In Marla Klein and Ivy Wilde’s world, teens are the gatekeepers of culture. A top fashion label employs sixteen-year-old Marla to dictate hot new clothing trends, while Ivy, a teen pop star, popularizes the garments that Marla approves. Both girls are pawns in a calculated but seductive system of corporate control, and both begin to question their world’s aggressive levels of consumption. Will their new “eco-chic” trend subversively resist and overturn the industry that controls every part of their lives?
Smart, provocative, and entertaining, this thrilling page-turner for teens questions the cult like mentality of fame and fashion.
Are you in or are you out?
published by
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers
Material Girls
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“The first purpose of Clothes … was not warmth, or decency, but ornament.”
—Thomas Carlyle, Sartor Resartus
1833, (The Tailor Retailored)
praise and recognition
“Through its likable characters, sly humor, and smart, fast-moving plot, this entertaining debut raises serious questions about the costs of disposable fashion and pursuit of celebrity, asking readers to ponder who’s driving the bus. Sly, subversive fun.”
Project Runway step aside. Material Girls is a captivating and fast-paced ride where teens control the economy by deciding what’s in and what’s out. Or maybe they just think they do.”
“A razor sharp look at corporate values and consumerism, filtered through the eyes of two girls who think they're at the top, discover that they have been manipulated and used, and try to fight back.”
“Fans of fashion, music, and the corruption in these teen-driven industries will race through [Material Girls] like the latest issue of Vogue. Vibrant characters, a tightly woven plot, and smart writing make this dystopian universe rise above the rest.”
in the know
Q. Why did you write Material Girls?
A. A society where corporations hire children to set trends isn’t that far from the realities of contemporary Western culture. My goal in Material Girls is to hold up a mirror to our teen and tween-obsessed society and to the scrutinized lives of young celebrities. My five-year journey to publication had an impact on the novel as well. The structure of the Torro-LeBlanc design house, with the creative minds stuck in the cold basement and the plutocratic executives on the top floor, is a statement about the treatment of artists in our society.
Q. When is Material Girls set? Is this earth in the future?
A. I see the novel more as an alternate present. La Reina could be Los Angeles today, if the “creative industries” had emerged a generation ago.
Q. Did you ever work in the fashion or music industries?
A. No. I primarily researched the novel at the Boston Public Library—less flashy but extremely practical. Almost all of the trends are pulled directly from real trends featured in fashion magazines like Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue. I also attended the Grammys in 2013 to soak up the LA pop music scene.
Q. Is clothing waste really a problem?
A. The statistics Vivienne quotes in the novel are real. According to the EPA, Americans discard 11 million tons of clothes, shoes, and textiles per year. That’s 70 pounds per person. Only fifteen percent of clothes are recycled; the rest are burned or end up in landfills. We shouldn’t feel guilty about buying new clothes when we need them, but since writing Material Girls, I think harder about where my clothing comes from and where it’s eventually going. I hope readers will too.
Q. Where can I get jewelry made out of recycled bottles?
A. Visit Arte Plastique. Leanne’s work is amazing! Très eco-chic!
Earth-friendly fashions Tumblr fashions
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