Teri Agins has covered the fashion business at The Wall Street Journal for ten years and lives in New York City. This is her first book.
The End of Fashion
: The Mass Marketing of the Clothing Business Forever
Fashion is a multibillion-dollar international business; it permeates our lives and our economies. Yet there has never been a book of solid, hard-hitting, uncompromising business/cultural/social journalism on this subject--because the fashion press is subsidized by the very industry it covers. Teri Agins, however, covers the fashion beat for a publication that does not rely upon fashion advertising--and she is thereby uniquely unfettered and able to finally tell the whole truth about this gigantic, flamboyant, and endlessly fascinating business.Her book traces an arc from the origins of couture and its apotheosis in the early part of this century to the advent of prjt-a-porter post.World War II and the sweeping changes that have taken place as the century ends. It is an arc from when "fashion" was defined by elite French designers whose clothes could be afforded only by the global socialites--but whose designs were copied and followed by everyone else--to the point where the rules are set by the consumers, and the designers must follow them. It is an arc from class to mass; from art to commodity. Above all, it is the story of the triumph of marketing.The narrative includes profiles of designers Emmanuel Ungaro, Giorgio Armani, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Donna Karan, and Zoran, as well as retailers Marshall Field and the Gap.The End of Fashion is classy and stylish, filled with insider details; it is dishy and lively and fun--as well as astute and full of insights about how the changes in the fashion business have reflected changes in the culture over the last fifty years.
I'm glad that I finally got the book after seeing Teri on the Oprah show and the Metro Channel. Her reporting genius and years of experience show as she single-handedly unveils this industry which too often tends to believe its own hype. It was especially interesting to read her accounts of the ways in which the homogenization of large American retail stores has bolstered designers' marketing and branding efforts and subsequently, and ironically, led to the death of fashion. This read was especially timely, as I watch my hip trendy New Yorker friends spending $200 on banal denim pants in assorted hues. My only regret is that Teri never once conceded that designers are artists, her approach was strictly business and on those terms this book is brilliant.
I have always been curious about the history of fashion, the personalities, their stories, profiles and this book was the best I could read. It is a great read and I would recommend this to all the fashionable folks out there who wants to know more about fashion..