Fashion, Photography and Putting Value on Art

As it is fashion week it seems appropriate to talk about clothing, silks, pleats, leather; whatever happens to be in season. I make no claims to know anything about fashion – to look at me is to ignore me, my fashion is to disappear into a crowd and be unknown and unseen. Fashion week is the opposite. People are peacocks, shining in elegance or terrifying in their intense beauty. The women are striking. The arch at the top of a perfect pair of red lips. In spite of this, these women and men are simply vessels for the clothing, the tailor is the star here. We look at these objects in the same way we view art; in the context of a gallery. Fashion week's galleries are parties and red carpets.

We go to a gallery to look at a print or a painting, and those items are technically for sale; but they are unattainable, we have to absorb the work as much as possible, knowing that this moment is fleeting. The clothing at fashion week may never be worn again, so we must look at it, photograph it, catch the passing moment of something so far out of our reach we pay just to see it, let alone own it.

In this way art and fashion are one, not only is the dress a work of art in itself, but it is an exhibited work, a curated show and a price tag. Viewed by the enthralled masses with as much passion as a opening at the Guggenheim.

But how is this like photography specifically, rather than painting? Photography makes prints of moments frozen in time, a photographer could theoretically make an infinite amount of prints, but chooses to limit themselves to 3 or 4, so the value of owning one goes up, photo paper is not cheap and cameras are hard to fix.

The same can be said of fashion houses, they can make 100 dresses, or they can make 4 – so the value goes up. The only thing both artists must do is make a print, or a pattern; they limit themselves purposefully so that the experience of seeing each work is transitory and most importantly: unique. The creators drive their prices up by using outdated methods and limited editions.

No one would argue that fashion is not an art form, it's creative expression; but it is the inherent value placed purposefully on each item that ties it directly to photographic prints.

Text by John Hutt

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