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Have you read The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce? If you have, you might like this book too. It’s an irreverent look at A to Z of fashion from Freeman’s eyes, (she’s the Deputy Fashion Editor at The Guardian). The book is arranged in short alphabetical passages starting from A – “Accessories: going to hell in a handbag,” to Y – “Yoga, Detoxes, and other euphemisms for exercise and diet.” By Fareeha Qayoom

By Fareeha Qayoom

I like browsing the fashion section of Readings. Most of the books on display are usually coffee table variety though. However, sometimes, you do find books that you can get your reading teeth into. I found one book like that the other day. It’s called, “The Meaning of Sunglasses, And a Guide to Almost All Things Fashionable” by Hadley Freeman; Viking 2008 edition for PKR 350, Pages 234. Online at Amazon it’s being sold for $3.24.

the meaning of sunglasses book cover

Have you read The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce? If you have, you might like this book too. It’s an irreverent look at A to Z of fashion from Freeman’s eyes, (she’s the Deputy Fashion Editor at The Guardian). The book is arranged in short alphabetical passages starting from A – “Accessories: going to hell in a handbag,” to Y – “Yoga, Detoxes, and other euphemisms for exercise and diet.”

A must-read, it’s funny, it’s entertaining, and it’s wicked. Best of all, it’s not long winded; you can finish this book in couple of sittings max. There are many passages that are my favorite in the book. Here’s one excerpt (J for Jeans – The entire passage is from page 122 to 128). However, I am quoting only a brief excerpt here.

Quote

“JEANS: NOT AS BULLETPROOF AS THEY TELL YOU

Ah, bless the human species. No sooner does it find something pretty straightforward than it has to fuss with it, divesting it of many of its original charms. (See Classics with a twist)

And so it has been with jeans. We all know the story: once jeans were kind of cool in a James Dean way; then they were the favored uniform of the American tourist, who decided that wearing high-waisted, tapered trousers in bleached denim was a sure way to cut a fine figure. And then in the ‘90s, a clever little jeans label called Earl moved the waistband slightly lower, put a bit of stretch into the denim, and – wham, bam, your receipt’s in the bag, ma’am – jeans are suddenly the most flattering thing ever conceived in the history of civilization. New denim labels are launched every day with increasingly self important names (Citizens of Humanity, True Religion, 7 for all Mankind – I mean, I ask you) and reported in the fashion press with the kind of hushed excitement more suited to breaking news of the second coming of Christ. Designer jeans now easily cost over $300, making them more expensive than a lot of designer shoes. Yet their cost has not affected their popularity in the slightest, and, like handbags and cosmetics, they are increasingly one of the financial pillars of many fashion brands.

And so manufacturers, understandably, decided to milk this cash cow for all its worth, experimenting with every possible style, design, and color variation they could possibly imagine in order to convince customers to buy more, more, More! Thus, what was once an easy basic became a fraught style statement with its own internal fashion trends.”

Unquote

You can also buy the downloadable version over the net for $12.99 at Diesel eBook Store. ■

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Fareeha Qayoom
Fareeha Qayoom
Publisher and editor-in-chief of Tkfr.com and former print editions of The Knit-Xtyle Fashion Review (tkfr), a trade newsletter for the textile and apparel industry of Pakistan. In short, Publisher, editor, and a blogger. In addition, she has served as Managing Editor of MIT Technology Review Pakistan, print and web editions (2015-16). Total of 7 editions were published under her leadership by ITU, Punjab's first public technology university under the license of MIT Technology Review (USA). She has also managed Value Mag in the same capacity, a real estate and lifestyle magazine for Value TV - 2008-9. Published freelancer for The News on Sunday 1994-96. Fareeha has over 21 years of solid management experience – of managing brands (like Harley Davidson, Munsingwear, Chaps, Chaps Ralph Lauren etc.,), Retailers (like Target, Mervyns, Kohl's, Marks and Spencer etc.,), customers (VPs, Product Managers, Unit Managers, and Buyers), and products (apparel - woven, knits, men's, women's, children's, Print and online publishing units), projects, teams, and processes, information, content, and data, staff, vendors, and time. Versatile and adaptable with international exposure, communication and language skills (oral and written), and a consistent track record of achieving company targets and objectives, plus a MA in Political Science from Punjab University, a MSc in Economics from La Salle University, Louisiana, USA, and a BA in Economics from Kinnaird College for Women.

4 Comments

  1. More reading?

    Polka dots and Ray-bans
    Saffron Burrows finds out what not to wear in Hadley Freeman’s The Meaning of Sunglasses: A Guide to (Almost) All Things Fashionable

    * Saffron Burrows
    * The Guardian, Saturday 23 February 2008

    The Meaning of Sunglasses: A Guide to (Almost) All Things Fashionable
    by Hadley Freeman
    224pp, Viking, £15

    There is much to admire in Hadley Freeman’s A-Z of fashion, not least because of its sound good sense on such crucial matters as the uselessness of mittens, the horror of the polka dot when viewed through a hangover, and the unnecessary agonies of the stiletto heel.

    She refrains from taking the sideswipes at feminists that have become de rigueur among many style writers, nor does she attempt to defend the more autocratic behaviours displayed by some of the emperors of fashion. Here, instead, is a wry – if a little repetitive – book that will make gently enjoyable reading for anyone wondering how best to clothe themselves for this new century.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2008/feb/23/fashion.art

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  2. On and off the catwalk

    If you want to know what makes the fashion world go round, read Hadley Freeman’s The Meaning of Sunglasses, says Alice Fisher

    The Meaning of Sunglasses: A Guide to (Almost) All Things Fashionable

    by Hadley Freeman

    Viking £15, pp224

    For something supposedly so fun, photogenic and lucrative, fashion causes a lot of problems for newspapers. Lifestyle magazines have always had it easy: they can cover fashions and designers suitable for their readers’ demographic and blithely disregard any financial, social or ethical issues that don’t fit their remit. Newspapers can’t. So, though fashion has become a regular front-page news story over the last 20 years thanks to its link with celebrity, and a national obsession on a par with football, this hasn’t made it any easier to write about. News stories on the rise of the clutch bag still look ridiculous among reports on war, famine and child labour.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2008/feb/17/catwalk.fashion

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  3. Wednesday, June 9, 2010
    The Meaning of Sunglasses – Hadley Freeman
    So I had a totally productive day yesterday. In the morning my copy of The Meaning of Sunglasses, which I had been meaning to buy fo’eva, arrived via Amazon Market Place and then I read it. Cover to cover. Oops. Didn’t really achieve anything else that day but there you go. It is events like this that lead me to suspect that I have at least a mildly addictive personality and is part of the reason I have always steered clear of cigarettes. I am not good at moderation.

    As I was expecting, given my fondness of Hadley Freeman’s column in The Guardian, I loved this. She is just a very funny and engaging writer and, oh yeah, this was about fashion. I don’t think these three qualities coincide very often so it was a joy to binge on them here. I am not going to pretend that this is a book that is going to change the world, I don’t think Hadley would want that, but it was genuinely enjoyable and I would definitely recommend it to anyone with a passing interest in fashion. And hey, maybe if you made someone who poopoo-ed fashion read this they would understand a bit better…

    http://chucksmiscellany.blogspot.com/2010/06/meaning-of-sunglasses-hadley-freeman.html

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  4. the meaning of sunglasses by hadley freeman
    Posted by girlawhirl on January 18, 2008

    Making sense of the fashion industry isn’t easy, even for fashion insiders! Girlawhirl’s always being asked the same questions: “Do I have to wear that?” “What’s the new color for next season?” “Why does fashion change every few months?” Hadley Freeman’s new book, The Meaning of Sunglasses attempts to shed light on, if not fully explain – because for some things there is no explanation that makes sense – the ins and outs of the fashion industry…

    http://www.girlawhirl.com/culture/the-meaning-of-sunglasses-by-hadley-freeman/

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