I'd like to introduce you to the Fashionartisan blog, written by Alex and Sybil from Singapore. Like me, they love fashion and blog about it on the side of their day jobs. Since we have so much in common, I want to share some of their favorite designers doing fashion art.
While speaking with them recently, I was struck by how much they zero in on the intersection between art and fashion. They have an incredible sensibility about what makes fashion an extraordinary art form. Read my interview, below, for more.
Sybil: Fashion is an art form, and we are interested in fashion items that blur the boundaries between fashion and the visual arts.
Alex: Very simply put, ‘Where fashion and art meets’. Somehow, the line between art and fashion has blurred and you can find fashion exhibited in museums and artists collaborating with designers. It’s an interesting synergy.
That's an intriguing point. Does where you live and work influence what you feature on the blog?
Sybil: We live and work in Singapore. Singapore is a tiny island with almost everything imported globally. I would say our geographic location has no influence on the content of our blog, as fashion and art are universal.
Alex: Singapore is a globalized country and I am thankful that we have a lot of access to information and brands from around the world. Yet if you ask me if that has an influence on the blog, I would say no, as most of the items we see are more commercial than conceptual and the exhibitions held here are quite sparse. We do have good ones once in a while and that’s when we share the information.
So, what led you to create your blog?
Sybil: We were bored and at the same time motivated by the aesthetically captivating works of Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto, Maison Martin Margiela, Rei Kawakubo, etc. (all four of these influential designers are from Japan). We wanted to talk about our interest and our passion and we found an avenue with this blog.
Alex: Passion and a spur of the moment. It was Sybil’s first visit to Japan and she came back all fired up about how fashion in Japan challenges the notion between art and fashion. We thought we will start something that explores that very notion and documents what inspires and excites us.
What criteria, if any, do you use to select the work you feature?
Sybil: None at all. Art knows no boundaries. We blog about things that interest or appeal to us, things that attract our attention. Sometimes I wish we were more organized -- for instance, reviewing only fashion collections and nothing else. But beyond fashion and arts, the blog is also about a form of lifestyle and a channel for creative freedom. To promote these, there can be no criterion or restriction.
Alex: Yes. Usually it’s just something we come across. For me, it has to speak to me. Evoke an emotion or just capture my interest. Then I’ll find out more about it. If halfway through the process it gets dry, I abandon the draft and look for another subject of interest.
You also feature music and film and art on your site. How does all this relate to fashion?
Sybil: Take, for example, Tom Ford’s A Single Man, a beautiful film. Is it just a movie? Or is it an exploration of a particular time in history, as well as fashion? Or perhaps it relates to a particular form of lifestyle? Some of us may even classify it as an extended fashion showcase. With the poetic drifting of time as the characters celebrate life and death, and everything in between, in impeccable style; it is certainly no ordinary movie.
Alex: To me, fashion is a lifestyle. You cannot talk about fashion without relating it to the kind of life a person lives. Music, film and art are all parts of our lives.
What designer(s) epitomize fashion art and why (for fashion and/or jewelry)?
Sybil: Personally, I love the aesthetics of Japanese designers (especially the Big 3) because of their unique take on the human form. I respect designers like Yohji Yamamoto. According to his autobiography, he puts 70% of [the] creativity into his creations and leaves the remaining to the wearer to complete the work. This collaboration is almost a form of performance art; as such I appreciate designers who take into consideration the wearer and designers with a message to convey or a story to tell.
Alex: Art is a form of expression by the artist and fashion art does the same; it conveys a message, an emotion or a concept and is something that makes you stop and wonder. Alexander McQueen will always be the epitome of fashion art with his genius interpretations of historical periods. It’s just amazing how all his collections inspire a sense of awe. He’s a true visionary and I love how he always completes his story with immaculate presentation and styling. Some other designers whom I’ll label fashion-artisans are Hussein Chalayan, Naomi Filmer and Philip Treacy.
Please tell me about the ‘shopping’ section of your site? What are your favorite fashion art stores (for fashion and/or jewelry)?
Alex: Sybil’s the true shopper while I’m the keeper. The shopping section of our site tends to be mainly places we shop at during our trips overseas. I love I.T store for their wide selection of avant garde designers and museum stores like MoMa and Roppongi hills art + design store for tweaked ‘interpretations’ of art pieces when I do drop by Hong Kong and Japan.
What's coming up on Fashionartisan?
Sybil: We are in the midst of designing a collection of accessories, very gradually, as we’re still occupied with our day jobs. I hope things will move along smoothly and, hopefully, quickly!
Alex: That is a project just for fun. We are also considering if we should add outfit posts to include more original content. Whatever it is, it’s going to be exciting!
Thanks to Sybil and Alex for doing this interview. Their insights about the blurring of boundaries between fashion and art seem spot-on to me, and their appreciation of fashion from around the world is truly inspiring. To see more of their favorite artists, go to Fashionartisan.