If you work as a self-employed fashion designer or want to start doing so, it’s important to keep up with the changing industry. Luckily, there are plenty of books out there that offer valuable knowledge

These books can teach you about working in the fashion industry, making professional designs, and running a freelance business. But where might you find the best books worth reading? No worries; we can help with that. 

This guide lists nine of the best books for fashion designers, including:

  • The Fashion Business Manual by Fashionary 
  • Freelance Fashion Designer’s Handbook by Paula Keech
  • Ultimate Guide to Being a Freelance Fashion Designer by Sew Heidi
  • The Fundamentals of Fashion Design by Richard Sorger and Jenny Udale
  • Camp – Notes on Fashion by Andrew Bolton, Fabio Cleto, Karen Van Godtsenhove, and Amanda Garfinkel
  • The Little Dictionary of Fashion by Christian Dior
  • Fashion Trend Forecasting by Gwenyth Holland and Rae Jones 
  • The Fashion Book by Jane Ace
  • Inside Vogue by Alexandra Shulman

Best books for fashion designer business tips

1) The Fashion Business Manual by Fashionary 

Source: Amazon

The Fashion Business Manual by Fashionary is one of the best books for fashion designers when it comes to planning a business. This book focuses on building a fashion brand from scratch, with an illustrated guide. 

This manual is an excellent pick for getting started with your self-employed fashion design career, especially if you plan to create your own fashion label

5) The Freelance Fashion Designer’s Handbook by Paula Keech

Source: Amazon

In the Freelance Fashion Designer’s Handbook,  Paula Keech goes into the life of a self-employed designer specifically, which makes it a must-read.

Keech covers managing the fashion design industry independently

She discusses finding and working with clients, creating contracts, and managing your earnings. She also goes into the technicalities of producing finished products for clients. 

To learn more about funding your solo career, check out our article: A fashion designer’s guide to funding.   

3) The Ultimate Guide to Being a Freelance Fashion Designer by Sew Heidi 

Source: Amazon

The Ultimate Guide to Being a Freelance Fashion Designer by Sew Heidi is another essential read for self-employed designers. 

This book may cover some of the same information as Keech does. But, it goes beyond that to cover things like building a fashion portfolio, networking, and determining your rates.  

Reading both books will help you develop a comprehensive view of the business side of fashion design. It’ll help you set up your operations for success.   

Best books for learning the tricks of fashion design 

4) The Fundamentals of Fashion Design by Richard Sorger and Jenny Udale  

Source: Amazon

The Fundamentals of Fashion Design by Richard Sorger and Jenny Udale is a great place to start if you’re new to the business

With this book, you can gain valuable insights into the basics of designing clothing from concept to creation. Plus, there are illustrations and interviews to guide you. 

5) Camp – Notes on Fashion by Andrew Bolton, Fabio Cleto, Karen Van Godtsenhove, and Amanda Garfinkel

Source: Amazon

In Camp – Notes on Fashion, Andrew Bolton, Fabio Cleto, Karen Van Godtsenhove, and Amanda Garfinkel explore just that, the concepts of camp fashion. Camp is a style that incorporates bad taste and irony into high fashion. 

This is a great book for learning more about this field of fashion. It’ll be an especially good read if you want to create pieces for your clients that are ‘out there’ and unforgettable

6) The Little Dictionary of Fashion by Christian Dior

Source: Amazon

This book, written by the fashion icon Christian Dior, is perfect to keep close by as a reference. The Little Dictionary of Fashion offers quick tips and secrets to dressing well for every occasion

Though this information targets the customer, it can provide valuable insight into designing for a consumer. Plus, it can help you maintain a stylish appearance that matches your career. 

With that said, Dior does focus on women’s fashion. So, if you primarily design menswear, it may be less helpful. 

Best books about the fashion design industry 

7) Fashion Trend Forecasting by Gwenyth Holland and Rae Jones

Source: Waterstones

Trend forecasting is an essential part of working in the fashion industry. It refers to the process of planning and predicting when different styles, colours, and looks will come in and out of popularity

With Fashion Trend Forecasting by Gwenyth Holland and Rae Jones, you can learn how the process works and how you can use it. Staying in the know about coming trends can help you better serve your customers.  

8) The Fashion Book edited by Jane Ace 

Source: Waterstones

The Fashion Book, edited by Jane Ace, offers a complete picture of today’s fashion industry. It provides knowledge crucial to working within and understanding the industry. 

This book goes over the last two centuries of the fashion world. It also discusses some of the most influential fashion figures, from Coco Chanel to Virgil Abloh. 

This book is perfect for solidifying your market knowledge to set your freelance career up for success.  

See also: The impact of social media on fashion trends

9) Inside Vogue by Alexandra Schulman 

Source: Penguin

For more specific insights into the world’s biggest fashion magazine, check out Inside Vogue by Alexandra Shulman. This 2017 publication celebrated the 100th year of Vogue from the perspective of the editor-in-chief herself.

Though this book doesn’t explore fashion designing specifically, it does provide useful information on the promotional side of the fashion business. 

Knowing the ins and outs of this sector can help you succeed in marketing yourself to grow your audience.

Read up for success in fashion design 

By reading the best books for fashion designers we’ve covered, you can learn top tips on designing, running a business, and working with clients.

Plus, the information can keep you updated on the industry’s past, present, and future. 

As you build your fashion design knowledge and develop your business, you may also need to build a portfolio of your work. 

Why not check out our article on how to create a fashion design portfolio next?  

Let Countingup simplify your fashion design finances

As you strengthen your self-employed fashion design career, it’ll be crucial to focus on your finances to succeed. Accounting software like Countingup can help. 

Countingup is the business current account and accounting software in one app. It automates time-consuming bookkeeping admin for thousands of self-employed people across the UK. 

Save yourself hours of accounting admin so you can focus on growing your business. 

Start your three-month free trial today. 

Apply now.

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