10 Fashion Books You Need To Break Into The Industry

The fashion industry is vast, especially for entrepreneurial spirits trying to break in. Do you want to be a designer? Perhaps marketing and public relations are a better niche for you? How about photography or styling? Or maybe you just love fashion, but don’t have a career in mind? It can be overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. If you’re a curious novice eager to break into the fashion industry, here’s a list of must-read fashion books ranging from how-to guides to biographies of the industry’s most lionized personalities.

The Fashion Business Manual: An Illustrated Guide to Building a Fashion Brand by Fashionary

The Fashion Business Manual
The Fashion Business Manual

Published in 2018 by Fashionary, The Fashion Business Manual is an illustrated guide covering all aspects of the fashion industry. The how-to manual walks readers through the entire workflow of running a fashion-oriented brand from conceptualization to retailing. In addition, this is a great, supplementary read especially for students in Fashion Essentials.

Dior by Dior: The Autobiography of Christian Dior by Christian Dior

Dior by Dior: The Autobiography of Christian Dior
Dior by Dior: The Autobiography of Christian Dior

You don’t have to be into fashion to know the name Dior or that it’s synonymous with luxury. Dior revolutionized women’s fashion with “The New Look,” which highlighted womens’ natural silhouettes and curves — considered scandalous in post-World War II Paris. Dior by Dior: The Autobiography of Christian Dior is an invitation by the man himself to take a peek behind the veil into a brand that has been one of fashion’s longest-standing pillars.

If You Have to Cry, Go Outside: And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You by Kelly Cutrone

If You Have to Cry, Go Outside book
If You Have to Cry, Go Outside: And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You

Kelly Cutrone is a fashion publicist who has appeared on MTV’s The Hills and as a judge on America’s Next Top Model. A fashion publicist cultivates relationships with journalists, editors, and influencers to attract media attention for brands and labels. Published through HarperOne in 2010, Cutrone gives no holds barred advice to women attempting to establish their careers in fashion.

Leave Your Mark by Aliza Licht

Leave Your Mark book
Leave Your Mark

Aliza Licht started out on Twitter in 2009 under the moniker DKNY PR Girl. Before “going viral” was a thing, Licht amassed a social media following that launched her career in fashion public relations. Leave Your Mark is Licht’s story of her rise to social media stardom. She gives a backstage glimpse into the prestigious agencies where she’s worked, and a preview of the role social media would play in the future of public relations as the career evolved to keep pace with the digital age.

​​The Teen Vogue Handbook: An Insider’s Guide to Careers in Fashion

​​The Teen Vogue Handbook
​​The Teen Vogue Handbook: An Insider’s Guide to Careers in Fashion

Featuring interviews with fashion royalty such as Marc Jacobs and Karl Lagerfield, ​​The Teen Vogue Handbook is an introduction to the fashion world geared towards teenage readers. The book provides an overview of careers in beauty, designing, editing, modeling, photography, and styling with anecdotes and advice provided by the industry’s leading experts.

The Battle of Versailles: The Night American Fashion Stumbled into the Spotlight and Made History by Robin Givhan

The Battle of Versailles book
The Battle of Versailles: The Night American Fashion Stumbled into the Spotlight and Made History

Pulitzer Prize-winning fashion critic Robin Givhan recounts the events of November 28, 1973. That night, five American designers took to a runway at the Palace of Versailles in France as underdogs and emerged as victors. Readers may not get much insight into fashion as a business, but The Battle of Versailles perfectly captures a moment in the industry’s illustrious history.

The Fashion Designer Survival Guide: Start and Run Your Own Fashion Business by Mary Gehlhar

The Fashion Designer Survival Guide book
The Fashion Designer Survival Guide: Start and Run Your Own Fashion Business

Mary Gehlhar, fashion division director of Gen Art, has helped many young designers as they worked to get their design businesses off the ground. Released in 2008 through Kaplan Publishing, the how-to guide has been modernized and reissued to stay current with fashion trends. A new edition was released in January 2021 with an updated take on the landscape of the fashion business post-pandemic.

Influence by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen

Influence book

Ever wonder what inspired the Olsen twins to abandon their lucrative Hollywood careers for the world of high-end fashion? Influence provides rare insight into the private but brilliant minds behind The Row.

The End of Fashion: How Marketing Changed the Clothing Business Forever by Teri Agins

The End of Fashion book
The End of Fashion: How Marketing Changed the Clothing Business Forever

Wall Street Journal fashion reporter and columnist Teri Agins takes a journalistic lens to the business machine behind fashion and carefully deconstructs how designers have had to scale their genius to meet mass marketing needs in order to stay competitive as big box stores flooded the market.

The Fashion Book by Phaidon Editors  

The Fashion Book
The Fashion Book

An A-Z guide that tours nearly 200 years of fashion history. It’s a definitive collection of every figure who has influenced or impacted the industry, from Coco Chanel to Lady Gaga.

If these books haven’t quite quenched your thirst for knowledge and you want to accelerate your fashion career, check out Yellowbrick’s Fashion Industry Essentials.

8 Game-Changers Addressing Problems in the Fashion Industry

The fashion industry has long been held back by problems like a massive carbon footprint, pollution issues, lack of diversity, unregulated working conditions, and low wages. In an industry where antiquated attitudes continue to hold significant influence, questions still outnumber answers. Can fashion ever reach the level of sustainability it promises? Will controversy always surround fashion’s treatment of its workforce?

In the summer of 2020, racial inequality dominated traditional and social media as protests erupted following the death of George Floyd. The renewed spotlight on social justice revealed that for as global the industry as it is, the decision-makers in fashion aren’t an accurate representation of its consumers. However, with real systemic change lagging, some brands are finding a way to make the most of their platforms to spearhead the change they want to see.  

Boyish Jeans

Where It’s Making a Difference: Cruelty-Free Jeans, Fair Trade, Sustainability

Boyish Jeans, problems in the fashion industry
The Casey by Boyish Jeans, $168

One of the most prominent problems in the fashion industry is its longterm impact on the environment. Boyish Jeans is a women’s denim line based in the United States. Founded by California native Jordan Nodarse, the brand boasts vegan jeans while utilizing recycled materials and recycled water. In addition, their manufacturing process is environmentally friendly and cruelty-free from start to finish. In 2020, Boyish diverted 591 pounds of waste from landfills and reported a carbon footprint of 1,073 metric tons.

The Classic T-Shirt Company 

Where It’s Making a Difference: Fair Trade, Sustainability

Classic T-Shirt, problems in the fashion industry
Curved Hem by The Classic T-Shirt Company, $68

The Classic T-Shirt Company’s founders, Paul and Olga Garibian, have committed to fair treatment of farmers and workers along their supply chain. The fair trade movement emphasizes safe working conditions, livable wages, community development, and respect for local culture. Sustainably made in the United States using organically sourced cotton, The Classic T-Shirt Company guarantees high quality t-shirts made ethically with a reduced carbon footprint. They also combat pollution industries by donating a portion of profits to safe water and ocean clean-up charities.

Clothes Without Limits

Where It’s Making a Difference: Gender Fluid Clothing, Inclusivity 

Tyrannosaurus Rex T, problems in the fashion industry
Tyrannosaurus Rex T-Shirt by Jack and Jill Kids, $18.61

Who says little boys can’t wear pink? Or that little girls can’t like t-shirts with race cars on them? Certainly not Clothing Without Limits. Ten small businesses lead the campaign to alter the mindset that kids’ clothing has to be gender-specific. More importantly, Clothing Without Limits wants to show kids that they’re not confined to a single category or idea. “Kids, boys, and girls, are sent a message when they walk through clothing stores or when they see what other kids are wearing, and we think that by all of us doing our part, we can change that message and give kids more options,” explained Rebecca Melsky, co-founder of Princess Awesome and one of the businesses behind Clothing Without Limits.

Fashion Revolution

Where It’s Making a Difference: Fair Trade, Workers’ Rights

problems in the fashion industry
Fashion Revolution

In 2013, Rana Plaza collapsed in the Dhaka District of Bangladesh. The eight-story commercial property housed several garment factories. There were reports of cracks in the building’s foundation in the days leading up to the collapse. Yet, workers were ordered to continue to report to work. The structural failure claimed 1,134 lives and left an additional 2,500 people injured. In the tragedy’s wake, ​​Carry Somers and Orsola de Castro founded Fashion Revolution. The movement is securing livable wages and working conditions for workers worldwide. They hold events each year on the anniversary of the collapse, and their hashtag #WhoMadeMyClothes has forced fashion brands to be more transparent about their labor force.

Aaron Rose Phillip 

Where They’re Making a Difference: Anti-Ableism, Inclusivity, Trans Visibility 

Aaron Rose Philip, problems in the fashion industry
Aaron Rose Philip

In 2018, Elite Modeling Agency signed Aaron Rose Philip, making her the first black, transgender, and physically disabled model represented by a major agency. Phillip has pushed fashion into the 21st century, demanding the industry reflect the world around her. “I realized there’s no one I see on TV or online or in fashion, on the stage that I love, looking like me. And I knew that was a problem because I knew inherently, there was nothing wrong with me,” she said in an interview with Paper. Since her signing, she’s been featured in Dove, Nike, and Sephora campaigns and has been photographed for Allure, Elle, i-D, Paper, Vogue, and other high-profile fashion magazines.


Where It’s Making a Difference: Sustainability

The Point by Rothy’s, $145

Founded in 2012 by Stephen Hawthornthwaite and Roth Martin, Rothy’s specializes in using recycled materials. Their core thread — used in all of their products — is made from single-use water bottles to limit environmental impact. In addition, all of their products are machine washable and designed for maximum durability.

Savage X Fenty

Where It’s Making a Difference: Body Positivity, Inclusivity 

Savage X Fenty
Forever Savage Onesie by Savage X Fenty, $94.95

Rihanna isn’t the first musician to venture into the world of fashion. However, her Savage X Fenty lingerie brand has set itself apart when it comes to diversity and inclusion. “We don’t believe in division. We do not believe in excluding anyone,” Rihanna explained ahead of The Savage X Fenty Show Volume 2. Whether it’s new product launches or fashion shows, Savage X Fenty has made it a point to include models across the full spectrum of color, size, and ability. 

Stephanie Yeboah

Where They’re Making a Difference: Body Positivity

Stephanie Yeboah
Stephanie Yeboah

South-London-based author and public speaker Stephanie Yeboah has emerged as a staunch voice in self-love advocacy. Her debut book, Fattily Ever After: A Black Fat Girl’s Guide to Living Life Unapologetically, analyzes the race and gender constraints of the body positivity movement. It’s a refreshing exploration of how black, plus-sized women are still falling victim to the misogynoir ideals that are deeply rooted in mainstream beauty standards.

For more information about problems in the fashion industry and how to be a force for change, sign up for our newsletter or head over to Yellowbrick’s Fashion Industry Essentials.

Top 10 TikTok Fashion Trends of 2021

Ever look through your closet and feel like you don’t know what to wear? Or do you want to revamp your wardrobe but don’t know where to start? Look no further than TikTok. Videos with the #fashiontrends2021 hashtag have racked up 835.5 million views to date. The popular app is all the inspiration needed for obsessed fashionistas and casual buyers alike. 

This level of accessibility has made TikTok a marketing goldmine for fashion brands and creates opportunities for content creators or future fashion entrepreneurs. Labels are partnering with influencers to reach a broader audience and turn viral moments into increased sales. Stylists are enhancing their portfolios through short-form videos. And content creators have become style personas and trend forecasters. Before we bid 2021 goodbye, revisit the most popular fashion trends on TikTok this year.

Oversized Blazers 

Create a cost-effective but stylish closet by mixing and matching different pieces of clothing to maximize your wardrobe. For example, the oversized blazer is multipurpose and can be worn to dress up a basic t-shirt and jeans or add some comfort to a more proper fit. 

Check Out This TikTok by rose.friederike


Style tip ♥️ #styletip #oversizedblazer #style #fashion #blazer #stylebikeshorts #whattowear #tuktokfashion #fyp

♬ Originalton – ROSE


It has been said that fashion trends tend to repeat every few years. For example, Tie-dye first peaked in the 1960s, but the eye-catching print took over casual fashion in 2021. The rise in popularity can be attributed to TikTok stars Addison Rae and Charli D’Amelio, who have a knack for tie-dye sweatsuits. It’s also an affordable wardrobe option since it’s DIY-friendly.

Check Out This TikTok by emmarubinsonofficial


ice dyeing! #tiedye #hacks #howto #fashiontips

♬ Gone – Charli XCX & Christine And The Queens


Over the summer, cutouts took over TikTok. From turtle necks to leather pants, the risqué fashion choice is a fun way to play around with your look. Designers like Christian Siriano and Prabal Gurung noted cutouts featured during runway shows this past fall. 

Check Out This TikTok by alinelowry


Elegant vibes in Miami #elegantstyle #miamilifestyle #revolveme #highwaistpants #casualchic #cutoutfashion

♬ Listen To Me Now – nghigiango

White Air Force 1s

The Air Force 1 has a lot of imitators and knock-offs, but Nike’s classic silhouette stands above the rest. Although the sneaker has been in production since 1982, they’re a favorite among Gen-Zers and TikTok fashion influencers due to their versatility. So whether you’re rocking tie-dye joggers or a floral print dress, you can top off your look with a pair of Air Force 1s.

Check Out This TikTok by vvictornguyen


Reply to @_iemjie what do you guys want next‼️follow me on insta for some fit pics‼️✨#fyp #fashion

♬ She Make It Clap – Soulja Boy

Puffer Coats

The puffer coat has been around for a while, but it experienced a renaissance in 2021. TikTok embraced the cold-weather coat for its flexibility. As a result, you can pair a neutrally toned puffer with just about anything in your closet and be comfortable. Perhaps that’s why Kanye West decided to make the item the focal point of his Yeezy Gap collection.

Check Out This TikTok by sonnyyyxo


styling a puffer jacket<3 #fashioninspo #outfitinspo #howto #tiktokfashion #fyp

♬ Classic – MKTO

Pleated Skirts and Tennis Skirts

Y2K fashion was a significant trend on TikTok this year. Styles from the 1990s and early 2000s re-emerged this year, albeit with a more contemporary spin. Pleated skirts and tennis skirts were part of a preppy look first popularized by Clueless in 1995 and later made iconic by Britney Spears. But in 2021, a leather jacket or a hoodie can be worn for an edgier vibe.

Check Out This TikTok by aestheticfashion19


how to style a tennis skirt!🤍 @ambria19 #tennisskirt #styling #ootd #fashiontok #style #fashion #viral #xyzbca #winterfashion #fyp #foryou #snowstorm

♬ stayin alive x poouussyy talk – Lilli


It feels like the cottagecore aesthetic came out of nowhere towards the end of 2020. Instead, the trend popped up on feeds on every social media platform seemingly overnight. Cottagecore, influenced by rural and farm lifestyles, has continued to influence fashion in 2021. The style is marked by knit cardigans, lace gowns, and peasant dresses. 

Check Out This TikTok by labelswithlattes


Obsessed with this aesthetic🍄 #cottagecore #cottagecorestyle #getthelook #letmestyleyou #tiktokfashion #fashioninspo #styleideas #winterfits

♬ Buttercup – Jullian & Sophie Wood

Bucket Hats

The bucket hat was another sign of the influence of Y2K fashion in 2021. Bucket hats were staples of hip-hop fashion during the 1990s. Since then, they have fallen in and out of favor with fashion lovers. This year, they’ve cycled back with the #PradaBucketChallenge garnering more than 1.6 billion views on TikTok.

Check Out This TikTok by saviragunawan


Look 1/2/3 ? 🖤🔥 What NEXT? 💖 Bucket hat from @tokopedia , link no 38 #fyp #TokopediaHaul #howtostyle #tiktokindonesia #fypシ #style #ideas

♬ Simple Dimple – ||all american tick tokers||

Oversized Hoodies and Sweatshirts

The oversized look has long been a favorite for Gen Zers, and this year was no exception. Hoodies and sweatshirts are especially loved for their functionality and comfort. You can wear graphic patterns or block neutral tones and style an oversized sweatshirt in dozens of ways. The simplicity of hoodies and sweatshirts makes them necessary for any fashion rotation.

Check Out This TikTok by zalando


this until the sun decides to come out again 🥲 @kieu4nh_ #oversizedhoodie

♬ original sound – Zalando

Shaped Purses

Unique purses were must-have accessories in 2021. TikTokers livened up their outfits with whimsical purses and clutches. The fun accessories frequently trended on the app, from DIY basketball purses to Kate Spade’s popular heart-shaped crossbody bag.

Check Out This TikTok by shawnicolee


Wanted a basketball purse!!! So I made it! #diy #sewersoftiktok #diyproject #nomoreparties #tranformatiochallenge

♬ No More Parties – Coi Leray

For more information on careers in fashion, check out our Fashion Careers hub to explore opportunities in the industry.

Building a Visual Identity for Your Brand

Building a visual identity is an essential part of defining your brand. It is how consumers differentiate your brand from competitors. Many components go into visual identity, including logo design and color selection. Fashion Business Essentials contributor Joshua Williams takes us through building visual identity and how it engages a customer base and communicates your brand’s story.

Watch the full video to learn about:

  • Why branding is important to success
  • Creating a logo that reflects your brand
  • The building blocks of visual identity
  • What you should do if your branding doesn’t fit your vision

Why Visual Identity is Important

You have to establish a brand identity. A visual identity makes an impact and encapsulates your brand ideas. Fashion is based on how we see; it’s a visual medium. Therefore, your logo or icon says a lot about who you are as a brand.

A good example of strong visual branding would be Supreme. They’re known for their products and how they sell them, but a key to that success is that everybody knows their logo. As a result, logos have become a powerful way of selling products.

One of the most well-known logos is the Louis Vuitton “LV” logo. What’s interesting about the Louis Vuitton logo is that the founder of Vuitton created the “LV” to protect the bag. He realized that if they put that mark all over the bag, nobody else could copy it.

Don’t Limit Yourself

There are a few things in fashion that you can protect legally from litigation and tax issues, but branding is one of them. You start with your mission, your vision, and your values. Then you have your logo and brand colors. With all of these things combined, you have your brand’s building blocks.

Remember that brands are constantly growing and changing. Most people don’t notice this because their changes are so subtle, but even Coca-Cola changes its logo all the time. Your branding should represent your business at that particular moment. It can always morph and change as your brand grows. Innovation comes when you’re breaking the initial rules of your fashion business. It’s important to know that you don’t have to nail it the first time.

Fashion branding is more than just a logo and your mission, vision, and values. But these things are the foundation of your business.

Interested in learning about all fashion branding? Check out the Fashion Business Essentials online course featuring Parsons School of Design and WWD.