The third in a series of lively approaches to creative endeavors (Learn to Speak Dance, by Ann-Marie Williams and illustrated by Jeff Kulak, 2011, etc.), this offers genuine advice amid a sea of exclamation points.
DeCarufel has been a fashion intern and an editor, and she co-founded a Web fashion magazine, Hardly. The Canadian author’s enthusiasm is unflagging, and she takes preteen readers with her on the “clothes + art = fashion” formula. She starts with finding one’s own style and continues with learning to see: using visual curiosity to examine design, pattern, color and so on to find what inspires. Window shopping, building a wardrobe, preparing a sketchbook and learning to sew are all part of the plan. She gives advice about runway shows, models, fashion shoots, stylists and so on. She frames these events as activities that young folk could actually perform, and she makes it all sound possible. The layout is full of boxes, sketches and quotes pulled from famous fashion folk: Some may find the type on dark backgrounds to be hard to read, but visually it is very effective. The last chapter lists “essentials” for designers, photographers, stylists, magazines and interns. These are very simple but really cover the basics, and her attitude that fashion and style are worthy and enjoyable pursuits is spot-on.
The whole is written in a gender-neutral tone, without condescension but with a certain number of assumptions about access to technology and tools like cameras and sewing machines. (index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)