Is Fashion Art?

2 minutes

For a long time, the fashion industry has tried to become accepted as art. There are exceptional and intricate designs that would obviously pass as art. Many haute couture designs are featured in art museums because they embody artistry using fabric. Fashion can be just as expressive as traditional conceptions of art such as paintings and sculptures. But, is all fashion considered art?

The definition for art is “the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power”. Many clothing and accessories designed by well-known designers such as Alexander McQueen or Guo Pei would be categorized as art. Their designs require creative skills and imagination. Fashion is also perceived visually and would be admired for its beauty. However, the debate if fashion is art becomes complicated when thinking about a white t-shirt. They are definitely key components in expressive outfits inspired by street fashion. But, on their own, they do not provoke a beautiful aesthetic.

The other part of the definition of art considers an emotional power.

This painting is titled “Bridge”by Robert Ryman and sold for $20.6 million at auction. Why is a white painted canvas considered art?

The white on white paintings originated from the growing Minimalism movement in the late 1950s. It was a push back on the Abstract Expressionist artistic movement that dominated the 40s and 50s. The idea of the painting is what makes it art. The experience of observing a white painted canvas is the art. The painting is an abyss of possibility and reflection.

While a white t-shirt is not worth $20.6 million, it does take skill from the garment workers to mass produce them. Much like Ryman’s painting, white t-shirts offer a possibility of combinations to the wearer. Since it is so versatile, the white t-shirt promotes minimalism and sustainability within your wardrobe. Even a dirty white t-shirt is a documentation of life. Every stain, tear, and hole is contributing to the overall expressive story and emotional power of the wearer. We make white t-shirts art. There is a beauty in seeing a physical manifestation of wear and tear that is highlighted within our white t-shirts.

Whether you are convinced that a white t-shirt is art or not, I think we can all agree that fashion does have a place within the art world. The designs are imaginative and creatively constructed to transform the wearer.

What do you think? Is fashion art? Or, is only high fashion and haute couture considered art?

Written by: Kayla Nelson

Definition for “Art” was quoted from the Oxford Languages Dictionary

Information about “Bridge” sourced from: