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The End of Fashion: How Marketing Changed the Clothing Business Forever
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The End of Fashion: How Marketing Changed the Clothing Business Forever

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  544 Ratings  ·  42 Reviews
The time when "fashion" was defined by French designers whose clothes could be afforded only by elite has ended. Now designers take their cues from mainstream consumers and creativity is channeled more into mass-marketing clothes than into designing them. Indeed, one need look no further than the Gap to see proof of this. In The End of Fashion, Wall Street Journal, report ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published August 22nd 2000 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published 1999)
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The End of Fashion by Teri AginsHow to Make Clothes that Fit and Flatter by Adele P. MargolisThe Way Back to Happiness by Elizabeth  BassTulle Death Do Us Part by Annette BlairBest Supporting Role by Sue Margolis
Dressmakers Dummy
1st out of 35 books — 3 voters
Elsa Schiaparelli by Meryle SecrestWhy Fashion Matters by Frances CornerInfluence by Mary-Kate OlsenVivienne Westwood by Vivienne WestwoodCulture to Catwalk by Kristin Knox
fashion | history, philosophy, faces
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Community Reviews

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Sep 11, 2014 Trena rated it liked it
I'm pretty sure I am the only person who would moderately enjoy "The End of Fashion" at this point, so if you have it on your to-read you should probably take it off. Writing in 1998 or so (the book was published in 1999), Agins argues that fashion is dead. Forever.

When you read the book you remember why this would be easy to believe: this was the height of Tommy Hilfiger Hegemony, as covered in a chapter of the book. Those ugly-ass oversized color-blocked sweatshirts were all over the damn plac
Sep 28, 2014 Miriam rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Alejandra Barco, designers, Carmen Lomana
Shelves: tfg
I had to read this book for a project and I found it really interesting, despite the fact that I'm not really into high fashion.

As some say, the title may lead to wrong expectations, the book is not about the end of fashion but about the end of high fashion as known at its beginning.
The book has 7 chapters and each of them is about a different brand and really detailed. It gives insights on events and relates them with the historical context which I found very useful.

I skipped parts that were n
May 22, 2011 Blanca rated it it was ok
The title is wrong for this book, but the writing is great and Teri Agins offers a great analysis and interesting review of the relationship between commercialism, industry and fashion with a capital 'F'.

What suffers in this book is that it is dated only because it's assumption that the impact of the 80's and 90's were resolute in fashion and industry forever. The book is 12 years old and so much has changed to bring fashion at a different place due to a new focus on consumers instead of exclusi
Sep 25, 2007 Raquel rated it it was ok
Shelves: fashion
The fashion industry has changed so quickly and dramatically in the past few years that many of the ideas in this book (published in 1999) are already out of date. Reading about how Ralph Lauren and Armani began their empires and how they manage to keep them was intriguing, but I wasn't entirely sure of Ms. Agin's thesis -- mostly because she never gave us her definition of the word/concept "fashion" (this sounds ridiculous, but such an ephemeral concept like fashion, which means different thing ...more
A fascinating analysis of the 20th-century fashion business, from the couturiers in Paris who told the world what was fashionable in the first half of the century to mass marketing and rise of the designer and brand over the haute fashion houses. Agins is a great reporter (from the WSJ), and each chapter makes a solid standalone story while also continuing the flow of the overall theme. Anyone who remembers the Ralph Lauren-Tommy Hilfiger battles of the '90s, or the rise of Armani, or Donna Kara ...more
Nov 27, 2014 Dierregi rated it did not like it
The book is composed by seven completely disconnected chapters. Reading other reviews, I gathered that it is actually a collection of “expanded” articles, published together under the incorrect title “The end of fashion”. The content of books actually suggests that “high couture” is finished, rather than fashion.

“High couture” means creation of exclusive, custom-fitted clothing. Until the 70s, it was common for rich women to get customized clothes, produced by famous dressmaker. Nowadays there
Sep 06, 2015 Stefania rated it it was amazing
I thought that she was spot on, considering that she wrote it in tge 1990's. It is even more relevant nowadays, even though had she written it today she would have been more specific about the role of marketing and the fading role of the designer.
I thought it was a good thesis but I agree with other readers when they say that the vignettes were too long and centered too much around the individual couturiers. I would have liked it to be more to the point: I don't care what Pierre Cardin did ever
Laura Kepus
Feb 20, 2015 Laura Kepus rated it liked it
The End of Fashion, How Marketing Changed The Clothing Business Forever isn't quite what I was expecting it to be. The book is broken down into individual case studies of different brands, fashion houses, and retailers. Each chapter explains how over time, the increasing role of marketing in fashion changed each of these brands and companies for the better or worse.

Because this book was written 15+ years ago, it can definitely come across a bit dated and I wish it would have been updated by now
Aug 10, 2016 Mary rated it liked it
There were many causes to the end of fashion as it was and this book touches on all of them. Each chapter focuses on one reason why top down fashion stopped by telling the story of one or two companies/designers who were a perfect example of that reason. Of course the reasons overlap.

There are a lot of details (a lot), history of designers and questions brought up but the author maintains an unbiased view. She seems neither for nor against what is going on, she's just reporting all the action. T
Aug 10, 2015 Serena rated it it was amazing
A fascinating look at how the fashion industry has changed over the decades, culminating in how marketing has shaped it into what it is today. The author, Teri Agins, writes for the Wall Street Journal, and her journalistic style comes through, as she takes us behind the scenes to see what really goes on behind the glitz and glamour of the catwalk, to reveal the business side of fashion. A must-read for those who are interested in the business of fashion and business/marketing people in general.
May 21, 2015 Ang rated it it was ok
I don't know if I missed something regarding the central thesis of this book, except uh, was there one? The chapters in this book seemed wildly unconnected, and while some of them were super interesting (Lauren vs. Hilfiger), some were WILDLY boring (Marshall Field'szzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz). I don't really get what Agins was doing here, obviously, and I hope that doesn't bode badly for her most recent book, which I'm interested (still, weirdly) in reading.
Katrina Sark
Mar 11, 2014 Katrina Sark rated it liked it
"Traditionally, the fashion system has revolved around the imperative of planned obsolescence – the most familiar examples being the rise and fall in skirt lengths, and for men the widening and narrowing of trousers and neckties. Every few years, when the silhouettes change, women and men have been compelled to go shopping and to rebuild their wardrobes to stay in style." (p.7)
Aug 06, 2013 Maggie rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
The title of this book and its back cover don't accurately describe it. I would call it a collection of vignettes describing the transformation of "high fashion" from the couture Parisian-based designers to the publicly traded Ralph Lauren/Donna Karans of the '90's. I really enjoyed the access that the author gives to the closed-off world of fashion. It was fun to imagine what it would have been like to shop at Marshall Field's in the 19th century, or to be in the design studio with Emanuel Unga ...more
Caroline tibbetts
Aug 23, 2015 Caroline tibbetts rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed

I loved hearing the outline and details of fashions and marketing's intricate relationship through Agins voice· Colorful, fun and informative- I recommend to fashion enthusiasts.
Nov 05, 2014 Antonia rated it really liked it
Required reading for anyone getting into the fashion industry. It’s not so much about the clothes but how they are marketed. The power is in the consumer to decide what’s in and what’s out. We all look for value. The rise of “cheap chic” has seriously injured the old school fashion system. Fashion is no longer exclusive to the upper crust. Fashion for the masses is the only profitable fashion.

These are some of the statements (paraphrased) in Agins’ book. This book is thoroughly researched and A
Aug 10, 2015 Morgan rated it really liked it
Shelves: fashion-style
A must read for those looking for an intro into the modern fashion arena. Agins does a wonderful job making industry topics compelling and easy to understand.
Oct 07, 2016 Christine rated it liked it
Shelves: owned-ebook
This was a really interesting book! I didn't know very much at all about fashion before reading the book, and so it was great to hear about the rise and fall of a number of big fashion brands/names over time. I had an awareness about many of the topics in the book, like about how department stores are more and more the same, but I didn't know how things came to be that way so I enjoyed reading about how clothing retail has changed so drastically and in so many different ways over time.

I loved t
Mar 27, 2014 Jessica rated it liked it
Don't totally agree with the author's position but the book provides insightful industry history.
Anna Mezhova
Feb 11, 2016 Anna Mezhova rated it liked it
It's good, but really outdated. And I would prefer to see more business less biography.
Aug 28, 2015 Julia rated it it was ok
Interesting, but now quite dated.
Hélène Martin
Aug 11, 2016 Hélène Martin rated it really liked it
This turned out to be a longer and more difficult read than I expected but I’m glad I stuck with it and took my time. Wading through all the names and details occasionally got tedious but given that I’ve mostly ignored retail fashion, I learned a lot.
Nov 28, 2007 Robin rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fashionistas
This is a great book to read if you want to learn about the history of fashion and all of the big designers of the past before your more current "in" designers. This book gives some very interesting facts about the origins of fashion, couture clothes, the beginning of the runway and the ongoing feud between Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hillfiger. If you're a Project Runway fan like I am you should pick up this book.
Jan 08, 2014 Leyla rated it it was amazing
Although the book was written over a decade ago, I thought it was still quite fresh and filled with fashion history. Short bio on some of the most influential fashion designers and fashion business persons in the world. A comprehensible peek inside fashion marketing and going public on wall street, I thought it was a great representation on what goes on behind the making and selling of the dress.
Domenic Paul
Jul 24, 2013 Domenic Paul rated it it was amazing
The End of Fashion, by Teri Agins is a must read for any prospective designer, merchandiser, or other member in the fashion industry. Step into the lives of Donna Karan, Giorgio Armani, Zoran and others. I can't say to much without giving it away, but do keep in mind, contrary to the title, fashion has not come to an end, but is welcomed into a new era.
Jul 18, 2008 Cheryl rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: '90s nostalgists
A well written portrait of the fashion world as of 1999 whose outdated-ness can be summed up with this sentence, on page 152: "Glamorous as they are, fashion shows are fairly low-voltage to the general public, who will probably never see a tape of an Armani runway show." Yeah.
Jennifer Axcell
Jul 27, 2007 Jennifer Axcell rated it really liked it
This book shows amazing insight into to how's and why's of fashion. It explains why we have closets full of clothes we will never wear (while still searching for the latest trend). Easy and great read if you have any fascination in psychology and the part it plays in fashion.
Oct 22, 2009 Ed rated it liked it
Shelves: fashion
While this book is ten years old it is still worth reading. Terry Agins covered the business of fashion for the Wall Street Journal for years and she relates some of the huge changes that altered how clothing looked, how and where it was made and how much it cost.
Jan 18, 2015 Sarah rated it really liked it
I would give this book a higher rating if only it was up-to-date.
I learned so much about several designer brands and their respective histories. This book has really stepped up my fashion knowledge and I hope to read similar books in the future.
Feb 21, 2008 Karen rated it really liked it
A must read for anyone entering the industry.

It needs some updating as some major things have happeneed in the past 4 years, but the information it outlays is still essential to know, and very relevant in today's apparel market.
Mar 11, 2009 Chris rated it liked it
Unless you really like fashion, this book is pretty dry and the author a little long winded. Some of the insights into the character of the people behind the major fashion lines, Ralph Lauren, Tommy, etc. were quite interesting
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“For all of its glamour and frivolity, fashion happens to be a relevant and powerful force in our lives. At every level of society, people care greatly about the way they look, which affects both their self-esteem and the way other people interact with them.” 1 likes
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