Word of Colour

Style in my DNA

Book: Style in my DNA

Author: Lorna Holder

Publisher: Tuareg Productions

Price: £19

Review by Heather Marks

Style in my DNA weaves together fashion and history in this personally-narrated guide to British Caribbean style.

Written by Lorna Holder, a fashion designer, producer and founder of Tuareg Productions after years of working in the fashion industry, Style in my DNA documents the evolving style of British Caribbeans and her own aesthetic.

The book offers a chronological tour through the decades, from the 1940s, detailing the trends of the time and the influences behind them. It’s also an autobiography of Holder, who came to England as a young child in 1959 and rose to become a successful designer.

Holder’s tireless work ethic, love of fashion and an ability to turn each experience into a lesson learned takes Holder from a student at Derby Art College to a successful designer, international producer and owner of her own business.

The style of each decade is comprehensively captured, from the American inspired zoot suits worn by Caribbean men arriving at Tilbury Docks, to the Motown influenced hairstyles of the 60s, to the rise of street fashion in the 70s, to the explosion of ‘power dressing’ in the 80s, and the hip-hop inspirations of the 90s.

Particularly impressive is the skill of the first generation dressmakers, cutting freehand to make tailored designs for themselves and loyal customers. The images signposting each decade are a wonderful visual archive showing the influence of the Windrush generation on our current style.

Style in my DNA is not just a fashion guide but a fascinating insight into Holder’s curatorial and entrepreneurial development. It is also an engaging, punctilious read for historians and lovers of fashion alike.

You can order the book from Waterstones here.

Picture credit: George Fowokan Kelly