Everyone loves a good reading recommendation. So we asked a selection of leading tastemakers in the fashion community to share their favourite books - because while the days might be long, time is precious, and life is too short to spend aimlessly flicking through your devices!
Madeleine Vionnet by Betty Kirke
Recommended by Kate Megaw, designer of Penny Sage
This was a special gift from my Dad to encourage and inspire me when I was just starting out with my label. It covers the life and career of the late fashion designer, it’s visually beautiful and has a lot of technical information. It even includes mini patterns of some of her original designs. It has been a huge source of inspiration to me over the last 10 years; if I'm having a hopeless day in the studio I’ll look through it.
Bulibasha: King of the Gypsies by Witi Ihimaera
Recommended by Amy Lautogo, designer of Infamy Apparel
I take a break from reading body sovereignty text over summer and revisit an absolute favourite from my childhood. It’s an immersive coming of age story set in Tairāwhiti with the kind of prose that makes you feel like you’re there! P.S. you’ll thank me when you read the Hockey segment. Laugh, cry and revel in how masterful Ihimaera is at his craft.
This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate by Naomi Klein
Recommended by Gosia Piatek, designer of Kowtow
On how the climate crisis needs to spur transformational political change. This in combination with anything by Greta Thunberg and Noam Chomsky, a no-nonsense approach to the incapability of our governments and corporate greed.
In at the Deep End by Kate Davies
Recommended by Anjali Burnett, co-founder of Twenty-seven Names
I lol lol lol'd my way through this titillating tale. Not for those who can't get past the first person narrative style, which I sadistically love.
Auē by Becky Manawatu and Humankind: A Hopeful History by Rutger Bregman
Recommended by Ingrid Starnes
Auē by Becky Manawatu, affecting and important, and Humankind: A Hopeful History by Rutger Bregman - an amazing book that challenges the common assumption that people are selfish and untrustworthy, and things are getting worse. It's so nice to read something positive about the world!
The Girl From Revolution Road by Ghazaleh Golbakhsh
Recommended by Elisabeth Findlay, co-founder of Zambesi
This book resonated with me because I personally experienced feeling different and not knowing where I belonged for many years. Our family emigrated to New Zealand in 1951 on the Goya.
Rememberings by Sinead O’Connor
Recommended by Sarah Cotteral, founder of Silk & Steel
An eye opening memoir from the iconic singer songwriter.
The Doll’s House by Katherine Mansfield
Recommended by Karen Walker
Katherine Mansfield’s stories, especially her big four: The Garden Party; At The Bay; Prelude; and, of course, The Doll’s House. “I seen the little lamp.” Just so good. Her rhythm and messages and characters are all astonishing and they’re stories that can (and should) be read again and again.
There There by Tommy Orange
Recommended by Keva Rands, designer of Papa Clothing
There There by Cheyenne and Arapaho author Tommy Orange is my favourite book I’ve read recently. He tells multiple stories of Native American people living various lives at various ages and socioeconomic situations across Oakland. The narratives are all leading towards one event when everyone will cross paths in some way or another. The stories are beautiful and sad and stressful and heartwarming and the way he changes tenses quite seamlessly is clever and still easy to follow.
The Book of Joy by the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu
Recommended by Zoe Williams, designer of Zoe and Morgan
The Book of Joy was gifted to me by one of my staff members, Lilly, and I'm about to reread it. It's basically conversations with the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu, they cover topics around obstacles and how to cultivate joy in daily practises. I think with the current world situations, worries around covid and global warming, it feels great to foster a strong sense of inner calm and joy.
The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan
Recommended by Liam Bowden, designer of Deadly Ponies
This is a 14 volume series that I'm three books into. I always feel sad when I put down a book and will no longer have those characters in my life, so it's good that I've got 14 books to get through this time.
The Swimmers by Chloe Lane
Recommended by Sarah-Jane Duff, designer of Lost and Led Astray
This book, I did not put down. The intense five days of Erin’s journey to assist in her terminally ill mother’s death was unexpectedly told with humour and humility. I was challenged and uncomfortable in the best kind of way. It was complicated, brutal, relatable and real.
Shoe Dog: A Memoir by Phil Knight
Recommended by Kathryn Wilson
Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the creator of Nike, Phil Knight, is a great read around the challenges, failures and milestones of creating a product and a brand. A really relatable story from a brave entrepreneur!
The Hare with Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal
Recommended by Kate Sylvester
I’m currently reading The Hare with Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal. Both the memoir and its author are so elegant, eloquent and charming, I think I’m falling in love!
The House of the Spirits by Isabelle Allende
Recommended by Juliette Hogan
I have so many favourite books! I have always loved Isabelle Allende’s The House of the Spirits – it’s beautifully written and I love its magical realism.