Fashion has enjoyed, and often later lamented, it’s synergistic bond with the art world over the last century. From the Cubist motifs of Art Deco era dress to the Minimalist expression that exposed itself in clothing two decades after the movement ended, art and fashion have proven themselves to be less strange bedfellows and more passionate lovers who occasionally don’t get along. Whether art or fashion serves as the catalyst is of note, as fashion driven by art is almost always inspired while the alternative brings to mind the late 70’s/early 80’s Patrick Nagel atrocities which still somehow manage to find wall space in the instant time warp of style deprived neighborhood hair salons everywhere.
Enter the modern era, where art defies the conventions of labeling and boundaries have been distorted to the brink of extinction. What fashion borrows from art today is anything but derivative and often direct. As the art world has expanded, so has the fashion industry. The inclusion of avant garde art into the realm of acceptability as a fashion influence has nothing to do with consumerism and everything to do with the demand for personalization of the elements that the art itself is comprised of. From social commentary to the current political landscape, passions expressed in art are finding their way into the wardrobes of the disenfranchised. What was once born in the back of the mind and realized in an artistic medium can now be worn on the back of a shirt. Never before have options for self expression been so poignant, piercing and available.
Fashion itself has served as a canvas of purpose for thousands of years. From the finely gilded armor of crusaders long deceased to the red or blue handkerchiefs that indicate gang affiliation today, fashion has expressed every sentiment known to man, yet none so convincingly as conflict. Perhaps the expressions against complacency that are evident in art are making their way into the world of fashion in preparation for another conflict of sorts, one in which individuals are railing against the societal injustices and political malfeasance of the day.