From Canvas to Scarves – Wearable Art

‘There is nothing like adorning yourself with a work of art which talks to you and makes you feel special.’ -Ashima

Wearable art has always been controversial within the hierarchy of European Salon and Art Academies. High art/fine art was considered to have more aesthetic and monetary value than lower art forms such as applied arts and textiles which were categorized as craft or artisan works.

This perception started to shift in the 1960’s when a wearable art movement planned to move art off the walls of the galleries and into the streets/homes of the viewer. Recent interest has been rekindled in art on textiles through the wonderful exhibition at the V&A on Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk. Today, which displays ancient and contemporary examples of kimono wearable art for all strata of society. The aesthetic and social significance of the wearable garment has now become a valued sartorial statement and many famous artists including Picasso, Dali, and Damien Hirst have produced limited collections of wearable art on scarves and other fashion and home-wear accessories, making fine art accessible to the masses. Hand-crafted and custom-created art is produced by artists, designers, and photographers the most popular being on silk scarves which provide individual luxurious art pieces for the wearer.

Following the tradition of wearable art being rendered more accessible artist Ashima Kumar displays in galleries, open studios, and online. Her artwork uses vibrant colors and a diverse range of technical styles inspired by many cultures to create iconic images for the wall and wearable silk scarves to adorn the human form. The wearable-art scarves she produces in several designs and colorways are truly a contemporary aesthetic statement communicating our own internal and external creative style to viewers we encounter daily. As Ashima says ‘There is nothing like a good scarf to make a banal outfit sublime’ and in a homogenous fashion world, a personalized wearable art statement is key to making the wearer feel special and individual.

-By Frances Ross (Principal Lecturer at London College of Fashion)

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