Think about it– throughout our lives, we collect pieces of clothing that we want to wear which will represent who we want to be, how we view ourselves. Going back to the Devil Wears Prada scene, a designer creates a collection inspired by ideas, events, social movements, places etc. The execution of that inspiration, whether it be color, fabric, texture, details etc. is then translated into the designer’s collection, to then be mimicked by fast-fashion brands and trickle their way down into every major store, in some form or another. Fashion applies to everyone, fashion is universal, and fashion is art.
Prabal Gurung is a perfect example of the fact that fashion is art. His S/S 2016 show was a tribute to Nepal in regards to the earthquake that shook his homeland last April. The fashion show opened with Gurung’s gratitude to the fashion community: a tribute to Nepal’s traditions and culture through traditional prayer led by monks.
The collection followed with subtle yet important references to Nepal. Similar color palettes to the colors of the monks robes, simple yet elegant pieces walked the runway. Gurung even had Nepalese artist help design some of the prints in the collection. While the nods to Nepal were subtle, they should not be considered insignificant. Gurung took the opportunity during NYFW, arguably fashion’s most important week of the year, to bring attention to Nepal and their struggles. Was he successful? I think so. Especially during such a busy and stressful time, Gurung’s tribute to Nepal not only brought positive attention to his homeland, but also was a breath of fresh air in the buzz of New York Fashion Week.
Another example, from last season, is Chanel. Chanel’s S/S 2015 show that closed with a feminist march, was certainly more than just a fashion show. Lagerfeld had the fashion show go on as usual, beautiful garments and all, but during the final walk, the models strutted with signs reading “History is HER Story”, “He for She”, “Ladies First”, “Women’s Rights are More Than Alright” and many more. Lagerfeld was clearly pushing a larger message and using the fashion show as a platform to institute social change.
The collection had subtle hints of his message: graphics on bags including “Ladies First” and “Je ne suis pas en solde” (translation: I am not for sale). Also, there were clear pieces inspired by menswear, a popular trend the past few years. Coincidence? I don’t think so. Were the symbols that F. Scott Fitzgerald embedded in The Great Gatsby accidental? No, and neither were the minute details of this collection. Feminism and women’s rights have been a trending topic the past few years and Chanel’s S/S 2015 show was just another platform in which these ideals were spread.
Fashion is a form of art and expression, just like any other. Even though many dismiss it as nothing more than “frivolous fru-fru”, it is in fact very important. Not only does it communicate messages larger than words and act as a platform for social change, it represents how we see ourselves to the world. Fashion is a very personal, very unique form of expression. Fashion is art.
How does fashion impact your life? Do you think fashion is art? Comment below!