Fashion as art: is fashion art?

S. Miller

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The question whether fashion can be regarded as a form of art begs the question of what kinds of things can legitimately be thus regarded.<brp>In the first section, some of the most recent contributions to dealing with this issue are critically analyzed. The conclusion that emerges is that—like art—clothes can provide the subject of historical research. The second section deals with the aesthetics of clothes. If sartorial fashion can be a form of art then we need an aesthetics of fashion. Whilst it would be difficult to contest the artistic quality of clothes throughout the centuries, fashion—like architecture—fulfills primarily a functional dimension. Some of the key concepts pertaining to classical aesthetics, such as taste in the writings of Edmund Burke, the Third Earl of Shaftesbury, and Immanuel Kant with special reference to Kant's less well-known writings on anthropology under which he classified fashion, are discussed. Some of the more recent contributions such as Curt J. Ducasse's brilliant 1944 article “The Art of Personal Beauty” are also discussed in this section. Finally, Karen Hanson in her article “Dressing Up, Dressing Down: The Philosophic Fear of Fashion” addresses this important issue, arguing that—like dance perhaps—fashion has systematically been disregarded by philosophers as a worthy subject of research. Like so many articles in Fashion Theory, this article is an attempt to redress this balance by seeking new ways of providing a serious theoretical and aesthetic basis for the study of sartorial fashion.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)25-40
    Number of pages16
    JournalFashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body and Culture
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2007


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