Visionary Studio - Art Education


Nancy Barros, Gillian Berenson & Casey Cohen

Grade Level:

How do fashion, visual art and media inform and influence each other and the public?

  • How am I influenced by visual art and culture?
  • How is body image and identity influenced by visual art and culture?
  • How are consumer habits influenced by visual art and culture?

This class encourages students to examine how art, fashion and media intersect and how they influence our daily lives. Fashion has always been an important part of adolescent identity. Through media and technology young adults are immersed in consumer culture but often do make connections or critically examine these influences in relation to their own experiences, choices, and habits. Over the years fashion and art have become increasingly intertwined. Top luxury brands and stylists hire artists to design their websites, develop their store concepts and showrooms, and contribute to their publications (Mullin 2008). In turn, artists refer to fashion and adopt related visual strategies to comment on social issues such as consumerism, sweatshop labor, and transnational capitalism.

In 1930, the late futurist painter Lucio Venna was commissioned to draft sketches for an advertisement for Ferragamo shoes. Gianni Versace used to commission artists such as Alighiero Boetti and Roy Lichtenstein to contribute to the launches of his collections. More recently magazines like W and Vogue have commissioned artists like Ai Weiwei and Cindy Sherman to contribute photographic series that blur the boundaries between art and fashion.

Conversely, artists appropriate ideas, techniques and materials associated with the fashion industry (i.e. logos, visual references, sustainable materials), often as a means of addressing or commenting on political and social issues. For example, artist Charlotte Kruk and designer Christina Liedtke have both created wearable art out of candy wrappers. Both Kruk and Liedtke’s work suggest complicated relationships to consumerism including issues of packaging, branding, disposable culture, gluttony, and body image.

This curriculum will open a dialogue about the ways that fashion, beauty, consumption, and the media influence our desires, buying habits, and identity. The unit culminates in a wearable art project that reflects an issue or concern pertinent to student lives.

Class Sessions

Week 1: Behind the Logo, Part 1

Students will examine the ways logos can be re-appropriated and given new meaning.

Week 2: Behind the Logo, Part 2
Students will print and critique each other’s logos.

Week 3: Wearable Art: Why use sustainable materials?
Students will explore the idea of wearable art. Is it fashion or art? Is it more?

Week 4: Pattern and Consumerism
Students will explore pattern, texture and repetition in relation to the effects of consumerism on society.

Week 5: Color, Race and Gender
Students will explore color associations in relation to personal and social history.

Weeks 6-8: Final Project Workshop

Students will create a work of critical wearable art that incorporates the concepts learned in previous lessons including symbols, pattern and color.

Week 9: Final Exhibition