Art in Fashion

In my mind, I’ve often thought of art and fashion as two completely separate entities. It wasn’t until recently, whilst enjoying mid-morning coffee with friends that it occurred to me how connected the two are after that one of them pointed out how the top I was wearing resembled Van Gogh’s sunflowers. This made me contemplate the role of art in fashion and to question the legitimacy of the apparent boundary between them.I frequently see art play a role in fashion in its simplest form, with fashion simply being the canvas to display renowned artwork. High street chains such as Pull and Bearhave released t-shirts that display work from famous artists such as Gustav Klimt’s painting ‘The Kiss’ and Van Gogh’s painting ‘A Wheatfield with Cypresses’. Whilst this is great for art lovers like myself, it is just the tip of the ‘art in fashion’ iceberg. 

Another company pioneering fashion as a way to celebrate original artwork is, a new Bristol based company, with two co-owners, one of whom is a current Bristol student. Their ethos is anonymity as a brand to allow their clothing to become a platform for their collaborators with their artwork as the main focus. They feature the artists name on the label to give artistic credit and use the brand symbol on the front of the t-shirts to represent the cause that they stand for. This helps us to recognise items of clothing as works of art, whilst also being a platform for artists to display their work and reach a wider audience than just art enthusiasts. It also helps to highlight that fashion is an art form in its own right. They’re an up and coming business with new designs due to be added to their website following their pilot range soon, so watch this space - you heard it here first!

In addition to this, there have been collaborations between designers and artists that take inspiration from the art to create stylish fashion designs. Yves Saint Laurent, for example, created a dress based on Mondrian’s primary colour compositions. In this way, clothes again act as an additional medium in which art can be displayed and appreciated. However, the art itself acts as the inspiration for innovative fashion design and as a selling point for clothes as the art work is often already loved worldwide. 

Yet, to me, this is just the beginning when it comes to the links between art and fashion. Fashion design itself is an art form. Many of the designs and prints all over the high street don’t get nearly enough appreciation as a work of art. After all, it takes a creative brain to work out the shape, fit, design and embellishment of fashion items and this extends way beyond just catwalk pieces. High street and online retailer Zara have launched a collection called women in art (hell yeah, I’ve already made a purchase!) which has a range of t-shirts and sweaters displaying female portraits which should definitely get the artistic credit they deserve – these are works of art not just the latest editions to the new autumn range we are talking about here.

Better still, it’s not only traditional and well known art making it onto clothing. New and developing businesses are working further to bridge the gap between art and fashion by targeting local artists to feature as the main design for their clothing and as their unique selling point. ‘Illustrate’ are a company that began with two students wanting to sell their own and other artists’ work, once again uniting fashion and art by featuring their work on clothing. I love their products so if you haven’t already hit up the Park Street or The Arcade stores, have a gander for a between lecture browse and treat yourself!


There is a definite aspect of creativity in putting together outfits every morning. Yes, you get the ‘trendy’ items cropping up more frequently I admit, but generally people tend to have their own style and it isn’t that often that you see the exact same outfit on different people. This, in my eyes, deems fashion as an art form. Art is subjective, so is fashion. Art is creative, so is fashion. And most importantly, art is expressive and absolutely so is fashion. And with this, I deem YOU the wearer, the artist. Every day, when staring into your wardrobe, hoping the clothes will choose themselves, YOU have the potential to make an impact and create art. Be the fabulous woman you want to be and don’t be afraid to express yourself through what you choose to wear. Don’t be afraid of judgement, all works of art are subject to criticism but equally all are appreciated by others. Whether you’re a classic jeans kinda gal or a quirky ‘Louisa Clark from Me Before You’ chick then in the words of Jonathan from queer eye- WORK IT QUEEN!