The fashion industry has long been an elite world of models, designers, photographers, and everyone else on the outside looking in. But the glamorous picture presented to the public is often punctuated by stories of infamously large egos, spirals into drug abuse, and the pressure to look better than perfect. Of course, there is also a lot of beauty to be found in fashion, from which your appearance can directly benefit. So toss the torn t-shirts and jeans, the clogs, and the leather Harley Davidson biker jacket you’ve had since high school and prepare for beautification with some of the best audio books on the business of being fashionable.
1. Model by Michael Gross. The field of modeling has become huge over the years. Whereas models were once found walking down runways in department stores with housewives as their only audience, these days the multi-billion dollar elite industry rests on the shoulders of the most beautiful people in the world (and the designers who dress them). Gross, a writer for Esquire, attempts to disrobe the seedy underbelly of this glamorous industry with an in-depth look at the history of sex, drugs, and greed that have shaped the modeling profession. Interviews with real-life models (as well as agents, photographers, and so on) make for a riveting narrative.
2. The Gospel According to Coco Chanel: Life Lessons from the World’s Most Elegant Woman by Karen Karbo. If you pick up only one piece of the media storm currently circulating around Coco Chanel (from biopics to made-for-TV movies to books), it should be this extraordinary audio book. While many others take a stab at the French fashionista’s flair for creating celebrated styles and her equally haughty (haute-y?) personal life, this offering attempts to determine what made this woman a mogul and landed her on Time Magazine’s list of the 100 Most Influential People of the 20th Century (the only fashion industry personality to make the list).
3. The Most They Ever Had by Rick Bragg. Every piece of clothing ever worn has started with a bolt of fabric, and most of them come from a mill. This story of modern-day workers at a cotton mill in Jacksonville, Alabama will show you a different side of the fashion industry, one in which people are paid very little for high risk and virtually no recognition. The bottom rung of clothing production takes fingers, lungs, and lives, but those who work in one of the last cotton mills in the southern states of America thank their lucky stars that they still have a job to come to.
4. Modeling as a Profession by Amie Bongay. It’s all too easy for young and impressionable girls to take that meeting with an “agent” at a shady motel and wind up paying the price for their naïveté. This audio book aims to teach aspiring models how to determine which agencies and photographers are on the up and up, and which will probably destroy their career.
5. Christian Dior: The Man Who Made the World Look New by Marie-France Pochna. He may have made a mint in the design industry but Christian Dior started out like anybody else: with a good idea. Fortunately, he had a lot of talent to go along with it, a trait that led Dior products to account for 5% of France’s export sales between 1947 and 1949. This story of the famous designer who catapulted to celebrity status virtually overnight is a must-listen.
Sarah Danielson writes for Jafrum where you can find a great selection of biker gear including motorcycle helmets, boots, jackets, and many other clothes and accessories.