This isn’t another piece on either side of the age old argument ‘can-fashion-be-called-art?’. We’re not venturing into the arena of fast fashion chains vs. Met Museum exhibits. Just like every other form of creative self expression, fashion also is an entirely subjective viewpoint that lies in the interpretation of the observer/consumer. This isn’t also about the industriousness of independent designers selling their indigenous wares on far-reaching disruptive marketplaces like Etsy and Modcloth or even native ones like Paloni.
So while all these facets and evolutionary ventures in the fashion industry are noteworthy by themselves, we have yet another novel and respectable dimension emerging on the current fashion landscape that is at the intersection of the arts and fashion, of intelligentsia and commerce. There is an established consensus about the creative aspects of these industries, however in varying degrees. But creativity of all types and forms has a tendency to converge and cooperate at a few points. Be it the ever so symbiotic relationship between entertainment and fashion like Tom Ford’s take on movie making or hollywood stars launching their own fashion lines or the tribes of painters, writers, sculptors, designers feeding off of each others’ inspirations, creating things that never existed before and releasing them for the rest of us to enjoy.
This isn’t an entirely new phenomenon though. Luxury brands and celebrated artists have been regularly teaming up to produce full and capsule collections for a long time now. (See more here and here). However, the internet has brought our worlds much closer, beyond means, boundaries, influence and such. This has had a direct positive effect on the lives and resources of almost everybody, more particularly so of designers, artists, entrepreneurs, manufacturers and of course, eventually the consumers.
Disruptions in the biggest of industries have abound since and fashion is seeing some of its own changes taking place. One of the laudable developments has been the fact that smaller players without other avenues for exposure are now able to display their work at minimal costs to an audience that is global and ever increasing. Sure, that does lead to much noise but more importantly, it also leads to fabulous business opportunities and beautiful products.
Like artists being able to market themselves independently and launching their own fashion lines (beyond run-of-the-mill body art clothing) inspired by compelling causes, social commentaries and even pop culture for a global audience (OBEY Clothing). Resulting in retail-minded art-aficionado entrepreneurs taking notice of the rising wave and deciding to ride it (rad.co) or the best yet – a true free-economy phenomenon that is a poetic union of commerce and art that has given us ventures like Bucketfeet, Threadless and many others emerging on the horizon.
Not only are they novel, democratic concepts of doing business, bringing joy and good to everyone involved – creators, sellers and consumers, many also work with social and philanthropic agendas. So not only does this result in a well-rounded product, its also a powerful marketing tool and revenue booster. Is this what we call a thorough win-win? Absolutely. And is this what we may call mindful business? Maybe.