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Fashion as art.

Close your eyes for a few seconds and think about the word "fashion." What images come to mind? What words or phrases do you think of? You might think of color, style, texture or specific items such as jeans or blouses. You might also think of the fashion world, glittering designs, and models on a runway. Did the word "art" come to mind?

In this issue of ChildArt, we will be exploring the connection between fashion and art. Fashion designers use their creativity to create interesting and beautiful pieces of clothing and accessories. These items have the same elements you might look for in a painting or sculpture, such as form, color, texture, line, and shape. Just as painters start with a blank piece of paper, and sculptors start with a mound of clay, fashion designers use the human form as their canvas. This form provides the structure, which they use to create designs. All it takes is a little perspective to view fashion as art, and soon you'll be recognizing it ever}where!

Fashion is called an "applied" art, meaning that it is art dedicated to a specific purpose; in this case, designing clothes. Most fashion designers attend a fine arts school, where they take classes in fashion design. Other applied artists include furniture designers, graphic artists, landscape designers, interior designers, and architects among others. Can you think of other kinds of applied arts?

In addition to being an art form, fashion is also an important part of life in many cultures around the world. Many cultures place importance on certain garments, which have a tradition and history within that culture. These garments are often very meaningful for members of that culture. In this way, fashion is not only seen as art, but seen as part of a culture's heritage.

For example, in Japan, the kimono is a traditional garment made of silk. Kimonos come in a variety of colors and styles, which differ depending on the occasion, as well as the age and marital status of the wearer. The beautiful silk robes can be seen as a work of art, and also have cultural significance for the Japanese. Although it is an important part of Japanese culture, the kimono is now worn mostly for formal occasions, such as weddings, funerals and tea ceremonies. Can you find Japan on a map or globe?

Among the Masai tribe of Eastern Africa (spanning the border between Kenya and Tanzania), clothing is also a significant aspect of culture. The Masai wear predominantly red garments, because red symbolizes power in Masai culture. The Masai wear patterned wraps as well. The women's wraps are known as kanga, and the men's are called kikoi. These beautiful wraps can certainly be seen as pieces of art, and also convey meaning for the Masai because of their symbolic value. Other characteristics of Masai fashion are loose clothing, and necklaces of bead discs, worn around the neck. These things are still worn regularly among the Masai. See if you can find Kenya and Tanzania on a map or globe.

Think about the clothing that you wear regularly. Maybe it has sentimental value, or maybe you just like wearing it because it's comfortable. Maybe you have dress-up clothes for special occasions and clothes that you wear for just hanging out. Does any of your clothing have a special meaning for you?

Now that you have some perspective on fashion as art, you're ready to jump into this issue of ChildArt, and learn about all of the different creative aspects of fashion.

Analiese Bendorf, an anthropology student at the George Washington University, is an intern at ICAF.
COPYRIGHT 2006 International Child Art Foundation
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2006, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Bendorf, Analiese
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2006
Previous Article:Editor's corner.
Next Article:Fashion design: inspiration and concept.

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