Book tip: Zero History by William Gibson

In a slight departure from my previous book recommendations I’m not presenting a book about style or menswear today, but rather a novel. I will start by saying that the author, William Gibson, is one of my very favourite authors, and there’s nothing he’s written that I’ve not read multiple times. Not that you should let that colour your impression of what follows in any way. I consider Gibson to have a terrific command of language, he picks very interesting topics, and writes about them in a highly engaging manner.

So, today I’d like to recommend “Zero History“, published in 2010. While William Gibson is often lauded as a seminal science fiction author, and credited with foreseeing Cyberspace, he has in later years departed from the sci-fi ways of the past and instead now uses more contemporary settings. The content is no less fascinating or influential now though.

So, if I’ve not already lost your attention, you’ll now be wondering why I’m saying you might enjoy reading this book, right? Well, it’s sort of about menswear, and the garment industry, and super-hip “secret brands” and how a lot of fashion stems from military clothing. See, that got your attention, right?


The secret brand in question is “Gabriel Hounds“, a garment maker without address or widespread information, almost a myth, with secret drops of new items and painfully limited production. We’re talking next-level hipness here, folks. It’s obvious that Gibson has done some research, as he’s pressing the right buttons. Heck, I desperately long for a pair of Hounds, and I know they don’t even exist! We also have a sub-plot about how the military uses fashion as part of it’s recruiting strategy. That might sound strange when I say it, but it makes total sense in the book, and have often haven’t you thought an army uniform looks mighty sharp (not to mention how many styling cues you’ll see if you study the collection of uniforms in the Imperial War Museum).

I’ll not spoil more of the plot by reciting it, but … It’s a cracking book, and you’ll most likely enjoy it. Don’t be put off my the nay-sayers, if you’re into it, you’re into it, and you’ll enjoy it.

william gibson - zero history


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