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The Ambit Reading List

BY courtney mccarroll 03/26/2012

Back in the pre-dial-up days, Wray Serna and Amber Jimenez had full Book It! pins. Spending their childhoods in central Illinois and eastern Washington respectively, the two girls behind the pared-down clothing line Ambit were big page-turners, and their affection for a good read has fueled their desire to create. “Growing up in such rural environments made us more creative, I think. We would make up clothing for these characters in our heads and imagine their environments, which has helped so much during the design process,” notes Amber. These are the picks that were pivotal then and the ones that are holding their bookmarks now. 

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Wray, now
1. Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay by Nancy Milford
2. Hedy’s Folly: The Life and Breakthrough Inventions of Hedy Lamarr, The Most Beautiful Woman in the World by Richard Rhodes
3. Various biographies on Frida Kahlo

“I’m reading biographies about interesting, strong females I identify with or adore in some way.  One of which is Savage Beauty, a badly but interestingly written biography about Edna St. Vincent Millay, a bisexual poet who traveled all over the world and grew up in rural Maine. Frida Kahlo is another sexually ambiguous and inspiring lady artist I love to read about. These women inspire the way I think about art and design.”

 





Amber, growing up
1. The Biography of Florence Nightingale by Lytton Strachey
2. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
3. Thomas Edison: Young Inventor by Sue Guthridge

“I think all of these the books had characters who were a bit unconventional and adventurous; in that aspect, they really spoke to me. I grew up in the country, and it was easy for me to imagine that I was living in another time. I would collect old hats and find amazing fabrics, brocade, and velvet curtains and drape and sew horribly constructed dresses out of them.”

 



Amber, now
1. Reborn: Journals & Notebooks, 1947-1963 by Susan Sontag
2. The Complete Perfectionist: A Poetics of Work by Juan Ramon Jimenez
3. I Put A Spell On You: The Autobiography of Nina Simone by Nina Simone

“I love, love, love biographies and journals. I find it interesting that clothing is such an integral part of every person’s life that shows in the writing every time—even though it is rarely something that is focused on.”

 

1
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