One of the best parts for me of judging nonfiction finalists for the Cybils Award is being 'forced' to read books like this, The Power of Style: How Fashion and Beauty are Being Used to Reclaim Cultures by Christian Allare. In the past I may have a read a chapter or two of such a book most often if I was searching for some specific information. But now I reading these nonfiction books looking not only for content but also for good writing and a pleasant presentation of the information.
This colorful book features more than 30 designers, models, and entrepreneurs who are changing the way we look at fashion and beauty. The book is a celebration of inclusivity, creativity, and cultural activism. It is full of colorful photographs of aspects of clothing, hair, footwear, make-up and cosplay fashion. The author, Christian Allare is an Ojibwe writer who grew up on a reservation in Ontario, Canada and writes for Vogue magazine as a fashion and style reporter.
What I liked abut the book:
- The book is divided up according to topics: his own First Nation culture's fashion sense with ribbons and design; Black hair styles; cosplay fashions and plus-size models; hijabs and Muslim-styles making a fashion statement; men in heels; and make-up styles including henna designs.
- Since the book is stuffed full of colorful photographs, even teens who don't like to read will be attracted to the book.
What I didn't like about the book:
- The subtitle and the content don't always match. The word "culture" implies to be the customs, arts, social institutions, and achievements of a particular nation, people, or other social groups. I had a hard time thinking of men wearing heels or a person dressing in cosplay as culture. Those are styles and preferences, but culture? Maybe I am wrong.
- The book seemed to be a very "now" book that will get dated very quickly making it less attractive as a library book purchase.
- There was no reference material or bibliography for further reading thought there was a helpful table of contents.