Book Review: The Power of Style: How Fashion and Beauty are Being Used to Reclaim Cultures

Posted July 12, 2021 by Richetta in #ownvoices, Book Reviews, Young Adult Nonfiction / 2 Comments

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Book Review: The Power of Style: How Fashion and Beauty are Being Used to Reclaim CulturesThe Power of Style by Christian Allaire
on April 27, 2021
Genres: Fashion, Young Adult Nonfiction
Pages: 100
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
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“There is a right way to be inspired or pay homage to another culture, however. By buying pieces from authentic artists… you are supporting a community by going straight to the source.”

Fashion is not a topic I usually read about. However, I saw the Indigenous design featured on the cover of this book, The Power of Style: How Fashion and Beauty are Being Used to Reclaim Cultures by Christian Allaire and I was immediately intrigued. If you know a BIPOC pre-teen or teen who is into fashion, then run and go get them this book! European perspective dominates the fashion world and when cultural elements from underrepresented groups are incorporated, they are often appropriated instead of appreciated and respected. This book highlights BIPOC fashion and the designers behind it. 

Designs, Connections & Representation

This book has everything from clothing to hair to makeup to cosplay costumes. The author is a fashion and style writer for Vogue magazine. She is Ojibwe and in her intro she states she “rarely saw my people represented in magazines or in movies.” Working in fashion, she has met many others who have felt the same and that is what inspired this book. 

The book begins with a chapter on ribbon work, Indigenous design and its spiritual connections. She explains the difference between cultural appropriation and cultural appreciation. The chapter on Hair discusses both Indigneous and African American natural hair and braiding styles. Other chapters include cosplay, hijabs, men’s heels and makeup. The photography in this book is gorgeous!

I CAME FOR 😁… the gorgeous fashion designs!

I STAYED FOR 🛋️… Fashion from a cultural perspective

HOT COCOA MOMENTS ☕: Check out the ribbon work in the first section. I’ve seen it before, but I had no idea of the significance of it. The discussion on Black women’s relationship with natural hair was interesting.

WOULD I READ IT AGAIN: I might go back to reference some points. However, if you know a teen interested in fashion, this book will be frayed at the edges from all the readings.

EDUCATOR RECOMMENDATIONS: Definitely a classroom library must-have for your fashion-minded students which you absolutely have in your classes. Like with all books that feature underrepresented perspectives, ALL students can benefit from exposure to it. I think BIPOC students will absolutely light up when they get their hands on this one.


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