The United States of Fashion: A New Atlas of American Style

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Release Date: 
October 5, 2021
Reviewed by: 

After plodding through the 170 odd pages of The United States of Fashion: A New Atlas of American Style, this reader is completely confused and finds its timing somewhat pandering and suspect. Yes, there are designers and creatives practically in every town and city in the United States, and yes, all of us have tales about growing up and how or why we dressed a certain way to fit in. But why write this book and couple it with the brand Vogue? None of these brands have ever appeared in the pages of Vogue—especially since its inception (in 1905 Conde Nast bought it. The magazine was never about so called “democratic” fashion, as proven monthly by the brands it editorializes. The magazine is in essence a book of aspiration for its readers.

Mrs. Vreeland said, “Give them what they never knew they wanted!” The magazine is a leader in purveying and conveying the latest and greatest from the world of fashion, and certainly price is no object. Yet, suspiciously, Anna Wintour, in her foreword writes” a celebration of everything we cherish at Vogue: creativity, style, craft, democratic spirit and resilience. American fashion is not in crisis.” This devoted fashionphile/educated reader and a vast majority with fashion experience would disagree with this. The highlighted designers were questionably chosen on many levels.

The first section (Growing Up in Style) mentions brands that will be absolutely unknown to the current Instagram generation along with generations X and Y and Z. Had the editors really taken a deep dive and really researched their topics, they might have thought about calling a basket handbag made by hand in Nantucket a creel, which is what it is and not just a woven basket. It is instances like these that will cause an informed fashion reader to doubt the book’s genuine intent or what exactly will be gained by reading this book.

Ms. Wintour goes out of her way to cherry pick seven designer names of those who supposedly had to make their mark by showing in New York, as it was the epicenter of fashion, meaning you had to come here to make it. Duh! Four of the seven were from New York so it wasn’t a long trip.

It is conceivable that The United States of Fashion: A New Atlas of American Style will be enlightening to fashion neophytes but not so much for the seasoned fashion reader or educated fashionphile.