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Fashion as Art for Art’s Sake

Fashion as Art for Art’s sake.


Art for the Sake of Art – what?


The 19th century marked the growth of art for simply the sake of art into a Bohemian creed.



The idea was to affirm that art was valuable as art in itself; that artistic pursuits were their own justification, and that art did not need moral justification, and indeed, was allowed to be morally neutral or subversive.


The 1960s: the Decade it all Started!


As fashion evolved, it emerged as an important tool of expression in the 1960s. You see, fashion does not have any limits – you can experiment all you want with vibrant colors & lesser-known fabrics like Ikkat or Brocade or Jute without a worry.


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Vietnam war protests, civil rights, movements for women’s rights, and a counterculture that rejected consumerism formed the backdrop of the tumultuous 1960s, making art the voice of revolution and inspiring a post-war baby boom generation to react against what was perceived as ‘normal’!



Naturally, fashion became a “canvas for personal expression” in the words of MFA’s Malcolm Rogers, and set against the backdrop of a hippie counterculture, fashion became an inspiration with the youth pulling all the stops when it came to making a statement.


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Fashion: A tool of Expression?


Red lipstick became a tool for defiance as early as the 1900s by the first Suffragettes in New York while in the 1960s women burnt their bras in a protest for equality and in the last decade, we worked hard to remove the existing gender stereotypes in the world of fashion.



The power of Pink, for instance, was used effectively to garner attention towards women’s rights. The Pussyhat Project saw thousands of protesters stand united in their pink pussy hats that symbolized their solidarity for equal rights.


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Fashion & Art: of intertextuality


“One should either be a work of art or wear a work of art” – Oscar Wilde


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You might have wondered just like I have on countless occasions: why do high-end designers design abstract clothes that you possibly can’t wear on the streets? It took me years to understand the point of it all.


You see fashion is art & art is created for the sake of art itself.


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You see why most of us don’t immediately associate fashion with art is because it’s not the art you come across in a museum or a theatre or a library: it’s art lived on a daily basis. It’s around you everywhere and you are a part of it without realizing that.


The art we wear and live with is the art we become and inspire. Art—fashion and otherwise—reflects our own naked self and our desires especially in a world where freedom is expensive and rebels are scanty.


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