This paper will examine whether fashion illustration may be considered an art in the context of its contribution to the growth of the fashion industry in general. To achieve this, three fashion illustrators will be chosen and three fashion designers. …
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Each illustrator and designer will be examined in the context of how their vision, expressed through their art, contributes to the fulfilment of the final product. The three fashion illustrators are David Downton, Tina Ling, and Jean-Phillipe Delhomme. The three designers are Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood and Karl Lagerfeld. Significance of the Study On an objective level, anything created by man is in fact art – or artifact to be more precise. Moreover, as articulated by Mortimer Adler, an artifact can only be called a ‘fine art’ when it is beautiful and made freely by man – that is, without compulsion or sense of urgency on the part of the artist. This means that the artwork should have been made by the artist without the intention of using it; the primary purpose of the object, according to Adler, is to allow its viewers to admire and contemplate beauty. Having said this, it is worthy to ask whether fashion illustration – an artifact considered by most people as beautiful yet primarily created for the purpose of depicting fashion trends – can qualify as art provided that its primary purpose is to sell clothes, jewelleries, accessories and other items related to fashion. Review of Related Literature Origin and Development of Fashion Illustration In his book entitled, “Fashion Illustrator”, Bethan Morris narrated the evolution of fashion illustration from simple sketches of artists to digitally-mediated creations present in most magazines and print ads. According to him, fashion illustration dates back to the 17th century, when Wenceslaus Hollar made basic drawings of people’s clothes at that period (Jones, 2007, pp. 79-83). However, it is only in the 18th century when fashion...
The findings of this research will provide insight of the evolution of fashion illustration from simple sketches of artists to digitally-mediated creations present in most magazines and print ads. With the emergence of fashion labels such as Coco Chanel, fashion illustrations have become more commercialized. It has then been used not only to depict the most popular fashion trends of the season but also advertise different clothing lines and product labels. Illustrators have also employed different techniques borrowed from prevalent art movements such as nouveau art, art deco and cubism. More importantly, the changing social milieu of their time has had a significant impact on the kind of illustration drawn by designers and artists. Most of the developments in fashion illustration have occurred within the 20th century. Morris says that illustrators have reached the peak of their careers in the early 1900’s, as fashion illustrations have increasingly been published in fashion magazines such as Vogue and product labels like Topshop. Moreover, he says that most of the illustrators, such as Carl Erikson, started depicting the subject of their illustration around a physical environment, thus allowing a person to deduce observations of the social milieu during their time. However, publication of fashion magazines have declined in the 1920’s due to the First World War. This has consequently compelled illustrators to shift to the film industry, which is one of the most productive sectors at that period. This has also allowed illustrators to expand the scope of their work.
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