A new book this year is that published by Jo Barnfield. Barnfield is a designer/maker who works under the name of 'House of Jo'. Since graduating with a BA in Fashion and Textiles, she had worked in the fashion industry as a pattern cutter and as a technical illustrator for Jasmine Di Milo. She currently lectures at Bath Spa University and City of Bath College, teaching design, pattern cutting and construction. Therefore, who better to produce a book entitled 'The Vintage Pattern Selector'.
Actually, this book is quite an interesting take on general pattern books as it allows the practical reader to mix and match a whole range of styles across the twentieth century. It is very much a mix and match project as it allows an opportunity for infinite self-expression. This is not a book that encourages the replication of specific historical looks, though that can be done if wished, it is, however, much more a case of mashing for costume, allowing anyone to mix the 1920s with the 1960s, the 1940s with the 1980s. As the publicity for the books says:
'Wear a 1960s style shift dress with a classic 80s blazer. Match a 40s cowl neck blouse with 70s style tapered trousers.'
I think that it is true to say that we are living in a design era that uses complex and often multi-layered, multi-cultural and even multi-generational inspirational points as an everyday fact. In this respect, the use of a book such as 'The Vintage Pattern Selector' is an expression of our twenty first century understanding of the past. It is not a book about how to reproduce an historical event, but as the title suggests, it is a selector and the selector is the individual reader, individuality through specific individual choice, as it should be. If you take this book and its ethos to heart, imagine a fashion world dominated by the individual and their personal choices, a matter of the bottom of the pyramid calling the shots, rather than the small apex at the top. I suppose we can only dream at this point, but the philosophy of 'The Vintage Pattern Selector' seems to be going in the right direction.