Is This Art?
We did a photo shoot recently for our Terrace collection. Neither Aris or I are particularly skilled with photography, so we brought in the talented @thecanvas.jpg to tell the story. In the end we were really happy with how the visuals turned out. Our lookbook is live now, feel free to check it out!
Anyway, the experience got me thinking about the relationship between art and clothes. It’s a bit complex. Are clothes pieces of art? I wouldn’t call a $2 t-shirt a piece of art. To make something that sells that cheaply, you can imagine the massive quantities that would have to be made. The decisions in that process will have been made based on reducing costs and selling more units. A very calculating process.
But what about a ¥10,000 t-shirt from United Arrows & Sons? Hell yeah that shit is art, fam. A cynic might say that labels can charge that much because people are gullible, and that the $2 shirt is basically the same as the ¥10,000 shirt. Why? Because they’re both made of cotton? That’s like saying your niece’s doodles are the same as a James Jean sketch because they both used paper and ink.
The ¥10,000 t-shirt probably wasn’t made to compete on price. There’s an emotion the designers are trying to evoke in the wearer and the people the wearer interacts with. So the design decisions are made for very different reasons than that $2 t-shirt. It’s about making the right decisions to evoke emotion, not to hit a certain price in the market.
Isn’t that the essence of art? Some sort of work that evokes an emotional response? So clothes can be wearable art, or they can just be apparel, just a commodity.
I’m definitely not comfortable saying that what Aris and I do is art - I think that’s way too pretentious to bestow upon ourselves. To me that’s the type of title someone else has to give you. What I will say though is that we try to work with the mindset of creating art. For the Terrace collection we did a lot of the sewing ourselves. It definitely felt like art, to physically interact with each garment.
The Shinji Shibori jerseys were dyed at Aris’ place. I thought it would be about a three hour job. Left his place about nine hours later lol. I’m a shitty estimator of time. I was happy with how they turned out though, so that’s what matters in the end.
That’s how we want this thing to grow. We won’t always be able to sew or dye every garment, but the commitment to evoking emotion instead of just making product always has to be at the heart of this shit.