not- they are still super interesting but also quite technically detailed.

The Fabric of Civilization by Virginia I. Postrel

Page de couverture de The Fabric of Civilization

This is an absolute treasure for fibres-textile academics and aficionados! Postrel gives us a portrait of textile through the ages, and she literally takes us back to caveman times! That’s as far back as anything can be traced back by putting together the pieces.  This is done through carvings, tools, paintings- anything researchers have been able to collect that can give us an inkling into the daily lives of humans eons ago- up until now. It is through this type of research that after years of putting this book together, Postrel demonstrates how fabric really is within the essence of all that is mankind.  To paraphrase her, ‘fabric is the first thing we come in to contact with as soon as we’re born- as we get wrapped up in a cloth blanket’.  It’s a new way to look at something that we all cannot do without- we need to clothe ourselves daily.  We need to cover ourselves and build and construct.  Fibres are everywhere – they’re a part of us.  A unique and revelatory read about something that we almost always take for granted! Fascinating!

The next book is most certainly one that I recommend to anyone studying fashion with an interest in women’s studies. 

Women’s Work, by Elizabeth Wayland Barber

Page de couverture de Women's Work

This is another book that delves into fibres and textiles but with a particular and important emphasis on the role of women throughout the ages.  A walk through history on how textiles played key roles in women’s lives.  From being a means of communication, a way of earning a living, to running a business ( and this is even before ancient times!) – and the importance of fabric as a currency and status symbol. Women’s Work embodies the history of women intertwined with both fibres and textiles as tools and weapons.  Weaving stories through fibres and yarns; pure storytelling in the most factual sense.  Don’t get me wrong, although this was a pleasure to listen to- the history is real and still very academic.  It gave me so much pleasure though to learn how fabric was such an intricate part of women’s lives from the very beginning.  Historical magic. Loved it!

An important mention here about Audible books– and this is totally NOT sponsored:  I just wanted to say that these lean on the heavy-duty reads…and with such a busy life and a too often tired brain, I’m not sure I could have gotten through these so easily and with so much pleasure.  Being read to has made these extremely enjoyable and easy to digest!  Audible made it way quicker than me reading them the conventional way!

Oh and because I’m such a nerdy book collector- and the fact that I may want to reference some of the images or passages for my students, I got them in paperback as well!

Big Square… I know.

Stay tuned for more Fashion Book Reviews coming your way very soon!

Please leave me our thoughts or suggestions about books you recommend or want me to review!

5 thoughts on “Fashion-Academic Books…My Reviews

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  1. They sound like really interestign books and it’s great you loved them so much you got physical copies too!

    Hope that you are having a great week 🙂

  2. I recently found a beautiful hardcover book on the history of textiles on the sidewalk! It was missing one page, but otherwise in perfect condition!

    I just can’t do audio books – I need books in my hands!

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