This week, I’ve revisited one of my favorite readings. It’s a chapter from Lars Svendsen’s book FASHION: A PHILOSOPHY. The chapter is simply called FASHION & ART. There is a huge philosophical debate on whether or not fashion is an art form and where the bad rap comes from. Fashion forefathers Charles Fredrick Worth and Paul Poiret are quoted, clearly bellowing that they are more than dressmakers – they are artists.
Some critics say that fashion could never be considered art. It has no body of criticism; it is too associated with the market and consumers; the value of the work is lost in mass production.
But then I wonder, are the critics contradicting themselves? There is a body of criticism – those that say fashion is not art. Art is also associated with the market and consumers, more so now than ever before. Art is reproduced at an alarming rate, and yet nothing compares to seeing a painting in person. The best advice I received from this reading is the following:
Rather than asking whether something is art, we ought to ask the question as to what extent it is GOOD or RELEVANT art.
In conversation, I find that many people are repulsed by post-modern art. Abstract art is difficult to comprehend. Is it good? How can you tell if it’s well done – it’s just paint splattered everywhere. But there is something so compelling about abstract art. The color, the power of the brush strokes, the unusual geometry. Somehow, I seem to related everything back to fashion. Couldn’t this painting make an interesting textile print? Of maybe the color pallet can inspire my new summer wardrobe.
Art, in it’s best capacity, moves us to incorporate it into our daily lives – even when we don’t fully understand it.
Art improves the quality of life. Enjoy it, wherever you find it.