The 1MOQ Syllabus

10 Books Every Fashion Person Should Read (Part 2)

Key Takeaways

  1. This is 1MOQ's very own syllabus (now at its second edition): a list in non-hierarchical order of books related to fashion in any possible way, selected for you by yours truly, the editor of 1MOQ.
  2. You can judge a book by its cover! And you can judge a book by its style. After all, what it matters is: not every "fashion book" must be about fashion. Style is everywhere in literature, and you can learn from it.
  3. Buy books, read books, keep books, re-read books—and again! This is what fashion education means.

Welcome to the second iteration of the 1MOQ Syllabus, a list in non-hierarchical order of books related to fashion in any possible way, selected for you by yours truly, the editor of 1MOQ. This list doesn’t aim at being over-encompassing, nor does it claim to be exactly right. These are titles that are fashion-adjacent, rather than fashion-centered—a quality that I have always appreciated in literature. Whether you are a designer, a stylist, an editor, or a buyer, if you wish to succeed in the fashion business, you need to learn things the hard way: reading. So let’s get to it, and be ready to DM your trusted bookshop to find any of these amazing suggestions.

Charlie Porter, What Artists Wear
This new book by fashion critic Charlie Porter takes us on an invigorating, eye-opening journey through the iconic outfits worn by artists, in the studio, on stage, at work, at home and at play. The book offers unprecedented access to multiple artists’ approaches to fashion and clothes—consisting in the definitive style guide for the 2020s art world.

Tom Wolfe, Radical Chic
Iconic book! This 114-page little volume is one of the greatest accomplishments in style writing since the early days. Since the essay was first published in the New York magazine in 1970, the phrase "radical chic" has entered into the political and cultural lexicon to describe the adoption of radical or quasi-radical causes (and dress code) by members of the wealthy high-society and celebrity class.

Jeppe Ugelvig, Fashion Work: 25 Years of Art in Fashion
A must-have for the art-adjacent fashion stan, this volume by critic and curator Jeppe Ugelvig recounts a little-explored near-history of art/fashion hybridity through the genre-defying practices of Bernadette Corporation, Susan Cianciolo, BLESS and DIS, exploring their experimental approaches to fashion production between the art and fashion worlds in a time of radical societal change.

Dana Thomas, Fashionopolis: The Price of Fast Fashion and the Future of Clothes
We talk about the death of fast fashion all the time, now it’s time to read Dana Thomas’s eye-opening exposé on an industry churning out 80 billion garments a year and employing every sixth person on Earth. From small-town makers and Silicon Valley whizzes to such household names as Stella McCartney, Levi’s, and Rent the Runway, Thomas highlights the companies big and small that are leading the crusade.

Rachel Kushner, The Hard Crowd: Essays 2000-2020
In nineteen razor-sharp essays, The Hard Crowd spans literary journalism, memoir, cultural criticism, and writing about art and literature, including pieces on Jeff Koons, Denis Johnson, and Marguerite Duras. Not a “fashion book” in the strictest sense, Kushner’s collection of essays dissects contemporary culture (and counterculture) with a witty, electric take on society. Must-read!

Bernadette Corporation, 2000 Wasted Years
2000 Wasted Years
is the first monograph on the work of Bernadette Corporation, the New York-based collective founded in the early 1990s. The book extends from their retrospective exhibition of the same name held at Artists Space in 2012, constituting a further site to reframe the Corporation's activities and identity of the past 20 years. A primer for the neoliberal, late-capitalist image economy.

Tina Brown, The Vanity Fair Diaries
Autobiography time! If you ever wonder how a media powerhouse works, this book will tell you everything about the inside stories of Vanity Fair scoops and covers that sold millions: the Reagan kiss, the meltdown of Princess Diana's marriage to Prince Charles, the sensational Annie Leibovitz cover of a gloriously pregnant, naked Demi Moore. Major industry literature! Why not.

Joan Didion, The White Album
100% not a fashion book, but a book by a fashion icon. Many of you will probably know this title already, but it’s always good to bring it up anytime with no particular reason. This genre-defining collection of essays is the reason why today we have good standards in cultural criticism—a pioneering writing style at the time Didion was writing. This book is a metaphor for 1960s culture and style. Read it now if you haven’t already.

Pieter Van Bogaert, Christophe Coppens, Martine Zoeteman (Eds.), Eternal Erasure—On Fashion Matters
Theory-intensive—as we like it! This book is a crash course in contemporary fashion theory and design. Edited in collaboration with the master’s program Fashion Matters at the Sandberg Instituut (Amsterdam), this book looks at possible answers to deal with an ever-changing world and come up with innovative ways of designing, producing, promoting, financing, selling, and eventually consuming. 

Julie Bradford, Fashion Journalism
With its second edition recently published, this comprehensive overview on fashion journalism is an amazing resource for everyone trying to make it in the fashion media industry, and beyond. Featuring many case studies and interviews with fashion journalists working for newspapers, magazines, broadcasting, and websites, as well as with stylists, PR executives, photographers, and bloggers, this book offers highly specialized know-how on the status, practices, and values of journalism worldwide.