Is fashion art? An ancient question that continues to cause heated debate from fashion and art lovers. No matter which side of your argument, there is no doubt that the two creative spheres are intertwined organically, whether it be Yayoi Kusama’s cherry red bob and the “boundless net” dress or Salvador Dali’s surreal handlebar mustache, it is almost impossible for the artist to break away. them and their fashion of their creation that defines themselves as a living and breathing canvas’. Yet in today’s era of innate self-expression and streetwear-obsetjean ssed, perhaps no artist holds a fixation on the sober fashions like neo-expressionist graffiti street artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.
In contrast to the graffiti art now seen in highfalutin art galleries, the street art movement Basquiat pioneered began as a low barrier of entry for artists during the 80s in New York City for underground creatives that were underrepresented in the city’s burgeoning art circles. . While street art was once considered vandalism, the magical fusion of art, youth culture, pop, and fashion has quickly grown into the respected artistic style it is today, like streetwear in fashion and how it grew from the ground up.
In Basquiat’s ten short years on the art scene, he embodies the inclusive and creative spirit of New York City, where he reigns with his famous trademark expression – his signature scribbles, scribbles, and careless strokes that result in the cartoon crown, dinosaur, and skull image. . Raw and enigmatic, the expressive nature of Basquiat’s paintings is shaped through a mix of text, pictures and collages drawn hastily like a child. However, behind his poetic writings lies an in-depth examination of the dichotomy of society: wealth versus poverty, integration versus segregation, and inner versus outer experience. Basquiat works also to marry activism with images, blending figurative art with historical contexts to convey social criticism of class struggle, systemic racism and colonialism.
A notoriously shy personality, Basquiat uses his art to communicate for him, but also his use of fashion in enhancing the sense of performing arts. Those close to Basquiat remember him as a fashion lover who often spent big bucks at local clothing boutiques. Artists who performed at the Comme des Garçon Spring / Summer 1987 show embodied a casual, high-end feel that was distinct from its chaotic art; she loves the Armani suit, Issey Miyake coat, and the sleek dark Wayfarer sunglasses. For Basquiat, fashion is a defense mechanism to earn respect from the art world that whites wash as black. According to legend, shop clerks once followed him around department stores and were barred from entering exclusive boutiques, this was the daily prejudice Basquiat faced that he tried to fight fashion.
After rising to fame to become a miracle of the art world, his enchanting career came to a halt with his death at the tender age of 27. This astonishing ending lifted his fame to being a godfather of street art, and the grades of his paintings were defeated. an eight digit number (sometimes nine digits). The effect of Basquiat’s fleeting genius on the art world was to be expected, but the unexpected impact on the world of fashion continues to inspire today.
Basquiat Plantation has long partnered with licensing and marketing agency Artestar who have ensured that Basquiat’s signature image, the graffiti head, archetypal symbol will live on for decades to come, making Basquiat a tough and beloved collaborator with fashion labels from all price points, especially since Collaborative work culture in fashion is growing rapidly with the emergence of streetwear.
In 2018, Off-White’s Virgil Abloh pays homage to the creative genius with a capsule collection that reuses the extraordinary work of the NYC painter into designs and graphics emblazoned on t-shirts, t-shirts, hoodies, trousers, and accessories. It’s an adventurous collaboration where Basquiat’s aggressive brushstrokes starkly contrast with the monochrome Off-White cut. Minor modifications were made to spoil Basquiat’s jagged graphics, and the label’s signature quotes were reformatted to accompany its trademark writing, squiggly details, and symbolic scripture.
Many designers have respectfully embraced Basquiat’s work, printing it all over their collection. In 2009, Reebok teamed up with Basquiat farms to produce a sneaker capsule featuring fixtures paired with Basquiat’s emotional imagery such as his signature doodle, classic Reebok icons, and a true streetwear ethos. This collaboration exemplifies how two distinct but fun subcultures, sneaker culture and street art, came together under the influence of Basquiat, signaling the beginning of a new, long-lasting trend. Earlier this year, Dr. Martens gave two of the artist’s iconic paintings a new canvas with the release of his new combat boot in which a Basquiat motif with a bone, crown, and large text like graffiti is immortalized on the body of the shoe.
Founder Valentino Garavani collaborated with Artestar for the Valentino’s Fall / Winter 2006 collection translating Basquiat’s immodesty and riddles into intricate beads and embroidery on luxury clothing. The collection itself is a tribute to how Basquiat’s legacy will continue to influence luxury fashion for years to come. Famous streetwear brand The highest teamed up with Basquiat estate for the Fall / Winter 2013 collection consisting of shirts and hoodies featuring iterations of the artist’s abstract icons. Just recently, Coach launches its Basquiat installment in homage to a legend as a genuine NYC luxury brand. The capsules refram Basquiat’s seminal sketches in a playful and modern context, aiming to introduce rebellious visuals to new generations while drawing details from late 70s and 80s New York nostalgia.
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Maybe this was the way Basquiat, even after death, could still live to paint his trademark on fashion. Whether it’s Off-White’s harmonization with Basquiat jitters across wardrobe staples or Coach retro capsules tailored to Basquiat’s downtown presence, contemporary fashion has reinterpreted the artist’s raw art form to represent his leap from underground creative to one of the world’s great artists. art. The graffiti art movement Basquiat supports has since aligned itself with the streetwear movement in fashion, both from young creative groups who are aspirational in urban culture. Basquiat’s adaptation of work for an elite fashion brand represents him as a leader for a subculture underrepresented by luxury fashion that is slowly becoming the taste buds of today.
Unsurprisingly, contemporary streetwear labels have managed to capitalize on Basquiat’s urban appeal in the most literal way possible, by adapting its casual life-as-art approach to existence and reviving the cultural intelligence synonymous with its paintings. Through clever branding, street fashion labels use Basquiat to make statements about duality: such as Basquiat’s view of a social dichotomy, street art or graffiti-inspired fashion are subcultures with rebellious origins. Hence, he protested the industry’s mainstream conventionalism on style and aesthetics. As designers of all price points are embracing underground conceptualities, as runways are transformed into visual arts performances, and as retail advertising and displays become increasingly in tune with what street art represents, the distinction between art and fashion has only diminished as Basquiat did. meant to be.