What is Wearable Art?

Today, there a lot of clothes decorated with designs and images and some are called clothing art or wearable art. But what exactly is wearable art? Wearable art is also called an “artwear” or an art to wear. They are handmade pieces of clothing and jewelry which are individually designed as an expressive art. Though the creation of any kind of clothing involves aesthetic considerations, making wearable art is more serious.

Wearable art is not only worn but it also has an intention of its creation to be accepted as a serious and unique artistic statement. It’s like the marriage of fashion and visual arts, taking them both outside what they are independently, and creating a new artistic platform.

Wearable art can be sold or it can be exhibited as well. Fibrous materials are often used to create them, which include both wearable and non-wearable forms of art using fabric and other forms of fiber products. It can also include jewelry, and other non-fiber materials such as leather, plastic, metal, and other. It can be sewn, glued, constructed, painted, collaged, riveted, woven, and knitted. It visually breaks costume conventions, giving the Artist-Designer freedom to reveal their imaginations through new and more challenging ways.

When making wearable fiber art, the artist can purchase finished fabrics and other materials to use in creating garments. They may also dye and paint virgin fabrics. When we talk about art, some would think that these pieces are expensive, but there are some clothing artists who have started local companies to create wearable art at an affordable price. Wearable art is not just for pieces of jewelry as it can also be designed on shirts and pants.

Some artists who are into creating wearable arts even join different classes to improve their artistic skills such as sewing, clothing design, and computer software training such as Illustrator and Photoshop.

There is even an annual event in the New Zealand City of Nelson called World of Wearable Art Awards. They have been holding this annual event since 1987. In 2005, this show moved to a larger venue in Wellington.

The inspiration in fashion is found in different sources like art, life, history, and many more. Actually, it doesn’t have any boundaries. The difference though is that wearable art is something you often see at runway fashion shows and sometimes on the streets of your city. However, you can also see some people wearing these wearable art designs, especially jewelry pieces they can afford. Also, there are some sites on the internet, like ETSY, which sells cheaper forms of wearable art and some can be found in gift stores as well. From the studios of major fashion designers, wearable art has also moved to small shops of creative people who want to earn out of it.

Jewelry as Wearable Art

Art jewelry is how studio craftspeople call jewelry as wearable art. It emphasizes creative expressions and designs. It is characterized by the use of a variety of materials. More than just being fashion accessories used to show off expensive gems and stones, some modern artists elevated these body ornamentations to the level of fine art and original design.

Extreme Wearable Art

In creating wearable art, artist-designers have their freedom to use other materials aside from fabrics, and some of the wearable art they’ve created is extraordinary.

  • The Portland Oregon Trashion Collective, Junk to Funk: This is Marina DeBris’ work which is under an extraordinary branch of wearable art called Trashion. It is the creation of garments out of trash.
  • TV Bra for Living Sculpture: This is the title of Nam June Paik’s 1969 performance. It is when Charlotte Moorman played cello while wearing a brassiere made of two small operating television sets.
  • Electric Dress: This is a ceremonial wedding kimono which design has colored electrified and painted light bulbs entangle in wires. It is created by a Japanese artist named Atsuko Tanaka.
  • Garments for Forced Intimacy: These clothes are hand-knitted and are designed to be worn by two people simultaneously. As the name suggests, it forces the wearers into unusual closeness.

Wearable art can be anything which is created in such a manner that it is an art piece designed to be worn. The artists themselves can decide on the venue where it will be worn; whether on the runway, in parties, or just to make a statement.

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