Although fashion is art, the fashion industry is often looked down on in the art community.
Fashion is excluded from events such as Teen Arts Festival and generally unappreciated. Teen Arts Festival, an event held by Monmouth Arts and attended by Communications High School students, doesn’t include fashion as an art form artists can register for. Consequently, artists who express themselves through clothing design and styling cannot participate in this event.
In many films, television shows and books, characters whose interests lie in fashion are portrayed as unintelligent and superficial. For instance, the character Cher from the 1995 film Clueless loves fashion and is depicted as a “ditz with a credit card” whose only direction in life is “towards the mall.” In real life, those who love fashion are passionate and hard-working.
The Oxford Dictionary defines art as “the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination … producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.” It defines arts as “subjects of study primarily concerned with the processes and products of human creativity and social life, such as languages, literature and history.”
Fashion fits this definition of art – fashion designers, stylists and anyone who wears clothes expresses themselves through the pieces and outfits they create. They are appreciated for their “beauty and emotional power” through fashion shows and magazines.
Fashion reflects culture and preserves history because what people wear communicates so much about them. To illustrate, women wearing corsets that confined their bodies shows that their freedom was also confined. In the 20’s, as women gained more liberty, flappers shed their binding corsets.
Fashion provides a creative outlet, is constantly on display, and perfectly demonstrates the culture of different time periods. That is art.