Fabric for Fashion: A review

Fabric for Fashion by Amanda Johnston and Clive Hallett

It’s with great excitement that we announce the release of Fabric for Fashion: The Complete Guide: Natural and man-made fibres. This book, the second edition of Fabric for Fashion which you may already be familiar with, was written by friend of the centre Amanda Johnston, with Clive Hallett. Both Amanda and Clive teach on several courses at the London College of Fashion, and Amanda has been involved with the MA Fashion Futures course since it’s inception, as well as curating the Future Fabrics Expo by The Sustainable Angle since 2011.

The book is an essential reference on fabric, providing in-depth details of their properties, technologies, terminologies and processes, and as explained by Amanda, the book “examines not only the visual and tactile characteristics of various fabrics, but also encourages a deeper understanding of their potential impacts by considering the provenance of fibres, and their processing routes.”

Having been researching sustainable textiles for The Sustainable Angle’s Future Fabrics Expo for some time, I was privileged to be invited to contribute to the book. This involved researching and creating an easy to use reference guide for a range of globally used certifications, to help designers understand the scope, remit, and definitions of the industry’s increasingly used certification systems. Whilst certifications are not the only way to determine the social and environmental credentials of a fabric, and indeed should not be relied on without further enquiries and investigation, they can often help understand the benchmarks to which diverse materials have been produced and processed. Certifications can relate to anything from use of chemicals and fertilizers during fibre cultivation, to fair working conditions, treatment of waste-water effluent, or design for reutilization. The guide can be seen on p.240-243.

Amanda says she and Clive created the book “as a visually engaging and easily navigable reference book, with the intention of providing designers with a complete guide to natural fibres. The integration of crucial practical fabric knowledge, tactile appraisal, and examples of varied creative fabric interpretations, is intended as an accessible guide for students and design practitioners alike.”

This book is particularly helpful for students and designers wishing to navigate the complex landscape of the textiles industry, providing a mix of practical information and industry vocabulary, visually examining generic fabric types, discussing the characteristics of fabrics, and showing how to push the boundaries of design through materials choice. The book includes hundreds of beautiful images, many photographed by the extremely talented Myka Baum, and including examples of how fashion designers, both past and present, have worked with fabrics.

You can find out more and order the book on the Laurence King website.