“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening” – Coco Chanel.
Some think of fashion as art, just like a painting or a sculpture, whereas others think fashion is simply an industry that is aimed at earning money. Whatever your opinion, we think it’s fair to say that when it comes to fashion, designers draw ideas, materials and patterns from other artistic crafts, as well as the environment.
American artist, director and producer, Andy Warhol, was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art, and he once said that “fashion is more art than art is”.
In the past, designers and artists have worked together closely – think Yves Saint Laurent using the bold abstractions of painter Piet Mondrian to create a beautiful collection of A-line dresses. It’s true that these two mediums share a close relationship.
Getting the designs spot on
Chief Product Officer at Radley, Jackie Hay, demonstrates how brands are continually striving to create products that their target audience are going to love, while try to be practical at the same time. After the company announced their debut shoe collection, she was asked what the inspiration was behind each style of footwear.
Jackie Hay: “As it’s our first collection, we wanted to create a capsule that not only transcends seasons, but complements customers’ lifestyles and, of course, their Radley handbags.
Ultimately, the collection is inspired by our customers’ spirit and substance. We admire their busy lives and set out to design a collection suited for every aspect; whether that’s when they’re at work, out dancing with their friends or walking their dogs in the countryside.”
Fashion and its impact on the environment
When it comes to fashion and the environment, we have seen a real move towards sustainability in recent years. Charity shops have become a lot more popular, as have clothes swapping parties.
Sadly, if you continuously purchase clothing in a bid to stay relevant in the style stakes, you could be damaging the environment without even realising it. Thankfully today there’s a lot more awareness on the impact of buying clothing that are made cheaply and intended for short-term use.
According to the Environmental Audit Committee Chair Mary Creagh MP, our desire for new clothes comes with a significant social and environmental price tag. Water use, chemical and plastic pollution and carbon emissions are all contributing to destroying our environment. If the UK continues to buy and throw away clothes at the rate we currently are, these items will account for more than a quarter of our total impact on climate change by 2050.
Because of this, many members of parliament have reached out to some of the UK’s top fashion bosses, asking them to consider what they could do to reduce the environmental harm.
Many brands are already striving to do their bit. Some clothing companies are choosing to make items out of organic cotton or recycled polyester or plant a tree every time an item is purchased from the store. Others are also encouraging their customers to drop off any unwanted items into the shop, so that they can be recycled.
According to the Waste and Resources Action Programme (Wrap) UK households shockingly sent 300,000 tonnes of clothing to landfill in 2016. This is why it’s so exciting to hear about fantastic initiatives such as Project 333, which encourages individuals to wear just 33 items for 3 months to get back the joy they were missing while worrying about what to wear.
Both art and the environment will continue to have an impact on fashion – but now more than ever, designers will be considering their use of materials, distribution, wear and disposal of clothes.