CM . . .
. Volume XIV Number 9 . . . .December 21, 2007
Passion for Fashion: Careers in Style.
Jeanne Beker. Illustrated by Nathalie Dion.
Toronto, ON: Tundra Books, 2008.
80 pp., pbk., $22.99.
Fashion-Vocational guidance-Juvenile literature.
Grades 5 and up / Ages 10 and up.
Review by Reece Steinberg.
Models are often idolized in our society, and while most barely earn a decent living, some do go on to achieve superstar status. But a lot of pressure goes along with that. Models are constantly being judged and must take exceptional care of their physical selves. Models must also be able to face rejection. They have to be creative, controlled, and self-conscious yet confident at the same time.
Passion for Fashion is a broad look at the many different careers in the fashion industry, from an inside perspective. Youth and adults interested in this industry will find information on the glamourous as well as the difficult aspects of the careers.
Most, if not all, fashion-related careers are touched upon in this book, from the model and designer, to the fashion magazine managing editor and creative director, to the dressers, PR specialist, makeup artist, intern, personal shopper and other areas of employments. A brief summary of each career accompanies information on helpful or necessary background for the job, including educational requirements. Passion for Fashion also describes personal characteristics which help people to excel in each position. Some career descriptions include a short interview with or biography of people successful in the field. All are described in a straightforward and easy to understand, casual manner. Though the book is encouraging about entering the field of fashion, it also warns readers that many careers in the fashion industry are competitive, extremely difficult, and demand dedication as well as talent.
Jeanne Beker writes passionately and with a strong knowledge of the industry. An experienced Canadian fashion journalist, Beker helped launch Much Music and Fashion Television, and boasts many written accomplishments as well. Her descriptions of the different players in this industry read like the knowledgeable advice of a long-time insider. Her writing is sufficiently detailed and unique to capture the attention of readers who have only a passing interest in the fashion industry. Fashion amateurs will have no difficulties understanding Passion for Fashion which is concise and direct to the point of being blunt. Those already in the industry may gain a new appreciation for their co-workers or garner tips which will help them advance in the field. Passion for Fashion is a noticeably Canadian production; it contains many reference to Canadians, cities in Canada, and the Canadian industry. Beyond the examples, the book could be situated elsewhere, and would be useful for those considering working outside Canada. Its scope is clearly beyond the author's home country, and an appendix of fashion schools lists colleges and academies in Japan, Belgium and Italy among others.
As would be expected, Passion for Fashion's design is for the most part excellent. The comfortable font, generous white space and beautiful, modern illustrations make the book stand out, and will heighten its appeal to those with an eye for style already. The illustrations, both full page and as additions to the text, depict runway models, photographers, reporters, and various accouterments of the industry in bright but mature colours. An unfortunate aspect of the illustrations is that the women are drawn impossibly thin, even for the fashion industry. For a book whose main readership will come from young girls, this is a major faux pas.
Passion for Fashion is a unique and valuable resource which is both well-written and authoritative. It would be an strong addition to medium and large Canadian public libraries as well as school libraries.
Reece Steinberg, a librarian at Vancouver Public Library, currently works in the Business & Science, and Virtual Library divisions.
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