Can't get enough of Rev Dress?
We're not the only ones talking dress, history and politics. Check out the incredible books, podcasts, documentaries and more below:
The Power of Style by Christian Allaire
Indigenous author Christian Allaire illustrates fashion’s power to “promote cultural activism, empowerment, diversity and inclusivity” by highlighting a beautiful array of people from all backgrounds who interact with various garments, accessories and beauty techniques in unique ways. I love this book because it was written intentionally for a younger audience and meant to give young people role models in different fields, as well as encourage them to think about their own culture, style and identity. Concise while still informative and nuanced, Allaire approaches the intersections of fashion, politics and culture gracefully, framing it for a teenage or young adult reader in a way that is engaging for adults as well. The book is visually stimulating, interactive and all around beautiful.
Fashion is Spinach by Elizabeth Hawes
Elizabeth Hawes is one of the first people to write critically about the fashion industry and make connections between fashion and politics. This book was first published in 1938 and is one of many Hawes published in her lifetime. As an iconic luxury designer herself, Hawes had firsthand experience dealing with the ins and outs of the budding couture fashion scene at the turn of the century. Fashion is Spinach functions as an insider’s memoir and critique of consumerism and capitalism in a witty way, while still seeing the beauty and potential of the fashion industry to be one that uplifts and sustains. Hawes is a passionate socialist, a feminist ahead of her time, and a proponent of genderless fashion decades before it would ever be a mainstream conversation. Her writing is foundational to work at the intersection of dress and politics.
Dress Codes: How the Laws of Fashion Made History by Richard Thompson Ford
Richard Thompson Ford offers a survey of fashion laws and dress codes from the middle ages to present day, making the argument that fashion often reflects political and social ideals, as well as struggles for power and status. This book is a detailed example of how the study of dress can provide a window into particular cultural and historical contexts. Ford’s area of study in this particular book is very similar to that of Rev Dress, although he focuses less on political and social movements and more on the state laws and social mores those movements were often fighting against. His writing is exactly the kind of information that could made more available to young people in visually engaging, accessible ways.
Stitched Up: The Anti-Capitalist Book of Fashion by Tansy Hoskins
As a long time fashion writer and journalist, Hoskins provides a critical insider perspective on the outwardly glamorous world of fashion. She exposes the relationship between fashion and exploitation (both of humans and the earth), and expertly links these evils back to capitalism and colonialism. In this way, Stitched Up acts as a modern version of Fashion is Spinach, understanding the need for progress and change, while still seeing the beauty and creativity that exists in fashion as an art form. Hoskins’ work approaches fashion through a critical, dialectical lens, and although it is not as focused on historical context, there is a lot in unpack in terms of fashion’s impact on greater politics, culture, people and the environment.
Paulicelli’s work is focused specifically on analyzing Italian fashion and dress during the fascist period (1922-1943): how fascist politics influenced fashion and vice versa. Paulicelli prefaces her writing with a nuanced and incredibly well-documented argument for why the study of historical dress and politics matters in the first place. Paulicelli’s thorough introduction could easily preface any number of writings on dress and politics, as it provides a compelling explanation of her motivations for studying the subject, as well as the necessity for similar research of other historical moments. Beyond that, the Italian history she recounts is rich, fascinating and worth a thorough read.
Liberated Threads: Black Women, Style, and the Global Politics of Soul by Tanisha C. Ford
A true celebration of Black identity and soul, Tanisha C. Ford recounts beautiful histories of Black women utilizing their hair, clothing and style to communicate powerful messages of resistance and liberation. Major examples in the text include the Civil Rights Movement as well as the Black Power era of the 1960s, both of which are thoroughly covered here at Rev Dress. This book brings is an inspiring example of the politics of dress at play in history.
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