Whilst I’ve definitely loved being home for Christmas, and am getting increasingly sad at the thought of having to leave again, there has been something that has constantly lowered my mood considerably. Amongst glasses of prosecco, one too many roast potatoes and lots of lovely time spent with my nearest and dearest, at the back of my mind have been two daunting words – summative brief. Before we broke up for Christmas we were set the coursework that would make up our grade for the first module of my Uni course. When this was first mentioned I thought it might be an essay I could bang out in a few hours and not have to think about again. Turns out I was wrong. Very wrong. Instead I’ve been asked to produce a visual report by researching a fashion trend story, brand and outcome, and to create ideas that will incorporate these three key words. I was given Applied Art, Agent Provocateur and Lens, and I’ve never been more stumped in my life.
Seeing as I spent a lot of hours at work over Christmas (an upcoming trip to New York isn’t going to pay for itself!), I don’t think I put myself in the best position to tackle this brief. When I finally did find time to sit down and work on the project I decided the best place to start was researching my trend story – applied art. This was the concept word that worried me most, so I decided if I got it out the way early doors I’d feel more confident about the rest of the task.
I dropped art in Year 9, finding I wasn’t very good at it and I found my creative strengths were better suited elsewhere, such as in English and Product Design, two subjects I carried on at both GCSE and A-levels. This was a decision I’d never regretted, especially after seeing friends produce amazing work in their art courses and knowing I’d never produce anything as good. It wasn’t until starting my Uni course and realising I was one of the only people who had never really done an art subject before that I began to panic.
Ask me about Shakespeare or to assemble a book case and I’m fine, but art? I can tell you Van Gogh cut off his ear and painted a pretty picture of a night sky, but that’s about it. I’m completely and utterly aware that I’m clueless about art, and whilst this had never bothered me before, the realisation that I was leagues behind my course mates scared the life out of me, especially seeing I’m studying a creative course. So when I was assigned applied art you can imagine my dismay.
I’d like to say I’m never one to shy away from a challenge but that would be a lie. I hate feeling out of my comfort zone, and relish in finding something I’m good at and never straying (hence why I did English lit and lang for two years despite hating both). After plenty of procrastination I had to face the facts that this summative brief wasn’t going to write itself so with the help of the internet I finally began to understand a bit more about the influence of art in fashion.
My main port of call was recent fashion trends, I found this would be the most relevant to my brief. One of my lecturers recommended a couple of articles that mentioned our trend stories, and safe to say it was a bit of a life saver.
Vogue did a great article about the top ten trends of Spring 2018. In this they gave examples from the Spring 2018 runways that showed during the New York, Milan, London and Paris fashion weeks. Calvin Klein used Andy Warhol’s photos of Dennis Hopper and Sandra Brant as prints on denim, tanks and dresses. Christopher Kane showcased American artist, John Kacere’s, lifelike paintings on dresses. Undercover partnered with Cindy Sherman, American photographer and film director, to bring her Untitled Film Stills to Paris Fashion Week.
Versace (whose new marketing scheme is worthy of blog post on it’s own!), also took inspo from art, and paid homage to pop art with repeated printed images of Vogue covers, Marilyn Monroe and James Dean. It’s almost an admiration of both Andy Warhol who made this style so popular, and the people in the art being displayed themselves.
Turns out art is well and truly alive in the fashion industry. Personally I find fashion to be works of art in itself, just a form of art we are able to wear and use to express ourselves. We all have different opinions of art (I’m sure lots of people would cringe at my description of Van Gogh), we also have different opinions when it comes to fashion. I’m firm believer that double denim is never a good look, but celebs like Bella Hadid, and pretty much every insta-model would disagree.
I think this is more of the stance I’m going to take in my summative brief. Instead of trying to teach myself a foundation course in art history in a couple of weeks, I’m going to play to my strengths and view fashion as the art itself. Splashing artwork over garments is clearly going to be overdone in a matter of time, so instead of going down the cliche route I’m going to try my hardest to think outside the box, and apply art in my own way.
I’m still a bit lost when it comes to the whole project to be honest, but hopefully being back at Uni (and the aforementioned trip to New York) will inspire me. If anything at least the project is challenging me, as nice as it is to live in a self-constructed bubble, it’s about time I push myself – new year, new me and all that.
Until next time,
Images sourced from Vogue and ShutterShock