The 33 Best Books Fashion People Read in 2022

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Between the covers of any good book are pages that transport and enrich the mind of its reader. In 2022, leaders in the fashion industry turned to various texts to inspire their upcoming collections, deepen the knowledge behind their curations and find personal liberty within their identity.

Major book releases swept the fashion community this year, like Editor-in-Chief of British Vogue’s Edward Enninful’s memoir, “A Visible Man,” in September. Other books like Safia Minney’s made an urgent call to regenerative fashion and a closer look at today’s fashion system. 

Across the fashion, leaders and experts like The Museum at FIT Director Valerie Steele and Business of Fashion Senior Correspondent Sheena Butler-Young reflected on their reading this in 2022. Favorite books span topics, eras in time, country in focus and connections to fashion.

See below for the 34 favorite fashion books that leaders in the industry read in 2022.

Jacques de Bascher: Dandy de l’ombre by Marie Ottavi, $24, available here

Jacques de Bascher Dandy de l'ombre, by Marie Ottavi

“A page-turner about Karl Lagerfeld’s great love, a decadent dandy of the 1970s, this has been an essential source for all the recent books about Lagerfeld, including Ottavi’s own biography, ‘Karl.'” — Valerie Steele, Director and Chief Curator of The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology

Trendy, sexy et inconscient: Regards d’une psychanalyste sur la mode by Pascale Navarri, $21, available here

Trendy, sexy et inconscient Regards d'une psychanalyste sur la mode by Pascale Navarri

“I’m working on a book about fashion and psychoanalysis, so I read with great interest this book by a French psychoanalyst exploring the unconscious aspects of contemporary fashion.” — Steele

Pretty Gentlemen: Macaroni Men and the Eighteenth-Century Fashion World by Peter McNeil, $52, available here

Pretty Gentlemen

“A brilliant account of a controversial moment in men’s self-fashioning.” — Steele.

Black Futures by Kimberly Drew and Jenna Wortham, $40, available here

Black Futures

Black Futures, by Kimberly Drew and Jenna Wortham, and The New Black Vanguard, by Antwaun Sargent, are my top reads for 2022. The authors are true visionaries. I was inspired by them while working on my memoir, Wildflower. I have always had a desire to forge a new creative path, and I hope to lift up others through my own personal journey.” — Aurora James, creative director and founder of Brother Vellies, founder of the Fifteen Percent Pledge, author of “Wildflower

The Colors of Sies Marjan by Sander Lak, $65, available here

The Colors of Sies Marjan

“I treasure my little collection of fashion monographs, and my new favorite is this book on the much-mourned label Sies Marjan. Designer Sander Lak is a virtuoso when it comes to color, and I love the way he organized everything by hue. Paging through this felt like a first-class flight straight into his genius brain.” — Véronique Hyland, Fashion Features Director at Elle, author of “Dress Code

What Shall I Wear? by Claire McCardell, $24, available here

What Shall I Wear

“This was a very kind gift from Tory Burch, who wrote the excellent foreword to this reissued version. Claire McCardell’s 1956 answer to the eternal question is very much of its time, but also feels relevant today. She maintains that fashion should be fun, and the same sense of ease that she brought to her designs is evident in her prose.” — Hyland

Street Unicorns by Robbie Quinn, $30, available here

Street Unicorns

“This book is a daily reminder to myself to never ever compromise or conform on the things that really matter to me. Quinn’s photography of interesting people taking bold fashion risks is inspiring from a style and dressing standpoint, but also as a powerful statement against racism, ageism and homophobia. There should be no limits on beauty, style and self-expression. Quinn’s work is an apt assertion that fashion is at its best when it serves as a vehicle of change, not an endorser of status quo.” — Sheena Butler-Young, senior correspondent at Business of Fashion

Token Black Girl: A Memoir by Danielle Prescod, $25, available here

Token Black Girl

“I can’t think of one Black woman I know — in fashion or elsewhere — who hasn’t felt like 15-year-old Prescod flipping through the pages of glossy magazines in the ’90s and early aughts, seeing beauty defined as everything we’re not. Through the lens of Prescod’s life story, it powerfully unpacks the reverberating negative consequences of white supremacy in media, while gently reminding us of the power we have to recover from and reject ideologies that harm us. This book is much-needed wink — an ‘I see you, girl’ — to Black women, but it’s also a must-read for all women, period.” — Butler-Young

Africa: The Fashion Continent by Emmanuelle Courrèges, $65, available here

Africa The Fashion Continent

“The more I scratch the surface of diversity, equity and inclusion issues in fashion, the more I uncover about the inherent biases we all have about beauty, style and influence. The title of this book alone disrupts long-held assumptions about who or what gets to define fashion. Courrèges takes the reader on a journey of discovery where you get to meet all of these amazing African designers, artisans, boutique owners and stylists whose work push the boundaries of innovation and craftsmanship. It features vibrant, awe-inspiring images of people adorning colors, prints, fabrics and patterns (Xhosa beaded embroidery, for example) and body artists using their vessels to advocate for change, hair tousled and contorted in fascinating and expressive fashion, street style that’s inherently environmentally conscious. It’s a true homage to a forgotten part of fashion’s roots.” — Butler-Young

Celebrate That!: Occasions by Kate Spade New York, $35, available here

Celebrate That

“My ultimate — feminine, witty and whimsical — guide to planning a celebration however big or small. As an editor working in New York City, I’m constantly surrounded by big moments: cover stories, splashy fashion week shows, star-studded events. It feels like my friends always expect me to deliver something comparable when I host. This book has fun, thoughtful recipes and tips, like how to make a ginger mojito or plan a unique fundraiser for my son’s school, that make me seem way cooler and fashion-y of a host than I am. It also doubles as a self-help guide with cute reminders to celebrate moments — like making your bed, getting through a tough conversation or not spilling your coffee on a fancy coat — that we take for granted each day.” — Butler-Young

Karl Lagerfeld Unseen: The Chanel Years by Robert Fairer, $85, available here

Karl Lagerfeld Unseen

“Written by photographer Richard Fairer — whose previous work SCAD FASH highlighted in our exhibition entitled “Robert Fairer: Backstage Pass — Karl Lagerfeld: Unseen captures amazing access to one of fashion’s most iconic and fascinating figures. Through his behind-the-scenes images, Fairer provides a unique perspective that fashion fans dream of seeing!” — Rafael Gomes, creative director of SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film

The Blonds: Glamour, Fashion, Fantasy by David And Phillipe Blond, $65, available here

The Blonds

“In The Blonds, David and Phillipe highlight their 20 years in the fashion business through images and bold, elaborate creations. Blurbs from The Blonds and their star-studded clientele offer readers unique insights and inspirations behind their collections and collaborations.” — Gomes

Ring Redux: The Susan Grant Lewin Collection by Ursula Ilse-Neuman, $39, available here

Ring Redux The Susan Grant Lewin Collection by Ursula Ilse-Neuman

“Corresponding with a recent a SCAD Museum of Art (Savannah) exhibition, Ring Redux reexamines the traditional image of the ring as not just jewelry, but a contemporary art form, finding inspiration in the modern and sculpturally reimagined rings in the Susan Grant Lewin collection.” — Gomes

Embodying Pasolini by Tilda Swinton and Olivier Saillard, $75, available here

Embodying Pasolini

“Commemorating their fourth collaboration, Embodying Pasolini is Tilda Swinton and Olivier Saillard’s ode to Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini. By presenting costumes from Pasolini’s film, Swinton and Saillard pay homage to one of the most important names in Italian cinema, sharing his work with hopefully a new generation interested in the convergence of fashion and film.” — Gomes

Regenerative Fashion by Safia Minney, $40, available here

regenerative fashion by safia minney

“This compact sustainability handbook from social entrepreneur Safia Minney features interviews with more than 30 industry insiders, like Chloé Chief Sustainability Director Aude Vergne and Daniel Windaier, the CEO and Founder of Bolt Threads, a biotech company that’s partnering with brands like Stella McCartney to put mycelium leather bags ‘grown’ from fungi spores on the runway. It gave me fresh hope about the ways the fashion industry can lower its carbon footprint and actually improve the environment if creative people put their heads together.” — Alison Cohn, deputy fashion news editor at Harper’s BAZAAR

The Fendi Set: From Bloomsbury to Borghese by Kim Jones, $135, available here

The Fendi Set

“I’m an English lit nerd at heart, so there’s something really delightful about this photo essay, which features portraits of Kim Jones’ friends — like Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, and Bella Hadid — channeling the spirit of Bloomsbury, the 20th century community of British writers, intellectuals and artists that included Virginia Woolf, Vita Sackville-West and Vanessa Bell, dressed in looks from the Fendi artistic director’s first couture collection. There are also excerpts from diary entries and correspondence and snippets of Woolf’s Orlando.” — Cohn

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Yves Saint Laurent at Home by Jacques Grange, $95, available here

Yves Saint Laurent at Home

“Designers are storytellers who creating entire worlds through clothing, but we don’t often get to experience their personal environs. This book offers an intimate view into Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé’s beautiful homes in Paris, Deauville and Marrakech, showing how their deep appreciation for art and design informed Saint Laurent’s work in fashion.” — Cohn

Rebel Stylist: Caroline Baker — The Woman Who Invented Street Fashion by Iain R. Webb, $50, available here

Rebel Stylist

“British stylist Caroline Baker worked with just about every magazine (Nova, British Vogue, i-D, The Face) and just about every photographer (Helmut Newton, Hans Feurer, Guy Bourdin, Sarah Moon) while also collaborating with Vivienne Westwood; that was an inspired pairing, because she’s just as original and maverick as the brilliant Westwood. As a stylist, Baker riffed on vintage, army surplus, thrift, recycling and punk at a time when everyone else was still in the thrall of the news out of Paris. What makes this book a must-read? Author Iain R. Webb is a friend of Baker’s, so this is the inside story of a woman whose work is a masterclass in the art of style and subversion.” — Mark Holgate, fashion news director at Vogue

Living in Denial: Climate Change, Emotions and Everyday Life by Kari Marie Norgaard, $36, available here

Living in Denial

“This Norwegian author interviews the inhabitants of a ski town in Norway about how they’re coping with climate change and why our modern culture at large is so disconnected from the environment. It illustrates how we, individually and culturally, must reconnect with our emotions and grief around climate collapse and environmental loss in order to get activated to make radical changes in our society. I think this is especially true in fashion, where overproduction and overconsumption is predicated on deliberate disassociation from our bodies and the Earth.” — Becca McCharen-Tran, Founder and Creative Director of Chromat

My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies by Resmaa Menakem, $18, available here


“This feels like it should be required reading for every white person in fashion who believes in the importance of inclusion and diversity. It illustrates through somatic exercises how racial trauma lives in white and Black bodies, and offers ways forward to a place of healing. There’s so much healing we need to do in fashion when it comes to racial trauma, not only through ensuring more diverse casting or hiring, or how we perceive race in the fashion industry, but really attuning to the physical sensations in our body when we feel excluded or included, how it constricts or expands when we feel truly safe. We all have a responsibility to make the fashion industry a safe and welcoming place, and this book offers really tangible ways in which we can start that healing in our own bodies.” — McCharen-Tran

Shy: The Alarmingly Outspoken Memoirs of Mary Rodgers by Mary Rodgers and Jesse Green, $20, available here


“‘It’s not about the dress you wear,’ Diana Vreeland once quipped. ‘It’s about the life you lead in the dress.’ Well, then, the best-dressed woman I’ve read about all year is not a traditional fashion plate, but the late, great Mary Rodgers, the daughter of Richard Rodgers, who went on to compose the music for the unsinkable ‘Once Upon a Mattress,’ write the novel ‘Freaky Friday’ and lead ten other creative lives. Her memoir, co-authored with New York Times critic Jesse Green and published eight years after her death, is exhilarating, funny, dishy, heartbreaking and the most enjoyable book you’ll read all year. Did I mention funny? Show me one other fashion book that made you laugh.” — Erik Maza, executive style director at Town & Country

A Left-Handed Woman: Essays by Judith Thurman, $32, available here

A Left Handed Woman

“Judith Thurman’s Two For One, her 2008 profile of the Cuban designer Isabel Toledo and her husband, the artist and illustrator Ruben Toledo, is just one reason why her new collection of essays, A Left-Handed Woman, gets my vote for the best fashion read of the year. Isabel died in 2019 — Ruben continues to make incredible work, including a recent cover of T&C — but nearly 15 years after its publication, Thurman’s profile remains one of the most considerate ever published about a designer, as well as a poignant portrait of creative partnership.” — Maza

Selbstverständlich: a Century in Fashion by Akris, $88, available here


“A murderer’s row of fashion journalists contributed to a monograph to mark the centennial of the Swiss label Akris.” — Maza

Prêt-à-Porter, Paris and Women by Alexis Romano, $38, available here

Pret a Porter

“French ready-to-wear fashion has been woefully understudied until now. Romano communicates its history through an analysis of photographs from Elle and other popular magazines; the rich selection makes this book as visually compelling as it is informative.” — Colleen Hill, curator of costume and accessories at the Museum at FIT

A Visible Man by Edward Enninful, $30, available here


“I’m fascinated by the minds of highly creative people, and I was gripped by Enninful’s memoir from its first few sentences. I devoured this honest, captivating account of his life and career.” — Hill

In America: a Lexicon of Fashion by Andrew Bolton and Amanda Garfinkel, $50, available here

In America

“This book contains over a hundred garments that were on display for both rotations of this exhibition highlighting pioneers in American fashion, as well as emerging young designers. It’s a beautifully-designed publication, as well as a substantial fashion reference book, including full length images and detailed shots of the garment. Any reader interested in fashion history will also appreciate the text that accompanies each object.” — Julie T. Lê, associate museum librarian at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute

Nadine Ijewere: Our Own Selves by Lynette Nylander and Nadine Ijewere, $55, available here

Our Own Selves

“Our library at the Costume Institute has hundreds of books on male photographers who have dominated the fashion world from the beginning, so it’s wonderful to see the work of a female BIPOC artist highlighted in book form for future generations to be inspired by. This monograph celebrates the work of fashion photographer Nadine Ijewere, who made history as the first Black woman of Jamaican-Nigerian descent to photograph a cover of American Vogue in 2021. Along with her fashion editorial work is a personal series called ‘Tallawah’ (which means strong and fearless), a project she worked on in 2020 in collaboration with hair stylist Jawara Wauchope celebrating the beauty and strength of Jamaican women and their unique hair culture.” — Lê

A Time Before Crack: Photographs from the 1980s by Jamel Shabazz, $40, available here

A Time Before Crack

“I heart New York, and Jamel Shabazz is one of my favorite photographers who documented hip hop culture and fashion in the streets of NYC from the mid-70s to the 90s. For this publication, he revisited his photographic archive and rediscovered a treasure trove of unseen images that reveals a new nostalgic visual diary of life in New York and the street style of those people he connected with throughout his career.” — Lê

Really Free: the Radical Art of Nellie Mae Rowe by Nellie Mae Rowe, $50, available here

Really Free

“Finding this artist has opened my creative side again. It has really been wonderful to read about her life, see and feel her art. She should be given a medal.” — Peter Jensen, fashion professor at SCAD, designer of Yours Truly by Peter Jensen

Fashioning the Afropolis: Histories, Materialities and Aesthetic Practices by Kristin Kastner, Reina Lewis and Basile Ndjio, $132, available here

Fashioning the Afropolis

“So few books focus on the influential and visually stunning fashion culture of the African continent. I love this book for its mix of scholarly study and rich visuals. It helps push past stereotypes we hold in the west on what African fashion is.” — Elizabeth Way, Associate Curator of Costume at the Museum at FIT

Africa Fashion by Christine Checinska, $45, available here

Africa Fashion

“This is another important book that illuminates the multifaceted creativity of fashion on the content. Africa Fashion accompanies an exhibition at the V&A in London. For those who can’t travel, the book immerses you in the gorgeous fashions on display and the designers’ histories and inspirations.” — Way 

Fabric: the Hidden History of the Material World by Victoria Finlay, $20, available here


“A rich and complex journey around the world geographically and historically, Fabric delves deeply into the techniques and natural (all things originally come from nature) origins that make up the fabrics of our sartorial lives. We found, not surprisingly, the chapters on wool and silk to be the most extraordinary and compelling — think of both the intense manual and technical precision that’s entailed in the conjuring of these magnificent fabrics: From sheep to wool, to international trade, to the extreme yet massively different functionality of both these fabrics, the story is fascinating. To this day, both fabrics are essential to our luxury design vision, as expressed and used in each collection.” — Jesse Keyes, co-founder and director of KZ_K Studio

Barcelona 1980-1992: City and Architecture by Oriol Bohigas, Peter Buchanan and Vittorio Magnago Lampugnani, $20, available here


“Concepts, such as ‘Urban Hedonism’ and ‘Benign Metastasis’ and a ‘Ramblers’ Society’ are detailed is this compelling narrative of how small, but thoughtful spatial changes throughout an urban environment can make tremendous improvements to public cohesion and community development. We have now found ways to transition these humanist, even universal, ideas of design into the capsules that make up the whole of our next collection.” — Keyes

Please note: Occasionally, we use affiliate links on our site. This in no way affects our editorial decision-making. Some quotes have been edited for length and clarity.

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